Our goal in this section is to help prepare you for the “What ifs” that can take place in a face-to-face interview. That’s because there are no two alike. You will be faced with multiple company cultures and hiring authority interview styles. You will probably have more than one face-to-face interview as part of the process. It is quite common for us to see 2 and 3 face-to-face interviews before a final offer is extended. We have broken this section down into 1st face-to-face, 2nd face-face and final interview. Please understand that we have seen all 3 interviews consolidated into one.
First Face-to- Face Interview
What should you expect and what is expected. Let’s first start with the what is expected of you part. The mistake a lot of candidates make is that they assume this is where the real process starts. In fact it has started well prior this stage. You have probably already been selected from a larger number of candidates and this is where critical selection begins. To be successful at this stage in the process you will have had to do your preparation first.
- Have you studying the company online? i.e company website, financial sites or linkedin?
- Do you have 3 copies of your resume?
- Are you dressed for success?
- Do you have a business plan?
- Have you studied behavioral questions you might be asked? Have you studied scenario question you might be asked? Have you studied asking the right questions?
You should never assume that this stage is just to see if want to work for the company or not. Even if you haven’t made that decision yet you should still prepare as if you had. Why? Because it may be your dream job and the candidate that prepared just beat out!
Now that you have prepared here is are the 2 general ways we see first interviews start.
- The hiring manager starts with ” Let me tell you about the company”
- The hiring manager starts with “Please tell me about yourself” or “Walk me through your resume” or “What have you done to prepare for today’s interview”
In the first scenario the hiring manager will generally be selling you on the company. The manager may talk about the company culture, business plans, product, market share or expectations of the company. The key here is listen and ask appropriate questions if given the chance.
Now it is your turn, but be prepared for this step to come first in the interview. When answering “Please tell me about yourself” or “Walk me through your resume” or “What have you done to prepare for today’s interview” here are some suggestions:
“Please tell me about yourself” or ” Walk me through your resume” can be answered generally in the same way. Start with your college experience and why you went where you did. You are then going to briefly describe your positions since college chronologically to present. The most important part is telling about your transitions from position to position. Make sure the transition sounds positive with an upward progression to where you are. You may have gone to a company for more opportunity, money, etc. If the transition might sound negative i.e. you were fired, laid off or downsized make sure to put a positive spin on it. i.e “here is what I learned from the experience and how I bettered myself because of it”. Avoid speaking negatively of any previous companies. You need to be able to do this without looking at your resume. You should be keeping good eye contact with the hiring manager at all times.
The progression of the interview usually trend to a set of behavioral questions or in some cases scenario questions The hiring manager generally asks if there are any additional questions , followed by the close of the interview. Generally this process takes place in a time-frame of 45-90 minutes.
What the manager is looking for:
- your ability to clearly and concisely present
- your ability to answer behavioral questions or scenario questions without rambling
- your dress, body language, demeanor and energy level
Primarily the manager want to know what makes you tick. Don’t be afraid to share things that are not obvious in your resume or standard questioning. What drives you? What are your short and long term goals? What are your passions in life? What do you do for fun?
Here are some additional pitfalls to avoid:
- looking at your resume while talking about it
- talking about compensation before the hiring manager does not maintaining a constant energy level throughout the interview i.e. starting nervously and talking fast and then calming down.
- matching the hiring manager posture and energy level. i.e. if the manager slouches don’t do the same
- being to monotone or not showing energy
- not asking for the job or closing using to many ‘you knows” , “basicallys” and “to be honests” in your vocabulary
- not sitting on the edge of your chair
The final thought to keep in mind while interviewing
We would like you to put yourself in the manager’s position. What would you be looking for? Some of those things might be:
- How fast can this candidate hit the ground running?
- Can I present him to my manager?
- How soon can they ad to my bottom line?
- Will this person be a project or will they be self managed?
- How manageable is this candidate?
- Will they make me look good?
- How will they fit in with the rest of my team?
- Are they here for the long term?