Article by Rachel Klenicki, Division Manager in Workbridge LA.
It’s the time of year when many people think “new year, new job”. If you count yourself among those looking for a job, and are feeling some trepidation about a first round interview you have lined up- this post is for you! The insight provided here is designed to help you ace a first round interview. I know it can be scary. I know it can be overwhelming. But with these tips, you will be getting several offers in no time!
Prior to the Interview
So you have an upcoming interview. Have you made a checklist of all the things you should do prior? If not— here’s where you should start.
- Research the company. I’m not just talking about the website. Read up on the latest company news and research articles on the founders or higher ups. Any extra information you find and draw on in your interview will help.
- Research who you are meeting with. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, it’s time to create one. LinkedIn is a great way to learn about the individuals at a potential employer. Perhaps you have similar hobbies, attended the same school, or have even worked with a current employee at a previous job. Use LinkedIn to research the person you will be meeting with. Finding common ground can go a long way in the interview process, and LinkedIn can help with that.
- Research the interview address and parking info. This is perhaps the most obvious tidbit, but many jobseekers don’t do this. Don’t leave anything to chance- the directions may be more confusing than you think. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview. Be prepared for traffic, late buses and trains, or anything that could make you late. If you do arrive late, apologize!
- Look over the job description. Understand what the position will entail. If you don’t, make a list of questions and ask these in the interview.
- Be prepared to discuss your resume. Make sure to tie in what you have done in the past with the current job description.
- Ask about dress attire prior to the interview. Some individuals think a suit is the way to go. While this may be the case for some companies, other might view a suit as being way too overdressed. Make sure to ask the recruiter, HR, or the person who set up the interview what they think is best.
Time for the interview
Some say the motto “just be yourself” is the key to interviewing successfully; however, if you are a quiet, introverted, and soft spoken person, then it may make it more difficult to get the job. Trust me. First impressions are crucial and you need to make a good one. First impressions often contribute to the decision of whether or not you make it to a 2nd round interview. So slap on a smile and be prepared to work your hardest on being outgoing and personable. Let’s start with the handshake. Firm up that hand, make great eye contact and shake. After that, the manger will usually ask how you are. Make sure to respond. Don’t say you are tired, sick, or anything negative. Always say good, great, or doing well thank you. Then ask how they are doing. While this may seem very basic, it will help build the foundation for a good first impression.
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Always keep things positive
Employers typical ask why jobseekers who are currently employed wish to leave their current position. Whatever the reason might be, think of a positive spin to use. Are you at odds with your boss? Word your response along the lines of “I feel I have reached my full potential with my current position and I’m not learning as much from my direct manager”. Never speak poorly of your current employer or boss. If you are looking for more money, don’t say that either! Instead, try “I’m looking for more growth and stability in a company”. If you realize during the interview that it is not the best fit, keep things positive. You never know when you might cross paths again.
Wrapping up the interview
Thank your interviewers for their time and let them know you look forward to hearing from them. Don’t ask for their feedback immediately- Be patient. When you get home, write a quick thank you note where you reiterate why you are a good fit for the position and why you want to work there.
Feeling ready to tackle that interview? Take a few deep breaths, be sure to prepare, and go for it!
Article by Melissa Gallagher, Lead Recruiter at Workbridge New York
The first thing a hiring manager sees after a resume is you. Persona and presentation can make or break the decision to move forward with a candidate. This goes not just in interviewing but in relationship building. Presentation is everything in our society and something many people in technology forget to focus on during the interview process. One of the main questions I get from my candidates is: how should I dress?
In the past, we were told to dress in business professional for every interview regardless of a company’s dress code. Nowadays, however, it's quite different. It’s imperative that you take the proper steps to understand the company culture when dressing for interviews. For example, if interviewing at a financial company, you should be wearing a suit and a tie. If you’re going to a new, hip startup you should avoid a suit and tie at all costs. It can be difficult to know what the actual culture is if you’ve never been to the office and you have only looked at their website. In such situations, the best thing to do is to reach out to your company contact or give the front desk a call to ask what the dress attire is. I would also recommend searching the “team” or “about us” page for company photos. Once you’ve heard what the dress attire is, or have searched photos online, you should lean on more of the conservative side and dress up a bit for the interview. This DOES NOT mean tie or jacket, but might mean taking an iron to your shirt and wearing nicer shoes than usual.
Below are three common company environments and what to wear for each interview.
For companies that have a “business” or “conservative” dress code, stick to more of a classic and basic outfit for the first interview.
Men: Wear your traditional suit (i.e. blue, black or grey) and make sure your dress shoes are shined and your suit and shirt is wrinkle-free.
Women: Wear a traditional suit— whether it be a jacket with pants or a skirt and stick to colors such as dark grey, navy or black. Finish the look with a briefcase OR a purse, a basic pair of black pumps and simple jewelry for a winning outfit.
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A business causal environment will allow for a lot more freedom depending on how causal the office is.
Men: This could mean slacks and a button-down dress shirt. Leaning more on the conservative side of business causal, this may mean black, navy or grey dress slacks with a button-down shirt, tie and dress shoes. On the more casual side of the spectrum, you may want to forgo the tie and even wear khaki pants.
Women: Think about what you would normally wear to work at this company, and then dress it up a bit. For example, you could wear a dark skirt and blouse or a shift dress and cardigan.
Interviews at startups can be pretty tricky. Candidates want to fit in and show that they understand the company culture but look professional at the same time.
Men: Try a collared shirt with a sweater on top of that and pair that with jeans and closed-toe shoes.
Women: “Casual chic” should be the term that comes to mind when dressing for a startup interview. Wear something that you are comfortable in, represents you and is work-appropriate. This could mean a pair of dark jeans, simple shirt/sweater, and flats or even a causal dress would be appropriate too.
In all, we need to remember that presentation is everything especially when you are in a first interview setting. How well you take care of yourself can tell a lot about how you are as a person. Clean, put together, organized, etc. You don’t have to be the cleanest and proper person, but having a clean, ironed outfit can win you a job. In any interview you have, make sure you take some of these steps and be proactive about what to wear!