Tips for a Great Interview

by Erin Baggott

BE PREPARED

The number one complaint from interviewers is interviewing candidates who don't know what they are interviewing for and haven't even taken the time to research basic company and profile information. 

 

   TWO+ DAYS BEFORE:

  1. Review the company website: Look for specifics --> Pictures and Bios for the individuals in your potential department/location. 

  2. Familiarize yourself with important names/faces so you can confidently remember them when introduced. 

  3. When reading through bios via company website or linked, highlight what you might have in common with future colleagues. 

  4. Research current information about the company via industry websites, affiliate reviews of the firm, public trading records, etc.

  5. Take notes when prepping so you can remember the points and questions you may want to discuss during your interview. 

  6. Tech Tip! Set up a Google Alert for the firm name so that any news that comes out the same day as your interview is delivered straight to your email. If something hits the news that morning, you will look like a rock star for being so interested and informed!

    IN YOUR BRIEFCASE:

  • Multiple Crisp and Clean Copies of your Resume

  • Phone Battery Extra Charge Pack & Cord

  • Chap Stick

  • Cough drops

  • Breath mints 

  • Deodorant

  • Ladies: Bring / but be gentle with - light perfume

  • Hotel size hand moisturizer

  • Bottle of water or a sports drink that hydrates

  • Tylenol - any medication you may need

  • Change for the parking meter if still applicable

  • $20 for 'who-knows-what'

  • Business cards for your current position

  • A typed out summary of your research and prepped questions

  • MOST IMPORTANT: A leather notebook with a legal pad and a pen! 

Arrive Early: Arrive in front of the building 20 minutes early, and walk into the office 10 minutes early. This leaves time for Murphy’s Law: traffic, accidents, losing your keys or spilling a drink, etc.

 

Before you walk in: Pop a mint and freshen your breath. Use the public restroom. Check for arm stains if you had to run over and deodorize. Use your lip balm and apply a little hand moisturizer. Smile a couple big goofy smiles and wake yourself up with a couple stretches and arm swings then. Go for it, loosen up, get into the moment, shake the nerves out!

SPEAK CLEARLY

  • "She sells seashells by the seashore" x3

  • "Tip of the teeth, the lips, the tongue" x3

 

RE/Greeter: Consider the receptionist a warm-up. Make sure you are smiling and creating some good chemistry between the two of you. It’s appropriate to accept any offered water or coffee now/ *When you need a second to think during the interview, you can take a sip of your coffee slowly and come up with the perfect response. 

 

Be Consistent: You will probably be speaking with multiple individuals throughout the day. Keep in mind that they will all be sharing your answers with each other later so be consistent. 

 

RE/Phrasing: Instead of just asking a question, utilize the opportunity to gain rapport with stylized phraseology. For example, try starting with “I would love to learn your perspective on…” or “I would be really interested in how you feel about…” This shows you are enthusiastic and interested - because you just told them you were - while asking a question and letting them talk more - which 99% of people like doing. If you can get them talking and sharing their thoughts and opinions, they will walk away thinking “Wow, I really like that her/him!” It's not a game if you are honest and genuinely applying for a position you want and will love talking about as well. 

 

RE/Chemistry: Remember to thank each individual and leave each person with the impression that you are a nice person who would be enjoyable and even fun, to work with. Use their name when appropriate, keep eye contact, smile, and maintain ‘open’ body language -no crossed arms! Skills can be taught, but you can't change a bad attitude. 

 

Be Present: Practice active listening and make sure you are really in the moment with the person you are talking to. You can’t change the past but you are affecting your future with each moment that passes. Learn to tune out any distracting thoughts or worries that are unrelated to the current task at hand. If you find your attention getting diverted, simply ask a question that will give so you a an extra minute to listen while you get your head back into the game. Remember, when you pause for time to think and truly phrase a sentence intelligently, even if it takes a little longer, it shows you know how to think before you speak. It’s OK to be nervous - it is natural and hopefully you don't have tons of experience interviewing so don't stress it!

 

Be Positive: When referencing your previous employers, co-workers, schools, etc- always choose the positive things you would like to share about them, and never the negative perspective. You could say “My last boss was impossible to work for, I hated going to work” OR “My last boss was incredibly demanding and that taught me a lot about the kind of manager I’d to be in the future.”

 

RE/Attire: In general, you will want to wear a tailored suit with an ironed, collared shirt or a conservative stylish blouse for the ladies. Don’t wear anything too flashy or bright and avoid excess jewelry. Always make sure your shoes are in good shape. Men’s should be nicely shined and ladies should be conscious of wearing an appropriate heel height (not too tall) and the heel should have rubber that is in tact so your steps are muted on tile. Be careful how you sit or lean back in chairs prior to your interview so you can avoid a wrinkled shirt in case it seems most appropriate to remove your coat or the temperature is hot. If you do get hot, beware of stains incurred before your jacket is removed. It is life, 'sweat happens' - but don't be remembered for it if you can avoid it. 

 

RE/Oder: Always wear a LIGHT puff of cologne or perfume, as well as deodorant. Remember that your nose will adjust so that you might stop smelling it, but that doesn’t mean those around you won’t – so don’t reapply unless you are sure you are utilizing a conservative and necessary amount.

 

RE/Money: Do. Not. Talk. About. Money…leave that me, your recruiter!

If they ask about what you will cost them, emphasize your enthusiasm with the opportunity. You could say “Well, since you brought it up, what kind of salary range do you have in mind for someone with X number of years?” or ”You seem like a fair manager and you know the business - I’m sure when we get to that point, you’ll offer me a fair wage as well.” Money is a negotiating point- so let them fall in love with you first, let them discard your competition, and then we can talk figures that will make everyone happy. You are more likely to be successful at a job you truly love, so don't let money prevent you from accepting an opportunity where you might get promoted faster because you give it your best and love coming to work. The jobs that sometimes pay more upfront, can distract you from what you are really accepting - and that is usually intentional because they may need you now / but not tomorrow. 

 

During the day: Treat the interview like a blind date and remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Learn about the company’s goals, and how they see you in a role that would support those. Use those answers to help you structure your own responses. Be open to new ways of doing the job, feel free to comment and make suggestions if applicable, share your knowledge in small doses through the enthusiasm you have for the position you are applying for. 

 

   YOUR COMPANY WANTS TO HEAR:

  1. That you can walk in, sit down and be of immediate benefit to them.

  2. That you share a common vision for the future of the industry and the company’s role in it.

  3. That your professional goals are in line with those needed for the position they are looking to fill.

  4. That your time line for growth is in line with how fast/slow they want you to advance.

  5. That you are going to be worth the investment they make in training you and will be loyal to the firm. 

 

As the Interview is about to end: Usually there will be a second interview, but in some cases, this is your only chance to tell the company that you would indeed enjoy the opportunity to work for them, and with the team you just met. If so, share your enthusiasm and any pointers you picked up that really stood out as reasons you would be a great fit there. Ask them if there is anything you have said that they would like you to clarify further for them before you leave and then ask what the next step will be. Let them know when you are available and have your day planner with you so you can book a time with them directly. Please try to be flexible- you are one person and a company usually needs to coordinate the schedules of multiple individuals just so they can meet you.

 

After the Interview: Call me, your recruiter, when you leave the building. Right away please - because I'm sitting here in the office thinking about you and sending you positive vibes and hoping for your success! I'll be excited to debrief you and find out if this was a good match - or if we need to refine the type of position you are best qualified for. I will be talking to the hiring authority within the hour and I will need to share with them your positive feedback and enthusiasm. It always goes over well when we get to say “You know… he/she had such a good day with you that they called me just as they were leaving your office just to tell me all about it!” Companies love to hear they did a good job at interviewing you! They are sometimes just as nervous about your impression of them as you are with theirs!


 

Interview Tips Provided by:

Erin Baggott - Executive Recruiter

www.ExecutiveSearchPlacements.com

720.340.2377

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