You’ve passed the 1st hurdle and your resume is the beacon of skills the company is looking for. Now comes the interview; it’s similar to being set up on a blind date. You two meet up, check out each other’s vibes, chit chat, and pray you and the company are compatible. And hopefully after the interview, it would not end with…. ‘looks good on paper but in person…’
The below are based on interviews that I’ve conducted in the last few years. Most of these tips are outlined in a multitude of job prep sites and books…but apparently not many people read them.
1) Remember and keep track where you’ve applied to
If I call you to come in for an interview, and I get a ‘uh…um…I’m sorry who??’ I’m gonna regret phoning you. When a decent job posting goes out, it’s like dropping blood into a shark infested pool. Our inbox will be attacked and filled with applications and it may take awhile to sift through them. So do not be surprised if it takes up to 2-3 weeks before you hear something.
2) Be on time
This is obvious but it’s still unbelievable how people can still be late. Call the company’s reception, do a google map, check out Translink’s website, etc to figure out the location ahead of time. If you’re going to be late, just call and let your interviewers know. Try to be there at least 5 minutes early, so you can take the time to relax and breath before you meet with HR/Manager/etc
3) Have a firm handshake
Don’t have a barely-there handshake where it feels like shaking a limp plant. It actually feels gross and indicates to us you lack confidence and assertion. But don’t be so firm that it feels like your crushing my hand.
4) Dress appropriately
Depending on the position and company, figure out what the interview appropriate wear would be. If you’re applying for a gaming or web dev job, chances are you can be a bit casual. Whereas if you’re going for a stock broker position, you would want to bring out your Armani suit. But under NO circumstances do you wear jeans to an interview. If you work at a place where everyone wears shorts and tees, and you need to sneak out for the interview, bring a change of clothes then! For the guys, a pair of khakis, a button up shirt and loafers would suffice most of the time. Same for the girls and fortunately we have more flexibility in that department.
And look somewhat polished and comb your hair…and not appear you just rolled out of bed and rolled into the interview.
5) Stay calm and appear keen
Interviews can be scary and we understand that. But we’ll worry if you look clammy, pale, and ready to keel over. It’s counter-intuitive but what keeps me calm is I go into an interview with a ‘I don’t care’ attitude. If you don’t feel like your life depends on it and remember there are other opportunities, you wouldn’t worry as much. When you answer, speak slowly, calmly, and with a smile.
Review your resume, note your professional highlights, research the company, etc the night before. Most importantly study with the STAR method as 100% of time you would be asked situational/behavioral questions
Situation: give an example of a situation you were involved in that resulted in a positive outcome
Task: describe the tasks involved in that situation
Action: talk about the various actions involved in the situation’s task
Results: what results directly followed because of your actions
7) Have good posture
Don’t slouch, twitch, fiddle around or lean over too much. Sit up straight or just relax back against the chair. If we’re in a lounge like room, don’t slouch and spread your legs like as if you’re hungover. Don’t really feel like staring at your crotch for an hour.
8) Be coherent and transparent
Relates back to point #6 and have answers ready. There was one interviewee who would start telling us an experience and then all of a sudden say ‘oh sorry..can’t say too much about that / can’t disclose too many details’ …then why would you start telling us about it?? You’re not applying to the FBI here.
9) You would love to work for the company
I know you’re sucking up or BSing that you want to work for the place because
It’s the number one place for…etc
Company A is an award winning…etc
You have great projects….etc
That’s fine but don’t say “I want to work for Company A because I found you on Craigslist and I need a job”
10) Have a hobby
Aside from your skills and background, we want to know you have a life. This provides us an insight that you have personality and you are a well rounded individual.. If you don’t have a hobby, lie about it and then pick it up afterwards.
12) Figure out what your Interviewer likes
It’s ok before or at the end of the interview to try to throw in something casual…like talking about last night’s hockey game or some new restaurant you went to. It would then make your interviewer open up something about themselves. Like if they don’t like hockey but happens to watch wrestling…work with it. It’s a good subtle way to develop rapport and show you have personality (referring to #10)
Bring extra copies of the resume and references to the interview. After the interview, within 24 hours write a thank you email. These little things make interviewers remember you. HUGE Bonus points.