tcp | ingredients to improve your interview

However you became aware of a particular opportunity, whether it be through a job site, career fair or a hook-up; you have taken the necessary steps to customizing your resume and expressing interest in a particular role. The organization then contacts you with the wonderful news that they are interested in learning more about you and how you could possibly contribute to their workforce. In other words, they want to interview you. Usually this laborious vetting process takes place over a few days meeting with a multitude of strangers who probably know nothing about you except for what you indicated on your resume. Most interviews start with an initial phone screen [another term would be phone interview] by a recruiter tasked with making sure you fit the criteria of the job description coupled with how well you communicate your skill-set and overall enthusiasm for the role. They are listening to not only what you say, but how you say it. Please do not underestimate the importance of this step. The recruiter is somewhat of a gatekeeper in this regard and usually has a lot of influence regarding if you make it to the next step in the interview process. Once you successfully complete your phone screen (and we know you will - why? - because you read this blog and subscribed to our site!) you will typically move into a second round of interviews with the team that works with the hiring manager. Usually two or three of her/his direct reports that know the intimate details of the job function and the right person they need to acquire the position. The interview thereafter is usually with the hiring manager who has the final and ultimate say as to whether or not you will receive an offer. 

The interview process can be somewhat grueling leaving you to wonder "why on earth do I need to meet with all these people - I didn't apply to be CEO!" The truth of the matter is, many organizations truly feel this interviewing strategy allows them to thoroughly vet each candidate for a myriad of reasons - one being the retention of qualified associates which keeps expenses at a minimum (high turnover is the enemy of anyone trying to run a successful business).

There is a lot of planning and thoughtful preperation that should be exercised when navigating through the interview process. We highlighted some key ingredients you might want to consider when interviewing.   

i. research

It should go without saying that you should be aware of the mission and vision of the organization. It is also important to note, you should know the correct name and pronunciation of the company. Be keenly aware of how the role fits in with the organizational structure of the company and how it plays a part in the overall mission/vision. This will allow you to articulate what value you can add to the team and overall organization. Become a quasi-expert of the company using the internet and other available resources to find out everything from it's product and services, competitors and  position in the marketplace to the latest media headlines (which can usually be found on their twitter feed). 

ii. wardrobe

Dressing appropriately for an interview is vital to the overall impression and personal brand you want to leave with an employer. Not to mention - it really does boost your confidence. Unless told otherwise, you should always assume that business professional attire is expected. You may be interviewing with the latest tech company and notice everyone is in jeans and t-shirts on their website - doesn't matter. You definitely want to be told, "never wear that tie in here again" than be shown the door after your interview with your interviewers feedback being "the interview went well ... but he/she didn't even wear a suit!" The saying may be old, but still rings true - always err on the side of caution and be overdressed than underdressed. Be sure to check out our style section for some examples. 

iii. execution

Think about witnessing one of your favorite pro athletes as they enter into the arena or stadium. They are usually donning some obnoxiously large headphones with an intense look on their face that denotes just how focused they are. They have prepared  - both mind and body - for this moment. They are convinced that the hours they spent in the gym and film room will pay off big and there isn't anyone on this earth that could tell them otherwise. That level of confidence can only come from preparation. Through your research of the company coupled with a firm understanding how you can contribute, you can channel an air of confidence that will surely permeate through your interview. Just be sure to present yourself with energy, carry a bright smile, annunciate your words and extend your hand with a firm handshake. You got this!

iv. follow-up

Feel free to ask your recruiter or each interviewer for their contact information so that you can follow up your conversation with a comprehensive yet concise email thanking them for their time while reiterating how excited you are for the opportunity and consideration. Trust us - it goes a long way and shows your level of understanding regarding procedural decorum. When contacting multiple interviewers, be sure to personalize each email. You would be surprised how many interviewers share your thank you emails with the other interviewers when making offer decisions. 

Get ... that ... offer.

- the career plug