Thursday, November 19, 2015

Prepare for your next interview with this short checklist

Written by: Diane LeMaire, Senior Managing Director F&A Search, CFS Houston
This is one of my favorite documents I created that I share with my candidates to help them prepare for an interview. I hope it helps you too! 

Before the Interview:

The more prepared you are the more confident you will be
  • Buy a portfolio if you do not have one.
  • Make copies of your resume and references. 
  • Make sure your suit is dry-cleaned and ready.
  • Do your research! Go to the company website, LinkedIn page, Hoovers/D&B and Google. Look for goals and objectives, corporate culture, and any new press releases. This information will be imperative for the interview.
  • Google the company name and the hiring managers you will meet and also check out their LinkedIn pages.
  • Compare your resume to the job description. Think about accomplishments you can point out. Make sure you can explain all reasons for leaving, and keep all responses short and to the point. Never, ever say any thing negative about an employer in an interview. Believe it or not, it IS a very small world. 
  • Prepare a list of at least 5 questions per interviewer and have them ready in your portfolio.
  • Make sure you have the directions and know how to get there.
  • Role-play with anyone! Interviewing is not your profession, which means you have to practice! Practice the hard to answer questions. You never want to sound scripted or that you are fishing for an answer. If you do not know how to answer specific questions, ask your recruiter for advice.

The Day of the Interview:

Don’t forget to smile and have a positive attitude. First impressions can make or break an interview! 
  • Arrive early (if you do not know the location drive by the night before).
  • Review your notes before you go in.
  • Give yourself a pep talk (you should be a little bit nervous, this is normal).
  • Walk in with confidence and tell the receptionist whom you are there to see. Do NOT be rude to whoever is at the front desk. Chances are they will be asked their impression of you.
  • Make sure you are looking for your interviewer. Do not sit and read or be on your phone. Sit with confidence and a smile on your face!
  • Give a good, firm handshake. If you have a tendency to have sweaty palms, wash your hands with really cold water before you enter the reception area.
  • If you have a problem with direct eye contact, look at their eyebrows. They will never know the difference.

During the Interview:

Don’t worry if you have done your homework you are well on your way.
  • Rule number 1…People love to talk about themselves. Don’t forget to ask about the interviewer’s background and why they like working for their employer. 
  • It’s very important to establish rapport so look for commonalities.
  • Ask the interviewer to describe a typical day in the role; ask about projects and how you can make an immediate impact. Remember: The employer is probably doing his job and the one you are interviewing for as well. The more you can help, the more likely they are to hire you.
  • Talk about your accomplishment and goals. Be prepared to talk about challenges and how you overcame them. 
  • Always know the answer to the strength and weakness question. Don’t forget about your 5-year goal(s).
  • Make sure you ask the questions you prepared. Don’t forget to include questions to better understand the job and what it would take to be successful.
  • Don’t ask about benefits or salary. This is about the job and the company. Your recruiter can get you that information.
  • If the money question comes up tell them it is more about the opportunity and you are sure they would make you a fair and competitive offer. If they press you tell them what you are making. If they keep pushing you give them a range. Never, ever give them a number! Don’t put a number on their application either.
  • Don’t forget to ask a lot of questions and show enthusiasm. Most candidates are cut from the process simply because the manager does not think the candidate is interested in their opportunity. 

The Close:

This is your chance to bring it all together.
  • Tell them you are interested! Yes, say it out loud. 
  • Ask if there are any concerns about your ability to do the job. This is your last chance to sell yourself!
  • Explain that after learning more about the company and the position you are even more excited about this opportunity. Review the experience you can contribute and ask for the job or the next step in the process. 

The Follow up:

  • Call your recruiter immediately. It is essential that we speak to you before we speak to the client to gauge your interest level.
  • Very few candidates actually write a thank you note. I recommend an email immediately after and a hand written note as well.

1 comment:

  1. Great, to-the-point list of items to remember! Thank you for sharing.


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