03 June 2016
Congratulations, you’ve made it through the initial screening process to an in-person interview! Now, you need to turn your attention to securing an offer, and to do this, impressing the hiring manager is key. It’s almost impossible to make it to the next step of the process if you aren’t prepared, so it’s important to know how to lay the groundwork for a successful meeting. To make sure you have the best chance of securing the job offer, here are nine steps you should add to your checklist: Research the company While this may seem like an obvious first step, there’s more to do than just check out the company’s website. Take it a step further by searching for latest company news, reading online reviews, and perusing social media profiles to give you a well-rounded view of the organization. Not only will you get a better feel for their reputation and current portfolio of work, but you’ll also have a better sense of your level of interest in the position. Look up key employees on LinkedIn Most of the time, you’ll have an idea of whom you’ll be meeting with from the company. If you have their name, or even their title, find them on LinkedIn to get to know more about them and their work history. If you have an interest or connection in common, you can leverage it to leave a more lasting impression on the interviewer. Think about the questions you’d like to ask At the end of the interview, you’ll get an opportunity to ask a few questions. To avoid missing a chance to gain more insight into the company, jot down questions that come to mind as you’re conducting your research. This could range from specific questions about the positon you’re interviewing for to recent company news. Prepare answers This doesn’t mean you should prepare an hour of talking points, but rather that you should have explanations ready for some anticipated questions. For example, many interviewers will start the meeting with, “Tell me about yourself.” If you don’t have a cohesive answer that flows well for a basic question such as this, your lack of ability to articulate who you are professionally could leave the interviewer questioning your communication or presentation skills. Print copies of your resume While most interviewers will print out your resume, you should always have at least three copies ready, just in case. This could mean that they simply didn’t get a chance to print a copy, or perhaps they would like for you to meet with other team members. Additionally, you can offer a copy as soon as you walk into the room, which will let them know that you came prepared either way. Confirm the time and place Double check the details of your meeting beforehand, and sort out any issues you may encounter. For example, there could be parking instructions or reception instructions to follow. Make sure that you’re clear on the directions given to you, as a simple gaffe could raise some red flags about your attention to detail. Plan your route If you’re not familiar with the area, it may be best to pay a visit before the interview. Not only will this allow you to get accustomed to your surroundings, but it will also allow you to plan your travel time to and from the interview location. Use a traffic estimator to assess how early you’ll need to leave in order to make it on time, and be sure to add a buffer of about 15 minutes in case there are any unexpected delays. Arrive 15 minutes early In addition to planning for an unanticipated setback, you should plan to arrive earlier than scheduled. This shows the employer that you respect their time, while giving yourself an extra moment to collect your thoughts. Be polite to security and reception Before you make it into the room, you may need to interact with other office personnel. Be sure that you’re kind and courteous to these people, as word can spread quickly if you act in an unfriendly manner. Always remember that employers are also looking for a good cultural fit, and a negative attitude is best checked at the door.