Interview Prep – What are Employers Seeing?

James Palmer James Palmer | Posted on August 22, 2019

The initial phone screening went great and now you’ve been invited to a second interview. You…are…on…a…roll!

Nailing this to get a third (and often final) interview takes work. The hiring manager generally decides if they are sending you through in the first 10 minutes. To stand out you need to be more polished and informed than the next candidate.

Before the Interview

RESEARCH! – An interview for a job requires at least a basic knowledge into the company’s business.

What to research before any interview:

  • The Job Description
  • Interviewer(s) LinkedIn
  • Company Website (all pages)
  • Social Media (for latest news)
  • Google News (for articles)
  • Investor or Media Pack
  • YouTube Videos
  • Executive Media Interviews

Make sure you have questions – They should be either prepared in advance or thoughts that have come up during the interview, it shows you are engaged in the process.

Be prepared to speak of the future of your industry and yourself – Don’t be caught off guard about questions of the future. It makes you look unprepared.

Dress toward the company’s executive staff – Candidates don’t get rejected for dressing nicely. First impressions are everything. Companies like Microsoft notoriously allow staff to wear whatever they want to work. However, I had a candidate in a similar situation who, having dressed well during the second interview, wore jeans and a Hawaiian shirt to the third interview and, needless to say, didn’t get the job.

Get a good night’s sleepLow energy candidates usually don’t get hired.

Arriving to the Interview

Arrive earlyPlan to get there 20-30 minutes early and wait until about 5-10 minutes before the interview to go in. Be aware that your interviewer or influencers could be anywhere around you.

Buy extra parking – This psychologically alleviates any anxiety and propensity to rush.

Phone off – Period.

Regard the Gatekeeper Introduce yourself, learn their name, and thank them, Dismissive behavior says a lot about a person.

Bring a notebook, write down names – Take notes, if only to remember the names and roles of the people you meet. Acknowledge them and address them by name on the way out. The notebook will be handy later.

Firm handshake with eye contact – This is true throughout the interview. Constant eye contact is a little much, but the eyes indicate whether you are engaged and listening.

Walk with confidenceOne of my clients would walk behind candidates to the interview space and observe their walking speed and posture, don’t scoff, assume the interviewer is evaluating everything.

During the Interview

Consider your speech – Instead of “yup,” “yeah,” “naw,” “nope”, consider using “yes” and “no.” Avoid using slang or overusing the word, “like,” unless it’s comparing the similarities between two things.

Posture and energy – Just imagine you’re sitting on a bench. This forward posture will help with energy.

Use observation to inform icebreakers – Small talk can be nice, it can help you connect. However, everyone knows weather exists, so look around the office for topics of conversation. Vacation photos, sports memorabilia, a family picture? Don’t push it, follow the interview’s lead if they want to just get down to business.

Listen instead of waiting to talk – Nervousness can cause people to talk too much. Listen to the question, make a one-word note about the core point (here is where the notebook is handy), answer the question, and offer a short pertinent example from your experience.

After the Interview

If they gave you their cards, send individual thank-yous. If you only have a single HR contact, ask that contact to “Kindly forward my sincere thanks for [name]’s time and consideration.”

Follow-ups - Don’t apologize or pester. A single short follow up one week after the interview is sufficient, thanking them for their consideration.

Congratulations on your new job!

Okay, nothing is set in stone, but you did what you could and you’ll get the next one because you’re awesome.