Take a Card During an interview, make sure you get a business card from the other person. This one little card will have a lot of the information you need to follow up after the meeting is over. You’ll know their first and last name for mailing Thank You notes and also have their title and email address if you want to contact them after the interview with pointed follow-up questions. After they leave, you can also write short notes on the back of the card to help you remember the topics you covered with them for later use.
Roll with Unconventional Questions Companies are increasingly asking strange questions during interviews to try and throw candidates out of their comfort zone and get a real idea of their thinking and personality. So if you’re interviewing for an insurance position and the interviewer asks, “If you could be any animal, what would it be?” they’re likely less concerned with the answer than they are how you react to the question. Don’t get flustered, think of an answer and give your reasoning behind it. Don’t respond by clarifying why they’re asking the question or give a one-word answer. Interviews are as much about how you’ll fit in with a team as they are about your technical skills, so let your personality come through to show you can roll with the punches.
Consider Treats instead of Thank You Cards After a round-table interview or a long day of meeting with multiple members of the team, consider having cookies, donuts or fruit delivered in lieu of mailing several Thank You cards. This will let the entire team see your gratitude and let you avoid trying to figure out whom to mail a card, especially if you didn’t catch everyone’s first and last name during a panel. Always be sure to send a more personalized note of appreciation to the hiring manger and your would-be supervisor, but don’t be afraid to round out the rest of the thanks with an office gift.
Travel with ‘Thank You’ Notes Going out of town for an interview? Whether you’re thinking of relocating or having a face-to-face for a remote opportunity, you should take a pack of Thank You notes with you for any out-of-town meeting. After your interview, sit down at a coffee shop and write your notes. Then, mail them out before you leave town. This will ensure that your follow-up gets to the interviewer much faster than if you waited until you got back home. Not only do you cut out the travel time, but local mail will also arrive much more quickly. Now you won’t have to worry about the company making a decision while your Thank You note is in the mail. Don’t forget the stamps!
Maximize your References If you have a contact at the company, don’t let them go to waste. In addition to asking them to put in a good word for you, ask them about aspects of the job that you can use to your advantage. Find out what the position needs, some critical attributes you should have, and how they think someone could improve the role. Then, during your interview, use that inside knowledge to really position yourself as a perfect fit for the opening. You never know what failed to come across clearly on a job posting, but by leveraging your references, you’ll know exactly what to highlight during the interviews.
Make an example When you’re talking about your strengths, experiences and hobbies, show examples of each point instead of just listing them and moving on. If you have exceptional attention to detail, give an example where that was an asset at your previous job. You’ll most likely be asked about your hobbies, but instead of just saying you like to read or go camping, talk about what book you’re loving right now or your last wild excursion. When you paint a picture during an interview, it’s more memorable and will stick with the person much better than listing bullet points.
Know your interviewer During an interview, you’ll have lots of questions about your specific role, the company, policies and a variety of other topics. Make sure you’re asking the right questions to the person you’re meeting with. If you’re talking to HR, that’s the time to bring up policy questions, company-specific inquiries and highlight your longevity and experience in past roles. When you’re talking to a would-be supervisor or colleague, bring up industry-specific topics and dig down into your specialized skills. That’s also the right time to ask about department workflow and where you fit in with the current team. By asking the right questions to the right people, you’ll not only get better answers, but will come across as better prepared and thoughtful during the interview.
Listen to understand, not to respond During your interview, it’s only natural to try and form responses or follow-up questions while your interviewer is talking to reduce the silences. Resist this urge and really focus on what the person across from you is saying. They’re asking a question for a very specific reason and will want a thoughtful answer that speaks to all parts of what was asked. By starting to formulate your response too early, you run the risk of missing crucial information or not hearing everything they want you to address. Taking a second after the question to collect your thoughts is much better than coming across as inattentive or unfocused.
Don’t start at the beginning During an interview, you’ll almost always be asked about your experience. It may seem tempting to start with your education and end with your latest and most relevant work. However, your interviewer might stop you at any time to ask for more details or to move to another question. This leaves you at risk of never getting to the experience you feel most qualifies you for the prospective position. Start from your most recent experience and work your way back. This will make sure the interviewer is fresh and attentive when you’re talking about your most relevant employment. You also won’t have to worry about spending too much time talking about an entry level role or internship and not leaving enough time for your latest experience.
Color yourself prepared When it’s time for a face-to-face interview, a few subtle notes can really enhance your professional attire. Wear light-colored, well-pressed clothes to make your outfit easier on your interviewer’s eyes. Also, try to avoid bright red as this can set off subconscious warning signs. Loud patterns, bright jewelry and eye-catching accessories also run the risk of diverting your interviewers attention onto what you’re wearing instead of what you’re saying. When it comes to an interview, you can’t go wrong with subtle pastels, black and browns. It may seem like a very small aspect of the interview, but you never want your appearance distracting from your experience.