You got called for an interview!
That, in itself, is fantastic news. Clearly, your resume articulated how your skills and background could potentially make you the best candidate for the job. You made it to the Short List. On paper, at least, you look reasonably good to the recruiter or hiring manager. Maybe you are The One who solves the employer’s problem, which is: I need a great person to do [fill in the blank]. You’re going to crush your job interview! So, you don your interview suit, ramp up your grooming, bring hard copy of your resume and arrive on time. You smile. You swallow your nervousness. You appear confident.
You never hear from them again.
Do You Know How to Interview for a Job?
What did you do wrong?
You Came Prepared to Talk Only About Yourself And, of course, you need to. The interviewer needs to learn a lot about you – not just your skills and background, but your personality, your motivation – are you a good cultural fit? And one of the most important things that the interviewer wants to discover is your level of interest in the company and how you see yourself contributing.
“How can I possibly know that ahead of time?” you plead. By having done some serious homework on the company before the interview. Go online and read everything you can find. Press releases on the company’s website will tell you what is going on there. Scour the annual report. News articles about the company that reveal new products, new initiatives, new….well, new anything. Know the company’s history. Its global reach. Know who the top people are.
And for every question you answer about yourself, tie in this knowledge with how you can contribute.
You Gave the Wrong Answer to “Do you have any questions for us?” The right question(s) spring from what you learned in the section above. “Since expansion into APAC is a top priority for the Company, what impact would my role have on it?” That’s the sort of question you should have asked. If you asked about salary or benefits, you so totally blew it.
This first interview is about convincing the interviewer that hiring you is the best decision he or she has made all year. It is not for you to debate the merits of them as an employer. Not yet. Negotiations don’t begin until someone offers you a job.
You didn’t realize that you were getting ready for a date Come on – admit it. You Google every date you go out on. You check out where that person went to school, see if he or she also loves marathon running or playing Words with Friends, and maybe who you know in common. So why wouldn’t you do that before you meet with the very person who may hold your professional life in his or her hands?
I’m not recommending that you cyber-stalk the person. Just be able to drop a few informed lines while you’re chatting. “I’ve read that you once worked at Tesco – were you involved in their expansion throughout EMEA?” or “So, you were a Gator! My brother went to U Florida as well. Great football!”
You forgot to send a follow up email The interview went well, so keep the momentum going. Don’t let 24 hours go by without sending a short email thanking the person for detailing the company’s expectations. Reiterate the points you made about why you can fulfill those expectations. Reference something in the conversation that confirmed your specific ability to address their need. Just be brief.
You called or emailed too frequently Before you leave the interview, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask what the company’s timeframe is. You’ll probably be told that they still have candidates to interview, and then the stakeholders need to gather to discuss. That can take time. Let 10 business days go by after sending your interview follow up email. If you haven’t heard anything, a short email asking for an update is ok. You may not get an answer. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you are out of consideration; it could, but it could also mean that the interviewer has other things going on. Never phone – that’s intrusive and annoying. If you don’t hear back from the second email, move on.
5 Ways to Crush Your Job Interview
- Come prepared
- Ask questions that show that you see yourself in the job
- Recognize that the job interview is like a first date
- Send a follow-up email that reiterates points made during the interview
- Ask for next steps
Want one-on-one preparation to help you crush your job interview? Let’s talk!