Interviewing can be intimidating, especially when you are trying to get your dream job. If you’ve never had a formal interview, it can be difficult to know what to expect! In this blog, our experts will weigh in on what you can expect and when to follow-up after your interview.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Going about an interview the right way is essential to making a positive first impression with your potential employer. Knowing the most common interviewing mistakes and avoiding them will help you crush your interview. Tom, Hiring Expert at VF Corporation, says the most common interviewing mistakes are, “Not being prepared, coming off as arrogant, and not being yourself.”
Tom explains how to avoid these common mistakes, “Do your research on the position, the company, the industry, etc. Be confident, but also humble, and show you are eager to learn new things. Don't try to be what you think the interviewers want you to be, just be yourself. If you can't be yourself through the interviewing process, what makes you think you could be yourself working there? If it's not a fit, it's not a fit, better to find out in the interview than your first week on the job.” Ref Link
Patricia, Hiring Expert at ADP, says, “A common mistake is being unprepared. Do your research on the organization before you interview. Remember that you're interviewing a company just as much as they are interviewing you. Ask questions that will provide you with more insight into the organization. Avoid asking questions regarding benefits and compensation, those can wait until you're deeper in the process.” Ref Link
How to Prepare
Ashlyn, Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries, says, “The first thing is to make sure you research the company and have some key points you can share with the hiring team; this shows you took the time to do some research and are truly interested in the role. The second thing is to make sure you review the job description; are there any key skills that you can highlight during the interview? Lastly, make sure you update your resume to match the exact position you're interviewing for; again, highlight those key traits that you possess and be sure to have specific behavioral-based examples to share.” Ref Link
Meredith, Hiring Expert at Avery Dennison Corporation, says, “Depending on the type of interview, there are different ways you can prepare yourself. Start by doing research on the company. Brush up on what types of services the company provides, what they produce, how many employees they have, their locations, etc. Being able to show that you've done your research will make a valuable impression! Be prepared to share why you want to work for the company, why you want THAT job, why YOU are the best fit for the job. If you have data to back up how you have been successful, be prepared to discuss that. If this is your first job, that's okay! Share successes you had in school- reference group projects, internships, co-ops, publications, research, etc.
“One of the best ways to prepare before your interview is to record yourself or do a mock interview with someone you trust and ask for their honest feedback. Watching yourself on video or getting feedback can help you eliminate bad habits during interview conversations, from saying "um" to avoiding eye contact to giving long-winded answers, watching yourself can be extremely helpful.” Ref Link
What to Expect
Just as people are different, interviews are different too. Walking into an interview can be daunting when you don’t know what to expect. Many companies have been focusing on conversational interviews so that they can get to know you as a person as well as a worker.
As Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, says, “A lot of hiring managers just want to see if you’re a good fit for their team. It’s easy to teach someone the skills they need to perform on the job, but it’s difficult to course correct someone that doesn’t fit in with the team from a personality perspective.” Ref Link
Slyvia, Hiring Expert at HP Enterprise, says, “Some interviewers have their own style and like to get more of a cultural feel in addition to understanding your capabilities. Personally, I love the conversational style interviews.”
However, as this conversational approach is becoming more common, Sylvia says, “This isn’t the case for all jobs, such as technical roles which will have more testing/questions type interviews.” Ref Link
Linda, Hiring Expert at HP Inc., says, “I would suggest that at the end of each interview you ask about the process and how you should follow up in regards to the position. This will give you some insight into their process and what you can expect to happen after the interview.” Ref Link
After the interview
Reaching out after an interview might make you feel like you’re being too eager, but it’s the appropriate thing to do in order to show your interest in the position you applied for. When and how to reach out is essential when following up after your interview.
Sylvia continues, “If you haven't had any communication with them in a couple of weeks, absolutely reach out with a follow-up email. This email should focus on the status of your candidacy. You want to make sure you stay in touch to ensure your interest is conveyed to the hiring team.” Ref Link
Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, says, “It's always difficult waiting for an offer decision following an interview, especially if it's been two or more weeks! I would recommend trying to remain patient and wait until after the deadline they gave you before following up a second time. If you don't hear from them when they promised, I would definitely follow-up with a second thank you email and explain you're still very interested in the position and company, and you're reaching out to see if a decision has been made yet.” Ref Link
We hope you’re feeling more prepared for your upcoming interviews! Be yourself, stand out, reach out, and get that job! Remember, if it doesn’t go as well as you hope it just isn’t the right job fit. Keep putting yourself out there, you (and your dream job) are worth it.