Now that we have discussed Resume Do’s and Don’ts in Part 1 of this blog series, let’s move on to the next step in the candidate lifecycle: The Interview.
Let’s face it, interviews can be nerve-wracking. However, if you prepare and follow these helpful tips, you’ll walk in with confidence and increase your chances of landing your dream job!
- Do your homework. Before your interview, you should research the company in depth. When you walk into the interview, you should already have knowledge about the company, what they do, how big they are, etc. Some common research tools include company website, 10Q/10K (if public), LinkedIn, and relevant news articles.
- Be engaging. Being the most qualified candidate does NOT guarantee you a job offer. There is an intangible piece that some people fail to realize: the interviewer has to like you. Smile and be pleasant, give a firm handshake, build rapport, make good eye contact. If you are the most qualified AND demonstrate that you can communicate and thrive in a team environment, then you are much more likely to get the job!
- Ask questions. When walking into the interview, you should already have 5-7 questions prepared. This may seem like a lot, but some of the questions you have prepared might be answered through the natural progression of the interview. Questions you may want to ask them include:
- What does the day to day look like for this role?
- What is their management style?
- What is the team dynamic?
- What is the company culture like?
- What is the most important quality for someone to have to be successful in this role? (This is my personal favorite!)
- Virtual interview only: Test the link and camera beforehand. Technology is great, but sometimes it’s not on our side. You want to ensure that everything is working properly so when you login for your interview, you’re not panicking because the link doesn’t work. Also, make sure your laptop is fully charged.
- Send a thank you email. This may seem insignificant, but it comes across as gracious and brings you to the front of their mind. Make it genuine and don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm for the role.
- Don’t be late. There is no excuse for running late to an interview, and it comes across as unprofessional and sometimes even rude. You should plan to arrive to your interview 10-15 minutes early, and in the DMV, always plan for traffic!
- Don’t look sloppy. Business professional is the rule of thumb, so if you’re unsure of how to dress for the interview, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. For women, this might mean a pant suit, nice dress, pencil skirt with a fancy blouse, heels, etc. For men, this means button up shirt, suit coat, tie, and make sure your shoes match your belt. The motto is “Dress to Impress.”
- Don’t read straight from your resume. Your resume is a brief outline of your qualifications, and your interview is the time to fill in the blanks. Find a way to relate your real-world job experience back to the job description. Compare your experience with the job description, highlight your biggest strengths and provide concise details about your qualifications.
- Don’t procrastinate. An interview is like an exam, so you don’t want to wait until the morning of to prepare for your interview. The morning of should be a refresher of your key talking points regarding the skills and experience you’ve decided you want to highlight. Start preparing for your interview at least a day or two prior.
- Don’t ask about salary. I understand the desire to know this information, but it comes across as superficial. Asking prematurely about the compensation for a position will send the wrong message to the hiring manager and will decrease your chances of securing the job.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the third and final part of this blog series: Workplace Do’s and Don’ts!