1. Research and Preparation – really, don’t wing it. Just because a friend works there and you think you know enough about the company, doesn’t count as research. Read the website. Read all of the latest news. Understand what they do. It’s not hard! Not doing the research is a total turn-off and shows an utter lack of respect for the person who is meeting you.
2. Know exactly where you are going because – If you are early, you’re on-time. If you are on-time, you’re late, AND If you are late, You are NOT hired!!! Traffic doesn’t cut it. There isn’t any excuse for getting lost (can you say GPS?). If you are flying in and they booked your travel giving you just enough time but your flight was delayed, ok, call and let them know. But really, there are very few valid excuses.
3. Dress. We get this question all the time. And, the answer is not as simple as it used to be. The pendulum goes back and forth. It helps to know something about the dress style of the company and dress a bit nicer. A suit is almost always acceptable. A suit for a guy without the tie is good for a nicer business casual atmosphere. In very casual companies, you’ll want to dress casually. We recommend a nice pair of jeans and a nice collared shirt. In a very casual company, we still have some basic ground rules: no shorts, no flip flops.
4. Bring extra copies of your resume. You are making the job of the interviewer easier.
5. The first 30 seconds are critical. Smile, look your interviewer in the eye, have a warm, friendly, firm handshake. The limp handshake is a total turn off. If you are not sure about your handshake, practice with a friend who will be honest with you.
6. Based on your research, you need to have some good questions prepared. Demonstrate your curiosity and prove you did your homework. What tidbits did you pick up from your research? Recent acquisition, new product…
7. If you are doing several interviews in one trip and you feel your energy waning, ask for a 5 minute break and get something to drink. No one will take this as a negative. And, if they do, that’s a big red flag for you.
8. Some interviewers might not be as experienced at interviewing. Don’t be put off. Don’t get critical and start feeling offended. Just gently take some control. Start asking more questions. Have that person tell you about themselves, get them engaged. Maybe they are as nervous as you are. Have some empathy. It’s a major turn off when I talk to a candidate who feels that they are somehow superior to the interviewer.
9. Thank you notes. YES. It’s a simple way to stand out. An email is perfectly sufficient. Handwritten is a nice touch but often, there isn’t time.
10. Follow-up. YES. Don’t be a stalker and call every day. If you haven’t heard back after your prompt (same day) thank you note within 48 hours, call the hiring manager or recruiter to follow-up. If there isn’t a decision, ask that person when you should follow-up again just in case you haven’t heard. You have just gotten permission. Then, put it on your calendar. No news is not necessarily bad news despite what you are thinking. Patient persistence can