Picture this: you are at a job interview and things are going really well. The hiring manager leans back in her chair and asks if you have any questions. Bang! Here is your opportunity to cement everything and nail the job.
So, what do you ask?
Hint: Do not begin by asking about the start date. If they really want you, they will have already asked that question.
There are a couple of ways to go. One is to focus on the hiring manager. When did they start with the company? What do they like about the organization? What is the most meaningful part of their work?
You can also dig deeper into the company and it’s culture. What challenges does it face? What sets them apart from their competitors? What is the style of the senior leadership team?
Or you can ask about the role itself. You can ask about the compensation. Careful though. Sometimes employers don’t want to talk about that until quite late in the process. You could ask about whether there is variable compensation and how it’s tied to your performance. The answer to that could be quite insightful. You could also ask for more detail about other other
perks such as savings plans, company discount programs or tuition reimbursement. This one is nice because you could get a follow up question about your future goals around learning.
(so be ready for that).
There are lots of choices. The important thing is to think about it before you get there so that they are ready at hand. You don’t want to end an interview with a blank look and a shrug.
This week has been interesting. I met a lot of people – about half in person and the other half virtually.
I like the skype interview. I don’t feel guilty about making people come all the way to my office (and mortgage their car to pay for downtown parking). It’s also easier to fit in to busy people’s schedules.
Here is what I noticed. The people who met me in person had obviously taken care with their appearance and their timing. There was a general sense of preparedness about them when I met them in our reception area.
The skype chats were different. It seemed to be a much more casual thing. Not too much care with the surroundings and not to concerned about attire.
Now, I know that different industries have different “uniforms”. If you meeting someone from a financial institution, you need to look well dressed and successful. Cuff links and monogrammed cuffs are optional but the suit is mandatory.
But even if you are interviewing in a software company with Red Bull on tap, you are probably going to put on a clean t shirt.
Don’t let a video interview be your downfall. It is just as important as an in-person one.
- Be ready – test your wifi connection with a friend before the call
- Look neat – you can take the TV news anchor approach – shirt and tie on top, shorts on the bottom
- Have your resume and place to make notes beside you
- Turn off your phone – you know it’s going with that obnoxious ring tone you assigned to your brother-in-law in the middle of the thorny salary question
- Remove distractions – let everyone (including your dog) know that you are in an important meeting
These things won’t necessarily get you the job but they will help you make a better impression.
It’s winter here in Canada and if you are doing the interview circuit, you need to be prepared.
There is nothing worse than sniffling during a conversation. You try to be subtle by wiggling your nose or casually wiping your sleeve near your nose but face it: there is no substitute for a tissue. So start each day by putting one in your pocket, sleeve or bra strap.
If you have a bit of a cough or a tickle (and who doesn’t these days?), then put some lozenges or tic tacs in your pocket, purse or briefcase. You can pop one while you are waiting for your meeting to start. It will give you something to do with your hands.
Make sure you give yourself extra time before the interview but don’t hang around the reception area – that’s not cool. Plan to take a few minutes in the lobby for your body temperature to sort itself out. Your face and hands will be cold but your armpits will be working overtime so rather than greet the person you are meeting with cold hands and the tell-tale half moons of nervousness, spend a few minutes in the lobby. Take off your coat, blow your nose and wait until everything comes to room temperature. Then head upstairs to announce your presence.
Finally, no matter how much of a Tim Horton’s or Starbucks fan you are, don’t take your coffee into the meeting unless you are prepared to offer some to the other person.
So to sum up: arrive early, finish your latte in the lobby, pop a tic tac and set yourself up for a great conversation.
I polled a couple of colleagues today and was surprised at the rapid pile of responses I got to “biggest interview mistakes”.
These are real life examples. I am not making them up. Promise.
- leaving your phone on during an interview
- taking a call on that phone while you are in an interview
- forgetting to do up your middle button
- having lettuce in your teeth
- arriving late
- not knowing who you are meeting
- wearing clothes that don’t fit
- being drunk
- interrupting the interviewer
- sweaty palms
- speaking too quickly
- rambling – if you can’t remember the question, you have talked too long
- offensive jokes
- asking about other possible roles in the company
- using LinkedIn to connect with the hiring manager or president before the interview
All of these can be avoided with two simple steps. Prepare the day before and do a 360 review with a mirror before you get to the interview location.
In fact, these steps are pretty sensible for any meeting Go ahead and practice. You will be happy you did.