Prepare for the Interview
- Be Prepared: Your recruiter will be the first and best resource to get a general understanding of the company and the job, as well as providing some inside knowledge about the company and the hiring manager. But, in addition to re-reading the job description thoroughly, go to the company website and learn as much as you can about them. Interviewers often assess your interest in their company by whether or not you even took the time to understand what they do. Google them and see who their customers and vendors might be. When reading the job description, take time to write out how you are qualified for each bullet point. Be prepared to talk about how you personally can fulfill the job requirements. The job description, your resume–it’s all open for discussion, so take time to draw lines between your experience and their requirements.
- Look Prepared: Beyond being prepared, it makes a huge difference to also look prepared. Prepare to dress professionally. You want them to remember your unique candidacy, not what you did or did not wear to the interview. Bring a professional binder with a notepad, or padfolio, along with a nice pen and several copies of your resume. All recruiters reformat resumes before sending them to their clients. Ask your recruiter for an Empower Associates copy that you can print out and bring several copies with you. If you bring work samples, make sure they are organized and easy to browse.
- Act Prepared: After the initial introductions and small talk and when you can tell that the interviewer is about ready to begin, engage them first. You might start with something like, “Thank you so much for your time today. I reviewed the job description and your company’s website and am excited to connect my experience with your requirements. Where would you like to begin?”
- Preparing for potential negatives & turning them into positives: You should know from your interview with your recruiter and the job description any potential negatives or specific experience you might not have. When this happens, instead of saying, “No, I haven’t used X software,” say, “I haven’t yet had the opportunity to use X software, but I have used systems/software which are really similar, such as ABC. Using ABC helped me achieve XYZ goal and if given the opportunity, I feel I would be able to pick it up rather quickly.” Take a few minutes to write down your answer ahead of time.
- Prepare good questions to ask: Always have at least one, if not a few questions to ask the interviewer. Since the beginning of time, at the end of every interview, interviewers all ask the same question: “Do you have any questions for me?” It can show lack of interest, preparation and skill to not have at least one question prepared. And, if they already answered your question during the interview, say “Oh, actually, you already answered the questions I had prepared, thank you.” Or, “Oh, actually, you already answered the questions I had prepared, but you made me think of another one…” Some general questions that would apply to most interview situations are:
- “What can you tell me about the culture of the team/department/organization.”
- “If I were to start today, what would be my most pressing task?”
- “Are there any other important responsibilities outside of the job description?”
- The 3-Part Close: After you have asked your final question(s), say the following: “Thank you again for your time. It looks you are looking for someone with A, B & C skills and experience. I not only have A, B & C experience, but also X, Y & Z. I feel I would be a great match for the position and I look forward to hearing feedback later from my recruiter.” This not only shows that you understand what they are looking for and that you feel you’re were a match, but it also shows your interest in the job without putting them on the spot by telling them you look forward to their thoughts later.