When it comes to advancing the careers of our clients, we like to go beyond providing a top notch resume and cover letter. We have spent a great deal of time talking with people in a wide variety of industries, and naturally pay attention to trends and tips in the professional world. Today I’d like to touch on a few thoughts regarding the step which comes after our resume got you in the door at your ideal employer—the interview.
- Be on time and dress professionally. This seems like a no brainer, but at all levels I hear stories of these being neglected. Give yourself adequate time to find where you need to be, and be sure to have the phone number of someone there in case you get lost. When it comes to clothes, a shirt and tie is a minimum. And, please, do not wear tennis shoes…
- Have your resume and other documents prepared and in a folder or portfolio. Bring several copies of your resume and cover letter on quality paper, and any additional pieces you may want to share (a completed project, publication, advertisement, etc.). Just be sure never to share anything proprietary to a previous employer.
- Know the company you are talking to. Spend some time on their website to understand what exactly they do, their offering, their background, their values and mission. Companies would like to see you interested in working with them (and why), not that you are just looking for any place which will hire you.
- Present yourself confidently and be honest in your responses. Experienced interviewers have a good ear for candidates saying what they think sounds good instead of being genuine, so frame your answers professionally and truthfully! The interviewer is looking to see if you are a good fit, and you are doing yourself no favors by convincing them of anything contrary to reality.
- Ask questions! The term “interview” means the conversation should go both directions. Use the knowledge deduced from your research about them to ask educated and relevant questions. Inquire about their approach to a challenge in the industry, how they train new hires, what makes a candidate succeed in the role you are interviewing for, etc.
- Ask for what you want. It may or may not present itself in the interview, but know what you want when it comes time to discuss a compensation package. As with any negotiation, have a range in mind you are comfortable with before you have that conversation. Do not accept something which you are unhappy with, as it is unlikely you can do much to change it once you are employed.