We recently sat down with a human resources director at a tech company in San Francisco to get practical interview tips to help you land your next dream job. Follow these tips and tactics and you may hear, “You’re hired!”
Your resume gets you through the door and your personality gets you hired.
It’s all about having the right “fit.” Hiring managers want to make sure that you fit with the company culture and the team that you’ll be working with. Show that you know what you’re talking about, but are also willing to learn. Most of all, let your personality show!
The HR director we interviewed exclaims: “I once hired an individual that didn’t have the right experience, but we gave a ‘courtesy interview’ because she came highly recommended by one of our internal managers. She didn’t have the qualifications we were looking for on paper, but she was able to show us during her interview that she had the aptitude and attitude to skill-up and learn, plus she was a cultural fit for our company. She ended up being one of the best hires we made that year and grew to a key role within her first year at the company.”
Prep, prep, and prep some more.
Determine the personality, core values, and energy of the hiring company. Research the company’s latest happenings and who makes up the leadership. This information can be found on most “About Us” sections on company websites. It also helps you determine if it’s the type of company you want to work for, and if it has the kind of leadership that’ll move the company forward.
Before your interview, check out the company building and come prepared. Is there parking in the area? Are you taking public transportation? How long does it take to get to there? Does the building have security that you need to check in with? If this info isn’t easily found, ask the employee who scheduled the interview.
The interview goes both ways.
As much as you’re being interviewed, you’re also interviewing the company. Bring questions about what you’re looking for in a company. For example, “What was the last success of the company?” or “What’s the vision of the company?” You can also ask about the hiring process and if you can provide any additional info that will help the hiring manager make a decision.
You should always go to an interview dressed to impress. Don’t wear clothing that’s revealing or inappropriate.
No matter how laid back the interview is, be on your best behavior. Try not to offend anyone, and always avoid harsh language. Mind your manners and know that you only have one chance to make a good first impression.
Old school tips (things you should know but it doesn’t hurt to review).
- Have a good handshake – Make sure not to crush someone’s hand, but also don’t shake like a wet fish.
- Bring a few hard copies of your resume and make sure to run it through a spell check.
- Try to be in the best of moods before the interview. Our HR expert suggests listening to you favorite band or podcast.
- “Be on time,” which in interview lingo means, arrive 15 minutes early. This is a good amount of time to get yourself into the building or settled. You’ll also have time to wash your hands or go to the restroom so that doesn’t interfere with the interview. If you happen to arrive well before the 15-minute mark, find a coffee shop to hangout in or wait in your car.
- If you’re going to be late, make sure to call and let the company know. Give them a time frame on when you will be able to make it or reschedule. A no-show will leave a lasting impression, and not in a good way.
- If they offer you something to drink, take it! Getting grilled can make you thirsty.
- Don’t use your phone or keep it out on the table. The interview isn’t going to be long enough to warrant that. If you need to keep it out for an emergency situation you should communicate that to the interviewer. Triple check that it’s off or on silent.
- Good eye contact: You don’t have to stare, but make sure you stay connected with the person you’re interviewing with and maintain good eye contact
- Skip the heavy cologne or perfume and make sure your odor isn’t overpowering.
- Ask for a business card if they don’t give one to you. This way you can send a thank you note, which is a must!
- Use your networks. If you know someone at the company or a friend-of-a-friend, reach out to them and try to get some insight on the company culture and/or position.
A little bit of prep and polish can take you a long way to landing your dream job. And, being prepared and ready for an interview helps alleviate nerves, total win!
Have any favorites to add to our list of interview tips? Share in the comments below!
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