Much has been touted about this being a “candidate’s market” – recruitment is tight so employers are presumably desperate to hire. So much publicity has been given to this theory that sometimes candidates get cavalier about interviewing and think they can just “wing it.” I’m here to tell you that this is not true and it’s the candidates who do the work that get the call backs for second interviews.
In today’s world of free and easily available information, there is absolutely no reason for a job candidate to be unprepared for an interview. Do your homework before sitting down with a prospective employer. You will gain valuable information about the organization, their products/services, their leadership team, their culture and the industry itself. If you do this due diligence you are more than halfway to acing the interview process!
Besides the “About” or “Career” section of a website, see if the company offers press releases online or if you can download an annual report. Look at bios of the leadership team, then view their personal profiles on LinkedIn. Read reviews about the work environment on sites like Glassdoor.com and visit social media pages to get a handle on company culture and the organization’s “personality.”
As a candidate applying for a position you need to take all of this information and create your story as to how and why and what you will bring them to add to their already successful story. During your interview be prepared to discuss their mission statement and tell them how you personally (or as a result of your work history), can relate to it. Mention anything relevant you might know about their competitors’ products or perhaps how impressed you are with their history and founder’s journey.
After viewing a prospective employer’s website, a candidate should be able to write a minimum of 3 questions to ask when the inevitable question comes from the person interviewing you – “Do you have any questions about us or this role?” You should never be stumped when this is posed to you if you have prepared for the interview.
Before each job interview create an “Interview game plan”
- Read the job description you’re interviewing for (it is probably in a posting, or on their website, or a recruiter has shared it with you). List why you would be the perfect fit and the requirements you have that match the needs they have outlined.
- Investigate what organizations compete with them – get a sense of where they fit in the industry.
- Mention the company’s leadership and management team from what you read about them and how you look forward to working and learning from them.
- As a candidate be sure to demonstrate how your personal/business beliefs and experience line up with their company’s mission statement.
ALWAYS PRACTICE the basic rules of a successful interview… you only have ONE time to create a FIRST impression.
While some of these points might seem obvious or out of date, they are still part of the interview structure and best practices.
- Arrive a minimum of 10 minutes early (don’t be super early or cut it too close – 10 minutes is a good amount)
- Dress to win… most interviewers would prefer you to be more formal than too casual. Allow the company representative to tell you if you are overdressed for the position. You can always address it later. It’s easier to be forgiven for being overdressed, than underdressed.
- Display well groomed hair and nails. Watch your footwear. Shoes not sneakers; save the flip flops for the beach.
- Extend your hand when introduced and express your pleasure in meeting them and for giving you the opportunity to interview with them.
- Always look your interviewer in the eye when answering questions. Present yourself and your experience as that of being a team player and someone who looks forward to learning and giving. Smile!!!
- Turn your cell phone off, better yet, don’t take it into the interview room with you. No peaking at text messages or having your pocket vibrate. Technology addiction can kill any potential job offer.
- Watch your body language throughout the interview – posture, hands, looking interested.
- Save questions about benefits, time off, working remote policies and so forth for a second interview or discussion with HR before you ever accept an offer. Instead, ask about growth opportunities and a path for success and how the company will determine if they have made a good hire three months from now. Know what is to be expected of you.
- Be prepared to answer the question “what are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” It is still asked by 6 out of 10 interviewers.
- When your interview ends, extend your hand and thank the interviewer for their time. Express your interest in the opportunity and ask about the next steps in the process and when you might be hearing back from them.
- Offer to provide references whom you have already contacted and let the interviewer know they have your permission to speak with these individuals. You can leave a printed list or offer to email it and then attach it when you write your thank you.
- While some people say it is an antiquated practice, we always that you write a follow up thank you email (read it 2 times before sending, or have another person look it over as well – spell check!!) Keep it to the point and express your desire for the position and tell them why you would be a good hire. At the very least, this will keep you top of mind for the interviewer and show an interest level that others may not display.
If this all sounds like old news, guess what? It works.
Niceties, homework, preparedness still win when it comes to interviewing. Likeability is very important, but showcasing your knowledge of the organization and how you are a good skill and culture fit goes a long way in getting you to the next step in the hiring process.
The job board SimplyHired surveyed more than 850 hiring managers about their practices and opinions. Take a look at which of the behaviors were viewed negatively. Pay attention to: Lateness, Preparation, Eye Contact, Dress Code and Follow Up
Merrill Banks, CSP, CEO founded LLoyd Staffing in 1971. Under his direction, LLoyd has grown into the largest privately owned staffing firm on Long Island (NY) and a well respected name in the industry. READ MORE