The Art of the Interview
The first interview with a prospective employer can be nerve-wracking. It's your chance to prove to the interviewer, and to the company, that you are a desirable, capable employee--someone that they want on their team, someone they want to see day-in and day-out at the office, someone they can entrust with important responsibilities essential for company success. At CFW, we are here to help prepare you for this task. Review the tips below to prepare for what to expect.
Before the Interview
- Read over the position description and the company website and LinkedIn. You should be able to clearly understand and explain the company's business, and be able to articulate why the position is aligned with your experience and goals.
- Find out who you will be meeting with and review the individual's LinkedIn profile. Take notes and come up with questions that relate to his/her career history.
- Review your goals/targets/achievements and ensure that your numbers add up. This is especially important for sales positions, as you will most likely be asked about your quotas, average deal size, sales cycles, and performance.
- Print out multiple copies of your resume ahead of time on nice, crisp paper and have them ready in a folder or briefcase, or any receptacle that prevents wrinkled edges.
- Dress professionally! This will demonstrate that you take the interview (and your career) seriously.
- Arrive early. Give yourself ample time for travel, and leave extra room for possible delays (subway delays, traffic, etc.). Google Maps is a powerful tool; use it!
- Turn off your cell phone and store it away. This may seem obvious, but you don't want to risk your phone going off (a call, a text, or even an alarm) when you're in the interview.
During the Interview
- Demonstrate active listening skills. Make eye contact, sit up straight, avoid fidgeting, and ask questions that demonstrate your involvement in the conversation: asking questions for clarification, reflecting on the conversation, and summarizing what has been said in your own words.
- It's important to build rapport with your interviewer. Present yourself as enthusiastic and interested in the opportunity, but remain professional (even if it's a casual office setting). People hire people they like!
- If they ask if you are exploring other positions, focus on the prospective employer's industry. Explain that you are seeking the type of position that you are interviewing for in that industry. Demonstrate that you are committed to the path you are applying for.
- When answering questions, be succinct. Before the interview you can practice potential responses, so that you don't end up long-winded in the interview.
- Do not ask about benefits--save that question for after they have extended an offer.
- If you are asked when you can start, be upfront and honest if you have any pending vacations/plans/etc
After the Interview
- Ask for business cards from everyone in the room. This is especially important so that you can follow up with thank you notes.
- Call us after your interview! Without your feedback it is harder for us to do our job--getting you a job!
- Write your thank you note(s) and ALWAYS have a second or third set of eyes review the note before sending. While hand-written thank you notes are gracious, it's important to send a follow-up to the interviewer within 24 hours, so stick to email--business moves fast! See our "Do's and Don'ts of Thank You Notes" for more tips.
CFW is here to help! We want to make sure that the interview process goes as smoothly as possible, and that you have the tools necessary to succeed. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out.