As the economy shows signs of improvement with gains in employment numbers, more of us are interviewing for those jobs. Interviews are the single most important factor in getting hired. But are you ready?
There are many aspects to a great interview but today we look at 5 things you need to know before walking into your audition.
Recruiting is becoming more intense as HR departments develop more tools to separate the wheat from the chaff. If you think the interview is all about you, then think again–you need to know more about them than they know about you.
Know their website inside and out. Read their Mission Statement. Review the About Us section. Then go deeper, because most other candidates won’t.
Know their social media presence. Check out each platform and look at the number of people following or liking, know what types of postings they create and most importantly, follow or like them.
Know where the interview is and how long it takes to get there. Know what route you need to take, know where you plan on parking, and factor in any possible traffic issues. Plan enough time and then add 30 minutes. It’s always better to spend time sitting in your car rather than being late.
Know the job description. Understand each bullet point and know what they seek. Better yet, know what you will say if they ask you about your capabilities–these should sound like the ideal match for the posting.
Know the people you are meeting! Do I really have to say this? Yes! It’s surprising how many people don’t Google the person they are meeting, the CEO and other major players at the company, and even the HR department heads. Don’t tip them off to your looking them up, just have the info and use it to your advantage. (For example, say you find that you share an alma mater with someone. Conveniently mention your own schooling and let them bring it up!)
There’s a lot more that goes into a good interview but if you don’t know these 5 things, you are already behind before you even walk in the door.
Jason Veduccio is the author of The New American Dreamer: How to Land That Ideal Job in a Nightmare Economy. Click to buy.
The first alarm goes off and just as you are about to hit snooze, a second, louder alarm goes off and it might be then that you remember me saying what a good idea it was to set two alarms the day of your big interview.
Having laid your clothes out the night before and with at least three copies of your resume in a nice folder or briefcase along with those same two working pens from our past story, you’re ready to go. And of course you have the address and phone number of the interview location written down on a piece of paper, because the night before you went online and found directions to the company.
As you make your way to the interview, stay relaxed and avoid cramming last bits of information into your head. The time to get your game face on is before you leave the house not right before you enter the building. Be confident, smile at those you see along the way, and leave those voices of self-doubt at home.
Arrive early. I cannot say this too many times. If you are late you will reduce to nearly zero your chances of even being considered for the job. Being late for an interview is always unacceptable – but it happens, so if it does, apologize to everyone once as you arrive and once as you leave. No more or less. After that you will need to blow them away with the interview itself, but don’t keep mentioning your tardiness.
When you walk through the door remember to feel confident that you are the right person for this job because you are. Make certain to look people in the eye when conversing and when seated be comfortable in the chair without slouching.
Now come those questions we rehearsed. Piece of cake, right? Be yourself when you answer but remember to be the best possible self you can be. Allow yourself to be enthusiastic about the opportunity, but always be sincere. Hiring managers are pretty good at sniffing out insincerity.
Another important point that I mentioned in my story about phone interviews, is that your listening skills are a crucial component of what people think of you. Staying calm will help. This is why staying calm helps so much. It keeps you looking confident but it also prevents you from anticipating answers and interrupting.
When the interview is coming to a close, make sure you have that one question ready when they ask: “Do you have any questions for us?” If you have other questions you can add those too, but remember to know the difference between a question and a concern. Don’t bring up “concerns” yet such as pressing on issues dealing with pay, vacation time, or holidays because you can always deal with these when an offer is made as we will discuss next time. For now keep questions pertinent to the position and focus on getting the job. It’s much better if you can show your insight into a position by asking a truly pointed question about the workflow, strategy or process involved.
When the interview is over thank everyone – and I mean everyone, including receptionists and doormen. Smile and shake hands when necessary and as soon as you get home fill out that thank you and send it off. Mention something particular about the process that you appreciated in the thank you message, and remember to thank the interviewer for his or her time.
Now make sure your phone is on at all times and start daydreaming about being employed there. Remember when I last spoke about daydreaming? Seems like an age ago now doesn’t it?
Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at email@example.com.