For many of us, interviews are daunting. But you don’t have time to worry now! Get your game face on and get down to business. That means prepare, prepare, prepare.
We’ve put together a few tips to get you interview ready. While it’s important to be yourself, going back to basic interview prep should help to prevent things from going off the rails.
Get nerdy! Tap into your inner nerd (you know the one you have not seen since law school) and do your research. Find out the goods on the people interviewing you. After all, you need them to like you. Impress the interview team and you’re one step closer to an offer and on your way to professional greatness. Look into their career trajectory, educational background and other interests. Research the company, understand what they do, how they do it and why? Be ready to show that you have the skills and are a fit with their culture, values and goals. But don’t overdo it. Treating interviewers as your long lost friend just makes you creepy.
The early bird gets the worm. Arrive late and the interview is over before it even started. No one cares that you got caught in traffic. Arrive ahead of schedule and show you respect other people’s time, you plan for contingencies and you want to impress. You are a star! Arrive early and be friendly and kind to the receptionist. A lot of hiring managers will check with reception to see how you handled yourself. If all else fails and you are late, call to let them know. When you do arrive, you MUST apologize to everyone waiting, not just the first person who greets you and takes you into the meeting
Be engaged. Even if you’re nervous, use a tool that works to calm yourself down. If you don’t know one yet, Google it. Get in the zone. Make and maintain eye contact, don’t look past someone. It makes you seem disinterested and lacking in confidence. Actively listen and answer appropriately – don’t interrupt people. Ask meaningful questions that show your engagement.
Crack the code. The power to impress is in your hands. You likely read or were told by your amazing ALT recruiter the key attributes of the role, but do not overlook the job description now. Delve into it like Indiana Jones searching his map for hidden clues. Crack the job description code, and you’ll shine in the interview. Be sure to use concrete examples that show you have what they are looking for.
No prima-donnas. Though not listed in many job descriptions, we hear this one from employers A LOT. Behavioural questions are meant to expose the prima donna lurking behind that polished, eager exterior. Reluctance to do the ‘little jobs’ makes you far from a star employee. Try to convey that no task is too junior or un-glamourous. Even if… and we love hearing this one… you don’t need a law degree to do it. Just roll up your sleeves and get it done! Another way to catch a glimpse of a possible prima donna is by their reaction to an open concept environment – no offices, no even for the lawyers. Oh no! How will you lawyer? You’ll be fine. Plenty of lawyers and key stakeholders manage just fine in an open concept space. Of course when confidentiality is required, you would just use one of the fancy breakout rooms.
Work/life balance. While also not blatantly listed in a job description, it’s on everyone’s mind. Sure you’re tired of working 6 or 7 days a week around the clock. Even though the job you’re applying for will free up a whack of your time, never answer the question, “Why do you want this job?” with “Lifestyle”. That response kills your chance of an offer. Do not let burnout make you sound negative, or worse, lazy. What they want to hear is that you set clear goals and objectives and deliver on commitments every time. Even if you need more free time, don’t lose sight of what the employer needs from you. And another thing: No. The hours are not 9-5. Don’t even think of asking. You’re a specialist, a professional, a trusted advisor and, if you’re lucky, a valued employee.
Show me the money! No seriously – don’t. Just don’t talk dollars in the first meeting. This should not need explanation. But people keep doing it so we’ll explain. Being the first to raise the money issue suggests that money is your primary driver. That is a problem because people don’t like people who are dollar driven. Of course fair pay is important, but let’s get them to ask you back before you raise it. Better yet, let us – your trusted advisor- handle this conversation.
Make the ask. We’ve seen an employer reject an otherwise perfect candidate because they failed to ask any questions. Be ready with a question, or two, in your back pocket for this. And be sure to ask what next steps are and tell them you’re interested in the role (assuming you are).
Mind your manners. It may seem old fashioned, but writing a brief thank you note to those who interviewed you is very effective when you want to impress.
Don’t you forget about me! Cue old school Simple Minds music. Kidding aside, please remember the people who helped get you there. We are anxiously waiting to hear from you. Employers often ask us which candidates seem most interested. If you leave us out, and we have to say we haven’t heard from you, well, you can see the negative impression that leaves not only with us, but also with the employer. So call ASAP!
We hope this interview primer helps you. The ALT Team is happy to answer any questions you have. So now go get ready, good luck and happy interviewing!