Congratulations! You just got a call from your recruiter letting you know that you have passed the paper screening and have been selected for an interview. It's a progressive company with cutting edge technology, an interesting project and now you have an interview scheduled for tomorrow. So you're all set, right? Well, not quite. While the interview is nothing to fear, it shouldn't be taken lightly either.
No one can guarantee you will win every assignment every time, but the following guidelines will help you increase your rate of success:
- Be sure that you have the correct address, meeting time, and know the name of the person you are scheduled to see. Many companies have multiple locations. Make sure you know the correct location for your interview. For door-to-door driving directions, try http://maps.yahoo.com/
- Educate yourself about the company. Do your homework by visiting the company's web site and searching on the Internet for news and articles about that company. Hiring Managers often complain that many candidates apply without knowing anything about what their company does. While you don't need to memorize the CEO's biography, you should at least be familiar with the company's products and or services. With more information about the company, you will be better able to sell yourself for the job.
- Know the specifics of the job requirements . Find out from your recruiter what he or she knows about the job and what particular areas of your resume interested the hiring manager. You'll want to emphasize and expand on these areas during the interview. Think about specific examples from past jobs that illustrate your ability to be successful with this assignment.
- Dress appropriately . Always arrive at the interview dressed professionally and neatly groomed, even if the work environment at the company may be casual. When in doubt, err on the side of wearing conservative business attire.
- Arrive 10 minutes before your interview. If you are running late or cannot make the appointment for any reason call your recruiter prior to the scheduled interview time. They can let the client know that you are on your way or reschedule the interview for you if they have advance notice. If you simply do not show up, it is unlikely that you will get a second chance with that assignment. Arriving a few minutes early also gives you the opportunity to pull yourself together - comb your hair, take a deep breath and collect your thoughts.
- Be confident and calm when you meet the hiring manager. He or she wants to hire the best person for the job, and there is a good chance that person is you. Make it easy for them to come to this decision. Smile pleasantly and shake hands firmly. Let them know that you are happy to be there. This is not drudgery. It's the first step to an exciting, lucrative new assignment with this company.
- During the interview, speak clearly and remember to make eye contact . Be prepared to talk about your participation in projects relevant to the new assignment and how your past experience will help you to become a valuable member of the team.
- Answer the interview questions completely and succinctly. Stick to the question and don't ramble. It is OK to stop talking after you have answered a question.
- Resist the urge to tell the hiring manager that his entire approach for software design, development, testing, etc. is wrong . A surprising number of candidates embrace this approach and they are always surprised when they are not chosen for assignments. You may have different ideas that would be valuable to the efforts, but telling someone you have just met that that are incorrect is a sure way to NOT get the job.
- Don't criticize former employers, coworkers, companies, projects, etc . A scathing dissertation on the incompetence of your last project manager is unprofessional and never helps you land new assignments. If asked about past situations that were less than pleasant, try to emphasize any positive results you may have brought about without airing your laundry list of the negative.
- Ask intelligent questions about the company, project, and assignment. If you have done your research about the company, you should be able to prepare relevant and thoughtful questions prior to the interview. Many qualified candidates lose out on prime assignments because they appear disinterested. Don't let this happen to you!
- When the interview is over, end on a positive note. Let the hiring manager know you want the assignment. Ask them if there is anything else that you need to answer to let them know you are the right person for this assignment. Thank him or her for their time and consideration. Try to find out what is the next step and when you can expect to know whether or not you have the assignment. (While the hiring manager will probably contact your recruiter, this will emphasize your interest in the assignment and may give you a better picture of where they are in the selection process.)
- Be sure to contact your recruiter immediately to tell him/her about the interview . If you have any questions or concerns about this assignment, discuss them with your recruiter.
- It is always professional to send and email or a quick note thanking the interviewer(s) for their time. Keep it brief, but let them know you found the interview informative, the position interesting and that you appreciated the opportunity to interview.
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