RSG’s Declassified Interview Survival Guide
In a world school full of corporate bullies, insane recruiters, and gross vending machine lunches; RSG (that’s us) try to do the impossible: create a guide that will help you survive your interviews.
Before your interview, you’re going to want to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row. The best way to do this is to create a checklist… Physically, not mentally. Get a pen and a paper like its 1995 and write out a list of things you need to do to prepare.
- Copies of resumes/references/cover letters
- Pack notepads and 3 pens (ya know, just in case)
- Prepare 3 questions to ask about the position (write them on your notepad)
- Prepare 3 selling points—What do you want the interviewer to know (write them down)
- Do your research: Linkedin– Look up everyone on Linkedin, find something that you have in common with them and make yourself relatable. Glassdoor– What is the company culture like? This will help you get dressed for the interview. A good rule to follow is to match and one up. If they wear jeans and polos, wear business casual. If they wear business casual, wear a dress shirt. If they wear dress shirts, wear a tie and so on.
Once you have all of these checked off your list you’re ready to move on to the interview.
In our last blog “Crushing Your Preliminary Phone Screen Interview” we talked about answering questions using the ‘5 W’s’ approach. Use this in the in-person interview to answer each inquiry thoroughly. If you are unsure of how to answer tough interview questions, be sure to check out one of our other blogs “Cliché Interview Questions and How to Answer Them”.
Don’t get caught off guard! Make sure you have your 3 questions, 3 selling points written on your notepad and have your resume in front of you to reference. In the lower left-hand corner of your notebook draw a little smiley face. (: This will remind you to smile. Often times, in interviews it is so easy to concentrate on what the other person is saying or to get inside your own head and start over thinking. When you smile it lets the interviewer know that you’re confident and capable of handling the pressure.
Also, you should get the emails of everyone you come in contact with. These might come in handy after the interview. But try to be discrete, you might have to do sleuthing or detective work.
CLOSE THE DEAL- After the interview, you are going to stand up and shake hands with the interviewer and they’re going to say something to the effect of “I really appreciate you coming in today. I’ll walk you out. Before I let you go do you have any questions for me?”. This is the perfect time to redeem any faults in real time.
When you leave the interview, the hiring manager will review your answers and dissect your strengths and weaknesses. If you have years of experience in, let’s say, Widgets, but it never came up in the interview because the conversation got sidetracked or because there were some other big ticket items… You’re doomed. Why? If you don’t talk about it, the interviewer will automatically write you off and assume you don’t have experience with widgets and move on to the next candidate. It won’t matter if you have ~WIDGET~ plastered all over your resume, or if you just spent the last decade of your life as the ‘Head of Widgets’ for Widgets R Us, or even that you are interviewing for the Widget specialist position.
Impressions are like cement. Make sure you take care to leave it in the best shape possible before allowing it to dry. So, how can you avoid this tragedy? Before you leave, simply say:
“First, I’d like to thank you for your time today. I certainly did my homework on your company. Between gathering my own information, meeting with you, & speaking with your team I believe I have a firm grasp on your organization & the position. I understand the specifics of this role & believe I’m a great fit for XYZ Inc., professionally as well as culturally. I am clearly interested in this opportunity. Having said that, my question is as to whether you have any concerns regarding my experience or work-specific history? Is there anything we failed to discuss that might play a role in making your final decision? Are there any answers I gave that you’d like me to elaborate on further?”
Send a thank you note— Birthdays, graduations, weddings and careers are all huge events that happen in your lifetime. And they all deserve a thank you note!
Whether you’re serious about the position or not. Someone hand-picked you and took time out of their day to talk to you. Sending a quick note to thank them for their time will give you a competitive edge among other candidates who failed to do so. In this note, you can take the opportunity to remind the hiring manager why you are the best fit for the position. Plus, it’s just common decency.