I’ve been in the HR field twen—let’s just say long enough — and yet I’m still baffled by the number of candidates who get to the in-person interview and don’t prepare. Following these 4 steps in preparation for your interview will ensure you stand out among other applicants.
1. Be confident.
Come in with a clear understanding of the role and be prepared to illustrate why you’re a match.
This is more than just reiterating what’s on your resume and refreshing your memory of the job description. Remember, there’s a reason why you’ve made it to that point in the interview process, so be confident. The in-person interview is your opportunity to share not only where you’ve been, but where you’re going and how you plan to make contributions to the team on your journey. Tell a story that can’t be told via bullet points on your resume. Have stories ready about a time when you’ve done XYZ, knowing that it’s a qualification on the job description
2. Google it.
Don’t ask anything of your prospective employer that you could have easily found through search and a few keywords.
Please Google the company you’re interviewing for, their history and know the key players (Hint: Linkedin is a good place for this). Through your research you should be able to point out key elements that attracted you to the company and be able to offer your expertise and ideas on how to improve the company. By showing you’ve done your due diligence you’re relaying to the person who is interviewing you that you’re checking them out just as much as they’re checking you out.
3. Have some questions ready!
This is a given. Don’t just ask questions for the sake of asking. Remember that tip above about research, when you’re doing that pre-interview prep, jot down a few questions about a campaign you’d like to learn more about or what the day-in-the-life is like of someone with this job role. It will give you better insight if you’ll be a great fit and it will impress the recruiter or whomever is interviewing you that you did your homework. Win-Win.
4. Grab business cards before you depart.
In your prep notes, be sure to remind yourself to ask for the interviewer’s business card before you leave. Write a follow up thank you note after the interview because it’s the little things that go a long way. After an interview, a Thank You note or email is a great way to show you’re professional and appreciate the opportunity. Either format is fine, but with how fast the hiring process seems to go these days email is your best bet to get a response. The thank you note should have an element of “next steps” phrasing so the interviewer knows to get back to you. A week after the interview and you still haven’t heard back? Sending an inquisitive email is fine, but typically phone calls are viewed as bothersome for many recruiters or HR professionals. After that, practice patience.
Depending on how many candidates are being interviewed, remember that just the interview process can take up to two weeks due to busy schedules of the interviewer. From there the HR professional is going to have to meet with hiring managers to solicit feedback before being given direction of which candidates will advance to the second round. Recruiting is one part of HR’s role, so patience is important and not always a bad sign. How do you prep for an interview?