Interviewing for a new position at a new company can be a daunting experience, no matter what your experience level. After all, it’s in the interview stage when a company decides whether or not you’re a good fit, and vice versa. If you really want the job (and want the job to want you, too), there are a number of details that can make the difference between employment and unemployment.
I was recently hired at Pacesetter, and their interview process was one of the more thorough and personal I’ve gone through. In fact, CEO Aviva Leebow Wolmer has written about this process here.
As an interviewee that wants to excel, what should you do? From someone who has been there, here are a few pointers that could help you land the position you seek.
Look the part
They say “dress for the job you want” and though this may seem like shallow advice, it matters… because, as they also say, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Being clean, professional, and authentic is the best way to express who you are while also conveying that you care about how you are perceived by others.
Remember, depending on the job, the dress code may vary. Erring on the side of professionalism is always a good thing, but if you’re interviewing for a startup that you know has a casual culture, you should probably opt for something more easygoing than a full suit.
Think outside the box
Doing research on your company, its leadership and reputation are basic musts for every job-seeker. But you can and should do more than the bare minimum, and expect to be challenged during the interview. Remember, interviews aren’t quizzes with right and wrong answers — they are opportunities to delve into your qualifications and the company’s expectations. Be prepared to think on your feet to answer unusual or creative questions, because you never know what will be thrown your way.
Allowing yourself to think outside the box means staying confident and good natured instead of letting stress get the better of you. If you are relaxed and amiable, that’s the first step to being able.
Come prepared with questions
While you should try to impress your potential employer, remember that they have to impress you, too. A good fit must go both ways, so come prepared to interview them as well. Do they have the benefits and the salary you require? What is the culture like? If you have a great idea of your own needs, you’ll be able to tailor your questions to fill any gaps the initial interview doesn’t cover.
It’s not a bad to get creative here either; if the interviewer challenged you, it’s fine to do the same. This will also give the interviewer an idea of how you will be as an associate — curiosity is a great trait to convey in this critical stage.
Lastly, after you’ve made your impression, showed off your skills, and learned everything you need to know about the position, don’t forget to follow up! Send an email out thanking each of your interviewers for taking the time to speak with you, reiterating your hopes for the outcome, and putting the ball back in their court. This will almost certainly give you an edge over other candidates who fail to do the same.
I sincerely hope that by heeding these details, you have the confidence and knowledge to secure the position you want.