So you’ve landed the interview! Yassssss! Good for you. Now it’s time to show up and wow the hell out of them. I’m going to walk you through it and explain the most important thing you need to do in order to nail your next interview.
(If you haven't managed to get an in person interview scheduled yet, check out last week’s blog post. In it I shared all my juicy tips on how to get a face to face with the hiring manager. Click here to check it out!)
You’ve made it this far and you’re going to have an in person interview. Whoa, this is a big deal. For some of you it may have been a while since you’ve interviewed in person. So what is the MOST important thing to do right now...
Yup - The most important aspect of any interview process is preparing for the interview.
Why? Well, there are two main reasons:
1 - Being fully prepared helps you seem already assimilated and a part of the company when you arrive. Your prospective employer won’t know why, but you’ll seem like a “good fit” from the moment you walk in the door.
2 - Being prepared gives you oodles of confidence and confidence allows you to be more successful in any situation.
Do NOT go into an interview with out being as prepared as possible. That includes a variety of things to do before and during the actual interview. Here’s a checklist.
Research the heck out of the company.
Learn all you can about the organization, check out their website, their history, their financial results, what type of charitable organizations they support, the company culture and dress code.
If you know someone that works there pick their brain, read reviews or articles. If the company has a product or service that they sell, make sure that you have tried it and have an opinion.
If there is a physical location open to the public, then visit it and be sure you know what the experience is like.
Bring extra copies of your resume.
Very often an in person interview can turn into two or even three interviews at once. This is a good thing!
Sometimes additional decision makers may be available and could on a whim join your interview or if you have done well with the first person you may be asked to stick around and meet up with some other members of leadership while you’re there.
Be prepared for this! Have several extra copies of your resume handy and freely give them to people to take a look at while you're meeting.
Schedule enough time.
For the same reasons I mentioned above, do yourself a favor and prepare for your interview by blocking off enough time in your schedule.
Nothing is worse than getting through a first interview and then having to turn down meeting further people because you have somewhere else to be...ugggh!
When my clients have big interviews set up, I encourage them to take the day off of work and spend their time prepping stress free and open for whatever may happen at the interview.
Also, let’s face it, it’s not fair to your current employer for you to be interviewing on their time. Do the right thing and clear your schedule for the day and ensure you are approaching this stress-free and with no other obligations looming.
Know how you will respond if they ask you questions about salary.
It’s going to come up eventually. And more and more I see the salary topic come up during the first interview. Employers don’t want to waste their time or yours if you can’t meet on salary. So be ready for it.
Research what similar positions pay. You can use sites like, salary.com, glassdoor.com, payscale.com, or even the bureau of labor and statistics to get a good idea of what the salary range is. Do this! Knowledge is power my friend, and you need to know what you’re worth and what this job is paying in order to negotiate successfully.
Also consider this. These days many people are choosing to withhold their salary information. In fact, it is now illegal in Massachusetts for an employer to ask a candidate what they make during a job interview. We may see more states adopting this law in an effort to encourage equal pay for both men and women.
That being said, it’s not required for you to share your salary in any state, if you don’t want to. This is a delicate conversation so if you don’t want to share, how are you going to say that? Prepare yourself by practicing.
If you do feel it necessary to share your salary, then you also need to be prepared by considering your total compensation package. Do you have a bonus structure in your current position, are there stock options, what family or medical benefits do you now have, vacation, personal days, etc. Knowing your exact compensation will prepare you to clearly articulate what you make, and more importantly what your salary expectations for the new position are.
Understand the company dress code and dress the part.
What you wear matters...alot. (If you would like to read more on this topic, Click Here for a blog post I wrote on dressing for success.)
It will be incredibly awkward if you show up to an interview with a cool tech start up in your buttoned up black suit while everyone else is wearing jeans and graphic T’s. Oh the embarrassment!
Avoid this by researching what the company culture and dress code is. I’ve had clients that are so stressed about this that I suggested they park outside the office building and watch what people are wearing when they arrive to work! I don’t encourage stalker behavior, but I do encourage you become very clear about what people will be wearing during your interview. You want to fit in, right? You want them to look at you as if you already belong there.
When you have a good sense of dress code and company culture I suggest you take it one tiny notch up from the norm. Be fashionable and professional, but fit it as well.
Prepare questions for the interviewer.
Inevitably there will come a point in the interview when the interviewer asks, “So do you have any questions for me?”
Have some! But not too many.
Prepare 2-3 great questions that you can ask your interviewer. This is your chance to wow them and show that you understand the importance of their priorities, the role you’re interviewing for and what might be expected.
Be ready for next steps.
Have your calendar updated so you can easily schedule any future interviews on the spot.
Sometimes questions may come up about future availability or when you would be able to start. If you know you have some big event planned, like a destination wedding or a trip abroad you might want to be transparent and share those dates now, instead of after you get the job.
Have something to either write on or type into handy, so you can record next steps and the contact info of the people you have met or are planning to meet with next time.
If you follow these steps I promise you will be significantly better positioned than your competition as you head into your interview. It’s so wise to prepare and I know that it will only help you.
Check out next week’s post for “The 6 Worth it Steps to Take After Your Interview”. I think you will find it helpful!
And if someone you know or love could benefit from this info, please share it! I bet they’ll thank you.
Thanks for reading!