Let’s face it nobody really likes going on interviews and if any of us had the chance to avoid them I'm sure we would.
While interviewing seems straightforward in theory, in truth, it’s an art form. The nuances involved in a good interview have the same degree of separation as the color salmon has from the color pink. Translation, they’re easy to miss. Having just gone through a series of interviews for summer internship positions, we noticed the devil is definitely in the details. Keeping these simple tips in mind on your next go round can be the difference between hired or fired.
Arrive early, but not that early
An interview is kind of like a first date. You should be early but you wouldn't stand at the front of a person's home for twenty minutes watching them get ready. That's a no go for dating and that's basically what it's like to show up to an interview 20 to 30 minutes earlier than your appointment. Plan to arrive between 5 to 10 minutes prior to your interview. If you’re in the area earlier (which you should be cause nothing is worse than running late) wait before going in. Arriving too early can place pressure on a hiring manager who might not yet be ready for you. It's never a good idea to put the person interviewing you in a weird head space before they've even asked you any questions.
Always bring a copy of your resume with you!
So simple yet over 85% of candidates we met with failed to bring a copy of their resume with them. Why should it matter when they’ve reviewed your credentials beforehand? Whether they didn’t have a chance to print out your resume or you’re asked to meet with other members of the team, showing that you’re prepared is always a good look. A resume gives interviewers an easy point of reference to get the conversation going and gives you the chance to call out specific experiences and selling points in a natural way.
Do your homework
Nothing irks me more than a candidate who hasn’t done their homework. I once interviewed someone who told me they blindly applied for the position without looking at our website: do you even know what we do? Having knowledge of the company not only shows that you came prepared, it also gives you the opportunity to talk about things that your interviewer can relate too. Not too mention you’ll look like a star for being able to reference company specifics.
Design your resume
I know what you’re thinking. This comment should only apply to designers and creatives. Not true. Your resume should be easy to read, succinct, cleaned up and well organized. Your resume is your first impression and like a good outfit it should be cut to not only fit you but the job you're applying for. And if hey if you want to throw some extra flare in, why not (but don't go crazy).
I've had great interviews with candidates who, when all is said and done, had nothing to ask me. Their reply: "I don't have any questions. You covered everything I was going to ask." How incredibly disappointing, nothing screams amateur hour like saying you have zero questions. Asking questions shows you’re engaged and involved in your interview. It makes it more of a conversation and less of an awkward interrogation.
Say "thank you"
Call me old school but following your interview up with a thank you note is a sure way to set yourself apart. Handwritten? Even better. Sending a thank you note reinforces your enthusiasm and the efforts you’re willing to go to to land the job. If you’re the only one out of a pool of candidates to follow up with a thank you, you’ll be sure to stand out. Think of it as the cherry on top.
I’m sure you’ve heard some combination of these tips in your lifetime, so why do they matter? Shouldn’t you focus on the big picture and polish up your speaking abilities? Yes, you should. But you’d be surprised at how many people sacrifice these smaller details. You should have the big picture in mind but these can be the deciding factor when it’s down to the wire between candidates.