Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
Dear Coach Joan,
I will finally be having an in-person interview at the company I have wanted to work at for a long time.
Naturally, I want to make a great impression and although I’ve done some research and planning, I’d like to
know some best strategies for making a great impression. This opportunity means a lot to me.
Appreciate your ideas.
Congratulations getting to the in-person interview at your desired company! It is not always easy getting past the phone interview, which is the hurdle that most have to overcome before earning the prize of a face-to-face meeting. As I always say to my clients: READINESS + OPPORTUNITY = SUCCESS.
So let’s look at how you can prepare to make a positive impression from the interviewer’s perspective. He or she is the one that will give you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. What are they going to be looking for?
- FRIENDLY AND APPROPRIATE: Research shows that the first thing an interviewer is assessing is a deep sense of whether they want to move toward you or away from you; whether they feel positive or negative about you. And that translates into looking professional, well-groomed, looking them in the eye, having a friendly and open way of relating, and coming across as confident, but not arrogant. Approach the interviewer with a firm/moderate handshake and sincere smile. I’ve advised clients to drive into the parking lot of the company when it’s end of day and observe how the employees look and dress. Then dress to fit in or a bit more dressy to show respect.
- PREPARATION: Have a copy of your resume in hand, do not assume they’ve seen it or have a copy. This shows consideration. Do your research and have some good questions to ask about the position and the company. Also prepare some comments about the company and why you are attracted to join them. Make sure to use the name of the company/organization as it is respectful. Listen carefully to their questions and let them take the lead but if you can, ask if there might be time for you to ask some questions. Show that you have an understanding of their place in the market and their key competitors.
- HAVE AN AGENDA OF 3 WAYS YOU FIT THE JOB: Read the job description very carefully and prepare your three top reasons for being an excellent fit. Have examples to support each of your claims. Show enthusiasm for the skills you bring to the job and ways you will have a significant impact on the job and on the company.
- THE BONUS!! Prepare to talk about how you are a lifelong learner and specific ways you are involved in growing and developing your knowledge and skills in areas that relate to the position and or the company. This is a very impressive strategy and one that I’ve seen work time and again in differentiating you as a candidate. If you can also show ways you demonstrate leadership in your field, from professional organization activities to leading seminars or publishing papers, that is also a way to impress your interviewer.Naturally, you will follow up with a thank you note that includes your appreciation for the meeting and reiterates the key ways you fit the position well. Additionally, if there were topics you discussed that you can follow up on, include relevant articles, facts or ideas. Matt, onward to making a great impression at your interview! All of your preparation will pay off as well begun is half done! All the best, Coach Joan