Recently, the CEO of Impact Advisors and I were asked to assist two recent graduates with their resumes and to provide them with some up-to-date job seeking advice. I will fully admit that our CEO by far outshined me in the interview advice arena; and given it’s the season for interviewing again, I couldn’t think of a better way to begin the blogging year!
The content below was written by Andy Smith, CEO of Impact Advisors and is great advice for novice and veteran job seekers alike.
As for interviewing, here is a list of things I like. I can’t speak for everyone, and some of these are motherhood and apple pie, but I am always amazed when someone isn’t prepared:
- Arrive on time. A half hour early isn’t too early. Make it clear you are happy to wait for the interviewer.
- Dress professionally. This is not the time to try new fashion or anything risqué.
- Have a folio/pad of paper and copies of your resume and references (it always kills me when people don’t do this).
- Research the company and if possible, the person you are interviewing. Make sure the interviewer knows you did your homework. Mention something specific: the awards they have won, and interview or article they wrote, etc.
- Have a strong opinion as to why you want to work at the company. They will want to see some passion.
- Show confidence. Don’t be wishy washy. If you aren’t convinced you can add value, why would I hire you?
- Now is the time to brag about your accomplishments, humble is good but you definitely want to get the point across that you are fabulous. Provide specific examples.
- Have 3-5 questions prepared. These questions are important and should demonstrate your knowledge of the company and show your interest and intellect. I like strategic questions: “Tell me what the company will look like in 3-5 years? What are your key challenges? How do you see my skills fitting in? How can I be successful here?” More tactical questions are OK too depending on the interviewer (HR vs. management).
- Have an opinion on what you are worth and salary requirements. Offer the opinion if they ask.
- Flatter the interviewer. This always works, even when someone knows they are being flattered. Should be something meaningful: “your company is impressive. This interview process has been enjoyable. I have been impressed with your success in the market.”
- Follow up very quickly (within 24 hours) with an e-mail thanking the interviewer and mention something specific from the interview: “I really appreciated your dedication to the company and the vision for the future” and restate why you are a good fit. Nothing long, 2-3 paragraphs max. I like e-mails better than hand written notes because of the immediacy and I can attach the e-mail to the person. Hand written notes are great, but the delay isn’t in the candidates favor.”