Sometimes the best time to start a new job is at the beginning of a new year. Think about it, new budgets are in place, hiring managers are focused on filling those open positions, and you have the whole year to meet those goals, but interviewing can be daunting. You need to be ready (and have the time) to search for a new job.
I have interviewed numerous people over the years. Some that reported directly to me and others that were colleagues. In the tech world, they are known for this team interviewing style. Makes sense, start-ups are intense and require employees to go "above and beyond" and the executive team wants to be sure the newbie is a good hire and will help the company grow. That being said, some interviews were amazing and I knew almost instantly that the person I was interviewing was a fit. Then there were others that left me wondering if the person I was chatting with had any inkling about what we did. Not fun, for me or the applicant.
So, if you are someone who is ready to make that change, here are my tips on how to prepare for your next job interview.
Do Your Research
This may be a bit obvious but you would be surprised how many people just assume they know what they need to about a company. Just because a recruiter has done a great job briefing you don't stop there.
- Read the press: This is really an important step that shouldn't be overlooked. Go to the companies press page and read as much as you can about what they are saying publicly about themselves. This will give you insight on how they position themselves in the marketplace (key if you are going for a sales gig) and a good place to find who has invested in them. It also might give you insight on who "speaks" for the company. Is it always the CEO or does the CMO do all the press? This could give you a bit of insight into the company culture.
- Stalk on LinkedIn: Knowing who you are interviewing with or who in your network knows your hiring manager will give you the opportunity to tap into your network. Don't be afraid to make some phone calls and ask around. You are making a big change and the more you know about the team, the more informed your decision will be when the offer comes in.
- Get the dress code: Dressing the part will lend to you being at ease during the interview. Let's face it, if this is a start-up tech company wearing a stuffy suit is probably the wrong image you want to project. Don't be concerned about asking the HR manager this question, they will only appreciate your due diligence. Which leads me to our next section...
More Than Dressing The Part
I have written about dressing for the job you are interviewing for before. However, there is more to this than just having the right outfit. Here are some other details to think about:
- Makeup: Now isn't the time to show your expert cat eye or perfect orange lip. Keep your makeup neutral and conservative. You want your interviewer to see you and hear you as you answer their questions. Too much of anything can be a distraction.
- Jewelry: My policy is the same for jewelry. Pick one statement piece (not too much of a statement) and keep the rest of the jewelry to a minimum.
- Shoes: I prefer wearing my newest shoes or buying a new pair for an interview (don't worry, you will wear them again). An article published in Journal of Research in Personality claims that people can make an accurate first impression based on someone’s shoes. New shoes (or gently worn) mean good things.
You would be surprised how many interviews I have conducted and the person I am chatting with doesn't have a pad of paper or a pen, nevermind having questions ready. I know this is 2018 and taking notes on paper can seem old school, but this practice does show you are listening. That being said, be sure to
- Q&A: Have some solid questions ready for your host. They want to know you are interested in the company, the position and that you have done your homework.
- Follow up: It used to be a handwritten note was expected after an interview. In this day and age, an email is perfectly acceptable. Be sure to recap some of what you heard during your discussion with your hiring manager and outline how you can be an asset to him/her if you are hired.
- Close the deal: This is a big one but hard. You might want to practice with a few ways, that are comfortable for you, to ask "When will you be making a decision and is there any question that I can answer to re-enforce my fit for this role". Even if you don't want the job, close the deal. By the way, it is okay to let them know if you aren't interested. A simple "I really appreciate your time, and love what you are doing, however, I don't think my expertise is the right fit". Trust me, this will go a long way and if there is a better fit in the future, you will be first on their call back list.
Now go out there and get that dream job! You deserve it.
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