In my opinion there is nothing more important than preparing for an interview. I prep my candidates and then prep them again. I also confirm interviews via phone, email and then typically call or text them on their way to the interview to wish them luck. As a recruiter, it is my job to conduct the initial sell of the candidate to the client but the rest is up to the candidate.
1) Research the company: It is imperative that you read as much as possible and be armed with questions when walking into the interview. One of the most common questions a hiring manager will ask is, “What do you know about our company?” Candidates that have done their research are showing initiative and candidates who haven’t are often shown the door. Hiring managers love it when you walk in with your own notes and have questions prepared for them. Along with researching the company’s website, move on to LinkedIn and look up the hiring managers profile so you’ll know his or her background. Interviewers like candidates who are a reflection of themselves. Find a common bond and mention it during the interview.
2) Never ever be late: I always advise my candidates to arrive 15 minutes early. I also tell them to drive by the company a day or two prior to the interview so they aren’t in panic mode trying to find the building just prior to the interview. Walking in late or frazzled lessens your chance of winning the position. I’ve seen interviews cancelled because a candidate arrived 5 minutes late. Being tardy is detrimental and it’s a red flag of what hiring managers can expect from you down the road.
3) Know your resume: Anything listed on your resume is fair game during an interview. Make sure to review your resume and be prepared to speak about anything listed in detail. If you can’t remember the project you worked on years ago, take it off your resume.
4) What not to bring: Leave your cell phone in your car. I know you might think you turned it off but why chance it? A ringing phone or a text message during an interview shows the hiring manager that they aren’t your priority.
5) What to bring: Always bring a professional notebook, copies of your resume, your list of company specific notes, any questions you might have and of course a pen.
6) What to wear: Every company has different dress code policies. It is better to dress up than to dress down. I tell everyone to dress to impress.
7) Never guess: When assessing your skills, managers will typically start off with basic questions and as candidates get the answers correct they start asking harder and harder questions. Never, ever guess. If you don’t know something simply say that you don’t know but are willing to learn. When you start guessing it sets off major red flags. Managers will respect that you know your strengths as well as your limitations but that you always want to learn more.
8) No negativity: The kiss of death is being negative about any former employer, colleague, manager, etc. We’ve all been in difficult situations but practice with your recruiter, your spouse, or a friend on how to address those tough questions in a professional positive manner.
Now go out there and nail that interview!!
Kristin Lauderback is the Recruiting Director for the Modis Austin, TX office. She’s been with Modis for 8 years and you can connect with her on LinkedIn.