Successfully Navigating The Interview Process
Congratulations! Your Account Executive just called to arrange an interview with a
company that sounds perfect. Now what?
Interviews can be very stressful. It is not uncommon to feel as if your entire future is
riding on the outcome. Fortunately, AppleOne has systems in place that will help
you sail through the interview process with flying colors.
Get All The Information
When your Account Executive calls to schedule an interview, make sure you have all
the information you need before hanging up the phone. If you don't have a pen and
paper handy, get them. Don't trust yourself to remember all the information your AE
will give you.
Be certain you know who you will be meeting and when you will be meeting with
them. Your AE will also provide you with detailed driving directions. This is crucial,
so if something doesn't seem clear, stop and ask them to explain it to you better.
Many AE's will schedule a short prep session just prior to your interview. During
this constructive period, the AE will help you focus on what is important to your
potential new employer. This can be an incredibly valuable time. It's almost like
having the answers to a test in advance, so be sure to request this strategy time if
your AE forgets to mention it.
Dress The Part
Now that you know where you're going, it's time to decide what to wear. Make this
decision before the big day. It leaves one less thing for you to worry about on the
day of the interview, and it gives you time to improvise if your first choice is at the
cleaners. Always remember that people are judged by the clothes they wear. Select
clothing that projects an image that is professional and appropriate to your job. If
you are at all uncertain, ask your Account Executive. You might even want to take a
couple of possibilities with you to your prep session (remember to tell your AE in
advance and allow extra time if you plan to do this).
Scout The Location In Advance
If time allows, it can be very helpful to drive to the location the night before. This
ensures that you will be able to easily find the location the next day. There's nothing
worse than trying to go into an interview still worked up because you were lost or
feared that you would be late. If you can't manage to drive by the night before, at
least allow yourself a 15 minute cushion before the time you have to be there. Even if
you have driven past the night before, this cushion is a good chance to collect your
thoughts and transition into interview mode.
Plan Your Agenda
Interviews are a two-way process. Even though the interviewer sets the tone, you
should know in advance what you would like to communicate. If you haven't already,
make a list of your accomplishments. Put these into the context of concrete examples
as much as possible. For instance "I'm very organized" is not nearly as effective as "I
established a new tracking system for my previous employer that raised productivity
With your list of accomplishments in mind, determine which accomplishments would
be most valuable to the interviewer. Your AE knows exactly what the company is
looking for and will be able to help you pick your 3 biggest selling points. These are
what you want to stress whenever possible. Just don't be a robot. Keep your ears
open for cues that they would value some of your other accomplishments and drop
these in where appropriate.
Make Your Nerves A Plus
Don't worry if you are nervous before an interview. Even the most experienced actors
suffer stage fright before going on each night. Once you get in there, your nerves
will probably disappear. Go ahead and use your extra 15 minutes in the car to relax a
little. Mentally go over what you want to get across. Picture yourself having a great
interview. When you're ready, take several slow, deep breaths. Feel yourself relax.
Put on your biggest smile, and go have the best interview of your life.
I just got back from a great seminar on Navigating the Hiring Process. The two ideas that I thought were good advice for any applicant were first to look on the social media webpages as a form of interactive researching up on the company and after the interview walking in a personal hand written thank you note. Great stuff!
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