In our house, as we approached the end of the long holiday break, we created a household help checklist with a few daily chores and responsibilities to help get us back into our routines. We sat down with our girls and reviewed the list, privileges we hope they will earn, the goals and consequences if they don’t complete the weekly list. It dawned on me that we were talking about “the basics”. Shouldn’t we already have these routines of making the bed, brushing our teeth, doing our homework down? Could we have truly forgotten these basics over the two week break?
Candidates that are interviewing for the first time in five or ten years may have forgotten the basics too. The consequences aren’t as simple as no use of electronics or 5 minutes early to bed… no the consequences are far greater. YOU don’t get the job.
Perhaps a quick review of the Interview Basics is in order to start the new year off.
- Do your homework . Read everything you can on the company website, read the earnings report, mission statements, leadership team bios, employee content, company culture. Spend time reading LinkedIn profiles or blogs of people you will be interviewing with. CyberSTALK them! They will have already Googled you, more than once. Look at industry articles, or tech sites like TechCrunch, Mashable, Inc, Fortune, Hoovers, Valut, and Glassdoor. This is a great place to gather background information, conversation starters, and thoughtful, relevant questions for your the interview.
- Dress to impress. It’s true that you never have a second chance to make a first impression, but don’t over due it. Since you have done your research, you may have seen pictures of people dressed at a corporate event or just hanging around the office. Maybe you know someone at the company and and they can give you a few tips. When all else fails, ask your recruiter!
- Know your story . Often times you will be asked the same uncomfortable questions, “Why did you want to leave your current job?” or “What are strengths/weaknesses?”. We all have a story, we all have a past. Knowing ahead of time the story you want to tell and the key talking points that best represent an honest picture of you will help smooth over these questions.
- Practice. I know you’re thinking, really, practice? YES! If you haven’t interviewed in a few years or more or even been part of an interview panel, it’s great to practice your story, thinking of common objections and how to handle them, and get yourself comfortable with the questions/answer format. Ideally, ask someone to help in a mock interview so you can feel comfortable answering the most uncomfortable questions. I like to write out my answers to a few of the typical questions - you won’t have to think as hard about those answers, which will leave you with more brain power to handle the curveballs.
- If you want the job, ask for it. At the end of the interview say, I’d really like to work here, do you have any reason that you wouldn’t hire me? You have nothing to lose at this point, even though you might not want to hear what might be said. Better to deal with it head on and handle any objections face to face. There’s nothing worse than riding the elevator down after your interview and having that “palm to face” moment when you realize you tried your hardest but didn’t ask that simple question. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with the presumptive close.
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