In this series, our talent team shares personal insight into the hiring process – from perfecting your resume to negotiating that sweet, sweet job offer.
Get inspired, and Get Hired!
The onsite interview is your biggest opportunity to showcase your strengths and demonstrate the value that you will bring to the team. But if “making a great impression” is your mission, “getting prepared” is your trusty sidekick. Don’t leave home without it.
8 Things to Do Before Your Onsite Interview
Not counting “read this outrageously helpful article.”
1. Channel any nervous energy into excitement.
It’s completely natural to feel anxious before an onsite interview, especially if this is an opportunity you’re really, really excited about. (Also, if you started your day with an XL iced coffee.) Do your best to channel that nervous energy into excitement. Think positive thoughts and be confident about what you bring to the table. If nothing else, view this experience as a chance to learn more about the company – and hopefully meet some cool, smart people along the way.
2. Practice your initial pitch.
Your initial pitch should answer the question, “Who are you – and why are you qualified for this role?” Once you’ve got that down, be prepared to cite your sources. Identify specific professional experiences (and achievements!) that back up your argument. Don’t be afraid to point out multiple examples in your conversation.
3. Research your interviewers.
If you know who you’ll be interviewing with ahead of time, it’s totally not weird to connect with them on LinkedIn – and look through their past (professional) experiences. You might have something in common (like a mutual friend or football allegiance) that you can use to connect during the interview.
4. Get acquainted with the company values.
If a company has values worth knowing, they’ll almost certainly be posted on their website. (Yes, you can find ours right here.) There are two good reasons to seek these values out and commit them to memory. First, to confirm the company’s values align with your own personal beliefs. Second, weaving the company values into your conversation is excellent supporting evidence that you’re a culture fit. It shows the interviewer that you’re excited about joining the organization – and proactively working to make it happen.
5. Bring a notebook, a pen, and multiple copies of your resume.
Having your resume in front of you can help jog your memory about specific professional experiences you’d like to mention. Having an extra copy for your interviewer will help spark conversation – and generally make you look like a master of preparedness/organization.
6. Arrive with questions to ask… but not THOSE questions.
We love when candidates ask questions because it shows they’re engaged. Even general clarifying questions show that you’ve done your research and are genuinely curious about how you’ll fit in – whether you ask about the basics of the business model, or how the organization measures success.
That said, keep your questions professional. It’s best to avoid questions like, “What’s the PTO policy?” or “How many beers do you have on tap”?
7. Treat everyone as if they are the only person interviewing you.
In-person interviews can be draining, especially for the introverts among us. Do your best to greet each person with a smile, a firm handshake, and eye contact – regardless of their title, or how close it is to lunch time. Remember to be confident, yet humble and engaged.
8. Be your authentic self.
Don’t stress about getting the questions “right” or running through a massive checklist of your professional accomplishments. If this is the right job for you, it will work out exactly how it’s meant to. (It’s a little cheesy, but it’s true.)
And 1 Thing to Do After:
1. Follow up with a ‘thank you’ email or handwritten letter.
Your interview may be over, but the hiring team’s work has just begun. Saying “thank you” is an easy way to keep an open line of communication – while giving everyone one last note to remember you by. For a more personal touch, highlight a specific takeaway from your conversation with each interviewer. It’ll help you stand out. And your mom will be so proud!
Don’t Sweat the Rest
If you do everything on this list, you can rest assured that you’ve created the best possible conditions for a successful interview.
By this time tomorrow (assuming your interview is, in fact, tomorrow), you’ll have made some new connections, learned a ton about a company you admire, and racked up some great interviewing experience.
Now, it’s time to trust the process. (And get some actual rest before the big day.)
UP NEXT in the fourth and final installment of our “GET HIRED” series: Navigating the job offer.