Prepare for the Interview in 3 Stages

Posted October 09, 2014 by
Young businesswoman shaking hand of male candidate during job interview

Young businesswoman shaking hand of male candidate during job interview. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Congratulations on landing a job interview!  Now, it is time to prepare for the big meeting.  Remember, this is your opportunity to make a great impression as a candidate, which could potentially lead to getting hired.  The more prepared you are for your interview, the more confident you will be.  Michelle Joseph, a talent acquisition expert and CEO of PeopleFoundry says, “It’s so important for job seekers to understand the people they want to work for. With the job market being so competitive, it is no longer enough to have a good attitude and strong resume, you need to be able to fit seamlessly into a company’s culture.”  She discusses preparing for the interview in three stages in the following post.

Stage One: Initial Outreach

Companies want to hire someone who meshes with their culture as much as they want somebody who is qualified to work there. Take time to research your prospective company and know them from the ground up. That includes their recent awards and marquee achievements, news and articles about the company, unfolding events in the industry – anything that clues you in on their culture. The more you know about them, the more they will want to know about you.

Before you begin your initial outreach, reflect on what you have learned about the company and apply it to your own experience. Articulate how your skills will transfer into the desired position and how your personality will plug into their culture. Companies can receive more than 100 resumes per day, so they will be looking for someone who has made a unique and strong effort to understand their company.

Stage Two: Phone Interview

A phone interview is the first chance to make an impression on your potential employer. This is the first time they will experience who you really are. If you took time to research your potential employer, the content of your conversation will come easily. Then, you can focus on other important factors like etiquette, voice and energy.

Set aside time before your call to ensure that you have a quiet and secluded place to talk. Try and take care of anything that might surprise you or interrupt the interview. When it is time to answer the phone, answer with your name and warmly greet your interviewer when they reveal who is calling. Avoid the urge to pace back and forth as it can muddle up your thoughts and manufacture a nervous energy.

Expert Tip: Although they will not see you, getting dressed can increase your feeling of professionalism and confidence.

Stage Three: In-Person Interview

Your outreach caught their eye. You charmed them over the phone. Now they have invited you to stop by the office for the in-person interview. By now, you should have a pretty good idea of their culture and what would be appropriate to wear to the interview. Get all of your materials ready the day before to avoid any debacles in the morning. That means putting together an outfit, printing out resumes and portfolio items, knowing how to get to the interview and getting to bed on time. On the morning of the interview, make sure you allow yourself enough time to arrive at least 20 minutes early.

The actual interview will be an extension of the phone interview, except this time they get to fully experience you. That means you will have to mind your physicality; keep your posture straight, limbs still, expression pleasant and your handshake firm. Remember, your preparedness for the interview will heavily affect your mannerisms and even the energy you give off. If you know your stuff, your body will follow suit. Be sure to thank them for taking time out of their day to meet with you and considering you for the position. Within the next 24 hours, send either an email or card thanking them again.

About Michelle Joseph:

Michelle is the Founder and CEO of PeopleFoundry Inc. She is an expert in Human Resources and talent acquisition.  Michelle works with Chicago growth companies to build top-tier teams by forming partnerships to find the best people the businesses seek. Michelle has a strong voice in the local tech space, regularly speaking at engagements and presentations at 1871. Click this link to learn more about Michelle in an interview with Bootstrapping America.

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