This blog is the first of a series of career focused posts by SuccessFactors’ own recruiters. Today’s post is by Monica Jarvis, Sourcer, Recruiting Team.
Each day I talk to numerous job candidates, whether through phone screens or in-person interviews. With multiple candidates who may be qualified for a given position, it’s my job to screen them and determine those I think are the best for the job. Most of the people that I, and my fellow recruiters and sourcers, speak with are professionals with years of experience and meet the minimum qualifications—yet some candidates forget or are unaware of some important things to remember when in an interview or phone screen.
Ask any recruiter or sourcer and I guarantee they will have at least one story of a weird interview or candidate interaction they have had that could have been prevented had the candidate known these basic interview tips:
1. Do Your Research Before the Interview
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve talked to candidates who have done absolutely no research on our company and know nothing about what it is we do or what industry we are in. You should always research on the company you’re interviewing with before your interview even if you think you’re already familiar with it—maybe there’s been something in the news recently about the company or there have been recent changes—this is good to know. Plus, the more you know about the company and the industry the better you’ll be able to point out how your qualifications are in line with the company’s needs. That brings me to the next tip…
2. Ask Questions
If you don’t already have questions about the job that the job description didn’t answer, researching the company can come in handy. As I mentioned before, perhaps the company has recently been in the news-it’s great to ask questions about recent news coverage and show that you really are interested in not only the position but the company as a whole. I would advise you to have at least two or three questions to ask the interviewer. This shows your interest. I’ve worked with hiring managers who were turned off by candidates who didn’t have any questions.
3. Be on Time
You should always arrive at least 5-10 minutes early for an interview. There are a few guidelines around this basic rule, however. Although you should arrive early, it is possible to arrive too early. If you arrive early and check in with the receptionist 45 minutes early, they’re not going to know what to do with you and it will probably be awkward sitting in the entry way for that long. Instead, if you arrive very early, sit in your car and review your research on the company, review the questions you have (see earlier tips) or if you can’t wait in your car wait outside the receptionist desk area and do the same thing. My personal recommendation is if the interview location is new to you, test drive the route a day or two before the actual interview. This way you are confident in getting there and it can reduce the extra stress or anxiety of getting lost or being late.
4. Bring Your Resume
Bringing your resume (and additional copies) can be very helpful. You can give it to the interviewer for reference as well as keep a copy for yourself to reference as you’re asked questions—it can help rescue you if you’re drawing a blank.
5. Always Send a Thank-You Note
Sending a thank-you note (whether through the mail or an e-mail) can help you stand out from other candidates. Send one to not only the recruiter thanking him/her but also to those you interviewed with. If you don’t know their e-mail ask the recruiter, they more than likely will know.
6. Dress Up
No matter how casual the work environment is described, always dress your best. Wear a suit unless told differently. Even though others around you may be dressed more casually than you are, the saying holds true in this case—it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed.
7. Make Sure Your Phone is OFF
Not on vibrate, but off. If it’s on vibrate everyone can still hear it and not only is it annoying and rude, but it’s distracting and can interrupt your (or the interviewer’s) train of thought.
8. Be Flexible
It’s often hard to coordinate everyone’s schedules so try to be flexible. It’s possible that a hiring manager’s schedule will change last minute and your interview or phone screen will have to be rescheduled or delayed. Don’t panic and don’t make a big deal over these situations. Try to go with the flow and be understanding with timing and scheduling. Be adaptive.
9. Close The Deal
At the end of the interview always reiterate your interest in the position and ask about the next steps in the interview process. This lets the interviewer know that you are interested and serious about the opportunity and want to continue moving along in the process.
These last few tips are specifically for phone interviews. The majority of initial screening is done by phone so here are some ways to put your best foot forward when talking to recruiters on the phone.
10. Be on Time (for Phone Interviews, Too)
Just like face to-face interviews, it’s important to be ready a few minutes early prior to your phone interview. I try to call candidates at the exact time I said I would, so if we agreed I would call you at 11:00, I’ll call you at exactly 11:00. If I call you at 11:00 and you don’t answer, that’s not a good start to the interview. I understand that things come up, but really try to be ready a few minutes early in order to ensure you’re available on time.
11. Be in a Quiet Area
This means not in the bathroom where I can hear toilets flushing or in your car where I hear horns honking (probably not good for distractions either). Try to be in a quiet area where there won’t be any distracting noises or interruptions.
12. Use a Landline if Possible
We’re in the age of cell phones but in some ways landlines are more reliable. If possible, call from a landline or make sure that you have good cell phone coverage in the area you’re calling from and your cell phone battery is fully charged.
Monica Jarvis is a sourcer for SuccessFactors based out of our Jobs2Web team in Minnetonka, MN. In her spare time she enjoys photography and spending time with family and friends.
Search all our open SuccessFactors positions worldwide: http://jobs.successfactors.com
Learn more about the workplace culture at SuccessFactors, an SAP Company, see pics of our offices, talk to recruiters, and get real time job openings by connecting with us on our social pages:
Linkedin Group: SuccessFactors Careers