In video games, you fight your way through a series of increasingly difficult challenges before ending up at the very end, alone against a powerful adversary you must defeat before proceeding to the next level. This is known as a “boss fight.”
In-person interviews can feel similar. Though you are not up against an adversary, you need to be at the top of your game to win the ultimate treasure: a job offer.
As always, prepare for your in-person interview in advance. Research the company and the role again, and reach out to any LinkedIn connections who work within the company. Recruitment firms like JDC Group can give you more information about the hiring manager and the interview format ahead of time. Use this information in your preparations.
Dress professionally. For men and women, this means a nice suit. Do not wear flashy patterns, even in your tie, as this is not the right time to show off your individualism. Be sure that your suit is pressed, your hair neat, and your jewelry minimal.
Look up the best ways to get to the interview location ahead of time, and drive the route at least once before the interview. This will ensure you do not get lost.
On interview day, be sure to arrive 5 to 10 minutes early. Your recruiter or business development manager may meet you at the interview location. Never be late to an interview, as this communicates to the interviewer that you either do not care about the position or you are not responsible enough to arrive at work on time. Traffic is not a good excuse for being late, so leave with enough time to ensure there will be no issues. If you are more than 10 minutes early, sit in the parking lot and study your resume until 10 minutes before the interview.
Bring 3 to 5 copies of the resume your recruiter shared with the company. (This may be a different format or content from your traditional resume, so ask your recruiter to send you a copy.) Look prepared by bringing a pen and paper for notes, even if you do not believe you will use them. Do not bring much more than that, though your purse or briefcase is fine.
Sometimes, interviewers ask you to troubleshoot or whiteboard to display your skills. Be prepared for this. Often, your recruiter can let you know ahead of time if this will be expected of you.
When you are in the interview, keep the conversation focused on the role, its responsibilities, and your qualifications. Ask thoughtful questions about the challenges of the role, the needs of the department, and what is expected in the first 30, 60, and 90 days. (Avoid asking about vacation time, remote work, flex hours, and other benefits. Ask your recruiter about these instead.)
Use active listening skills to have a genuine conversation with your interviewer. Take notes if you like. Ask questions about things they say, and offer well-thought out answers.
Be aware that interviewers may ask difficult questions. Instead of letting these throw you, prepare answers ahead of time about failed projects, your worst attribute, your weaknesses, and difficulties you may have had with a superior. You can and should be honest with these answers, but remember not to volunteer unnecessary information. Instead, offer an answer showing how you overcame your flaws, like, “When left to my own devices, I can struggle with time management. I realized early on that this trait could affect my career negatively, so I created a time management system which keeps me and my deliverables on schedule.”
As the Interview Winds Down
At some point near the end, your interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. This is a time when you can ask questions about the job, the responsibilities and expectations associated with it, the company’s culture, and anything else you may want to know about (with the exception of salary and benefits).
In addition, always ask these three questions:
- Is there anything about my experience or background that makes you think I would not be a good fit for this role?
- What are the next steps in the process?
- What is the timeline for filing this position?
These questions will give you an opportunity to smooth over any concerns the hiring manager may have, and provide you with helpful information about the rest of the process.
After the Interview
As with all interviews, once the interview is over, you will need to contact your recruiter to share details. It is also highly recommended that you send a thank you note to the team members who interviewed you.
Your JDC Group recruiter is available to offer tips and guidance if you would like coaching before your in-person interview. Talk to a recruiter today!