Updated: Mar 6
Yahoo, you got a request to attend an interview!!!! Confirm!!!!
These days most are via some electronic means so it is a bit different than I would normally tell you. So, first things first, figure out the program you are to use for the interview. Test it, set up an account and get a friend to chat with you so you know how to get in and communicate. Now for the love of god, do this a day or two ahead of your interview. Nothing says “poor organizational skills” than 20 minutes prior to your interview phoning/emailing/texting and saying you cannot set something up or your computer does not work. Figure it out days before. The morning of your interview do a quick check to ensure there were no updates that need to happen to that software.
Research the company .... make sure you understand what they do and what makes them unique from their competitors. Where do they have locations/offices? Who are their leadership team. Any "news releases" lately?
Appearance does still matter. The just rolled out of bed look isn't shouting "hire me, I am your person". check how you look and the angle of your camera, etc.
Try and ensure you are not just holding your phone and trying to do an interview. Gosh I have gotten almost seasick with the candidate moving around while I am trying to ask questions.
Pay attention to your background when using a video communication system. I once had a Facetime with a candidate where there was a bottle of Jack Daniels in the background and a similar colored drink he sipped through our entire interview …….. (no words!!)
If possible be somewhere that is noise free/interruption free. If you have kids arrange for them to have some time with their grandparents/aunts/uncles/friends, you get the idea. This is a professional interview, just because it is at home people can slip into the less professional mode. This can be quite helpful to recruiters as people are more relaxed at home and will sometimes say more than normal in their friendly home environment. Watch for this.
If you are doing an in-person interview. Make sure you know how to get there and where to park. If you are anything like me, I always go the day before I was meeting someone and do a test drive to make sure I was timing the appointment drive appropriately. I always gave myself a ½ hour flex in case of an accident, flat or whatever. If something completely bizarre happens call as soon as you can to let them know you are going to be late and ask if that is ok or should you reschedule and apologize.
Make sure you find out who you are interviewing with and their role with the organization. If you are interviewing with a recruiter, you can pretty much summarize there will need to be another interview after this for you to meet the actual supervisor/leader/team.
If you have a contact at that organization, call them and find out what you can about the person interviewing you and the role.
Other prep work you should do is get an email together and send about 5 minutes prior to the start of your interview. This should include things like your references, letters/emails of references, samples of spreadsheets, documents that you have created and certificates/tickets, etc. that you did not include in your on-line application process. Doing this ahead of being asked is an incredibly good thing.
So now you are on the screen and ready to be interviewed. What the heck is going to set you apart from the other 10 people being interviewed. Well, I really cannot tell you how much being honest and friendly will get you points. I have previously posted about being likeable and that is important as your ability to get along with others can make or break your future with any organization. If you have had trouble with this in the past ……. You need to self reflect and figure out why. Do you come into the office and not look or speak to anyone for an hour? That sends a vibe that is not good. You can say good morning and smile and be polite, but you need a few minutes to organize yourself. Have people just stopped looking up when you come in? They have given up on trying to interact with you. Not a good thing. Be aware of how you impact others. Again, a new role is a new start but that may mean changes to you and your behaviors.
You are probably nervous and that is completely normal and actually until the interviews get going the interviewer will be a bit nervous. Try and put them at ease as well. Answer questions as completely as you can …… and remember that looking positive and happy is not a bad thing.
Practice / think of examples that show the following:
Communication Skills - written and verbal
Social Media Skills is appropriate
Attention to Detail
Ability to handle Change
Strengths / Areas for Development
Working on multiple projects/work areas
Software knowledge and skill levels
Refer to my Instagram account on "why you are looking for a new role" answers.
What if you just do not jive with the person you are interviewing with? Well… you definitely have a choice to just call it a day or try and make the best of it. I will let you in on a secret …… sometimes I would be a bit annoying just to see how you would handle it.
Interviews can get emotional, yes people cry …… a good interviewer will try and pull you out of that quickly but don’t be so hard on yourself.
Have your questions written down!! You will forget otherwise trust me. Sample questions for Admin type roles are:
How many people are in your team?
Why is this role vacant?
Are there others that do the same role I would be doing?
What is your expectation as to when someone would be full trained and doing the role?
When are you looking to have someone in that role?
What is the salary range for this position?
Who would I report to?
Does your group have any large projects that you hope to complete within the next year?
What are the preferred work hours? Is there any flexibility in those?
Because of the pandemic ask about their working remote options?
What training would you anticipate I might need?
Are there growth opportunities within the organization?
Would it be appropriate for you to tell me about your benefits program at this interview or is that more effective in another manner?
When will you be making a decision? How will I know if I am still being considered for the role?
Wrapping up the interview – make sure you tell them if you are interested or not. After you have heard everything maybe it just is not something you think is a good fit. Just let them know rather than them continuing down a path and getting a second interview or offer prepared. People remember this and maybe this role was not right for you but there may be another one in the organization that is. Do not burn bridges.
If you are required to provide other information do so as quickly as possible. Do not fart around. Efficient people get things done. Book your preemployment medical if that is required.
Communication is a beautiful thing. If something happens that throws your world into chaos call, email but tell them what is happening. “I’m sorry, but I need to reschedule as our family has been hit with a medical emergency. Can I get back to you in two days”?
If you get an offer, and it says you need to respond by a certain date and time. Make sure you do but if you know you are going to accept do not drag out the notification until 5 minutes before the deadline. Employers really do want people that are excited to work for them. Nothing feels better than being wanted and so that is something you can easily do.
If you get a rejection, how you handle this is REALLLLLY important. Rejection is not a great word, but you know what I mean. Thank them for the discussion on the role and let them know if you are interested in future roles and ask what kind of training, additional experience would help with the next role in their organization. It is a small world and I have often referred candidate who were not a fit for one role to someone else.
I am not a big “send a thank you for your interview note” person. I think that can be handled in the interview itself. I also don’t think you need to send them flowers or gifts. However, you can send referrals and let them know that you will.
A lot of jobs right now are being filled without posting being put up so make sure you are networking as much as possible. People truly do want to help so let them.