So you have finally landed an interview! That's great news but, answer this are you nervous? If so, do you know why?
It's completely natural to have some interview day nerves but there are some things that you can do to prepare so that you can focus less on your nerves and more on the great things you want to share with your potential employer. While there are lots of things we can review we will start with the basics, Research, Locate, and Follow Up.
Make sure that you review the position you applied for. It never fails that you've been applying for so many positions you no longer remember the details of the role you applied for. You always want to make sure you know what you are getting into. As a great practice when you apply for a position save the job posting information somewhere that you can review later on. Some employers will remove the position from public view within a certain time frame so if you didn't save that information or have access to it some way you are SOL. Don't let that happen to you, do your research and review the information and make sure you can speak to how you feel your background and experience are the right fit.
Another great step to take is research of the company. Nothing thrills a potential employer more than an educated candidate. Has this employer recently been in the news for something great? Are they active in the community? Do you know who the current CEO is? Do you know what the company values? What made you apply to this company in the first place? (Other than the fact that you need a job). These are all good things to know to be able to speak intelligently about the organization and how you feel you'd be a great fit.
Are you direction challenged? Yes, we live in the days of good ole' GPS but has there ever been a time where you GPS landed you in an incorrect location? Do yourself a favor and scout out the interview location. This helps with nerves about running late or trying to figure out exactly where you should be. Maybe it's in a multi-level building, do you know floor you should be on? What's the suite number? What's the parking situation like? All the things that you can answer for yourself just by taking the time to travel to the location prior to your interview. Even if you can't go the day before the interview, give yourself enough time prior to the start of the interview to "get lost" so that even if you had to scramble a bit you still arrive on time and your potential employer would never know!
It never fails, you feel like you had an awesome interview and surely the next time your phone rings will be someone extending an offer to you. Unless you were someone's very last interview and they are prepared with the offer amount chances are you will have to play the waiting game. It's never surprising when I hear someone complaining about how they never heard back from an interview. On one hand that may very well be the case and to that you'll have to ask yourself is that a place you want to work at anyway. But for the most part, when I asked well did you follow up to see when you should hear back the answer 90% of the time is "No". This response always makes me wonder, why do we feel like we are so special that a potential employer will be chasing us down? Why do we expect follow up when we don't follow up ourselves?
If you feel like you've been left hanging here are some things you can do. #1 - Contact the individual that scheduled the interview. This could be a Recruiter, HR Assistant, Assistant to the Manager, or depending on the size of the organization the Hiring Manager themselves and thank them for their time and coordination of your interview (based on the audience), and then ask when you might receive follow up regarding any updates to your application status. This shows two things 1 - that you are considerate of the time/efforts someone spent in getting you scheduled for an interview and meeting with you in the first place, and 2 - that you are truly interested in the position and it's your top priority. As a Recruiter and someone who schedules hundreds of interviews I can count on 2 hands how many thank you emails I receive whether they were for me or the Hiring Manager/Team, yes it's truly that rare, so do yourself a favor and stand out!
#2 - Formally follow up with a thank you, yes you can initially do this by completing step 1 but let's face it you are really just trying to get the information you need. Try a genuine separate thank you to all those involved in the process and/or the hiring manager. This can be accomplished by emailing the individual that scheduled your interview and asking them to pass the information along. Do not take it as a personal attack if managers are not willing to share their contact information. Think about it, you've probably interviewed lots of people of the course of your career do you really want all of those people having direct access to you at all times? Now that you've thought about that let's continue. Another rare move would be physically mailing a thank you card. Now, this can be a game changer because let's face it, who mails anything anymore. Yes, there's a little upfront expense on your end but the impression that is left is one that will last long after. Even if you aren't the right fit within applicant pool for that position you never know what could be coming through the pipeline and who wouldn't remember that one great candidate that mailed us a thank you note.
This is a topic I could talk about forever and shameless plug I offer Interview Skills service calls for those that want to practice interviews, discuss the recruitment process, and just review best practices for interviews in general. I don't think anything should be a secret so I'm happy to provide my clients with the inside scoop to help through this sometimes crazy lengthy process. If you thought this blog had a lot of great information, wait until you schedule a call with me, I really nerd out about all things Recruitment & HR!