Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Face 2 Face Interview

The Face 2 Face or Final Interview:
If you are fortunate enough to have successfully navigated the telephone interview portion of the employment process, and an in-person interview is required - the entire weight of the decision will likely be placed on the face to face (aka “on-site”) interview.  Here are the important points to remember when visiting a potential employer in person:

1.      ALWAYS be 15 minutes early! 

2.      If air travel is required to get to the potential employer site, take a flight the night before the scheduled interview whenever possible.  This will hopefully provide you ample time to get to the interview on time by avoiding any potential flight delays and traffic issues.  This will also allow you to be “fresh” and not frazzled when you arrive to the interview.

3.      Always make sure you are well prepared before you leave for the airport by having all the necessary contact info, location info, change of clothing, grooming needs etc.

4.      Have the name and phone number of your contact at the employer site handy in case you experience any travel delays/flight cancelations/highway traffic/get lost etc.  Even if you’re only going to be a few minutes late it is important to call and alert them of your delay!

5.      Have the route from your starting location to the client site mapped out in advance and review it prior to leaving.  Having a navigation tool on your cell phone or device in your car is helpful.

6.      If you will be taking a cab make sure you have the full and correct address and that you arrange for the cab to pick you up well in advance.

7.      If you are relying on other forms of public transportation, review the routes the day before, familiarize yourself with the times the transportation is available and be ready a few minutes early… also – know your stop!

8.      Be aware of the weather forecast.  If poor weather conditions are anticipated, allow yourself extra time.

9.      Dress for success.  At the very minimum show up in business casual attire, even if the position you are interviewing for doesn’t call for it.  Make sure your clothes are as wrinkle free and stain free as possible.  Putting an extra shirt in your bag is a life saver if you accidentally spill coffee on yourself.  Think about your attire all the way down to your shoes.  Your shoes should be clean and befitting of the rest of your outfit.  (and this should go without saying, but don’t forget the deodorant!)

10.   If you wear cologne – go with something light and use it sparingly.

11.   If at all possible visit the restroom as soon as you arrive on site and double check your clothing, teeth, hair etc.

12.   Fresh breath is important, if you’ve just had coffee or a meal, brush your teeth and carry mints with you.  Stay away from gum at all costs.

13.   Upon arrival check in at the designated office or reception area.  If you are made to wait, check your notes (which you should’ve been compiling throughout the interview process) and consider what points about yourself and your experience you want to get across and what questions you want to ask.  This is also a good time to turn off your cell phone.

14.   When greeting people use a firm and friendly handshake and SMILE!!  Let them know it’s a “pleasure to meet you in person!”

15.   No matter what the environment when you sit down for your interview – whether there are multiple people present or just one – whether you are in a conference room or office – always sit up straight, DON’T FIDGET, remember to smile and be comfortable in your own skin.

16.   Bring a notepad and pen and take occasional notes about the responsibilities, names of people and titles, etc.

17.   Ask questions and be engaged in the conversation, make sure you are prepared to answer questions like the ones discussed in the telephone interview post (technical abilities, future goals, strengths-weaknesses etc).

18.   Be mindful of your responses, don’t use fillers like UMMM – AHHH – AND etc. 

19.   Everyone has the ability to feel how they are being received.  You will get a “vibe” from others.  Be aware of how you are being accepted.  If you feel you are losing your audience start to mirror them.  If they are laid back and quiet – maybe you should tone it down some.  If they are vibrant and energetic – maybe you should be a bit more expressive? 

20.   You will also be aware when you are losing their attention.  If this is happening it is possible you are talking too much.  Start to wrap up your answers more quickly.

21.   When the interview process has concluded and you are on your way out, make sure to express thanks to everyone and inquire when you will hear about next steps in the process if you have not yet been offered the position.

22.   Walk out with confidence.  Keep your head high and your shoulders straight.  Leave with confidence and a smile on your face.

23.   If you are a smoker DON’T SMOKE!  Don’t ask to leave for a smoke and absolutely do not have a cigarette in front of the building on your way in or on your way out.  This isn’t discrimination, it’s just common sense.

24.   Do NOT drink alcohol.  While it’s fine to have a few cocktails with co-workers or at company parties, when you are in the interview process there is rarely a time where it’s a good idea to drink.  There are occasions where the potential employer will take you to lunch or dinner and everyone will have a beer or beverage, but only do so if others in the group are also having a drink and limit yourself to just one.

25.   Eat light.  If you are taken out to eat, eat a light meal.  You don’t want to glom down a heavy meal and get tired or God Forbid have intestinal distress the rest of the meeting. 

26.   From the moment you arrive on site until after you’ve left the building imagine that you are being watched and evaluated because it’s likely that you are.  Don’t be paranoid but always be mindful of what you’re doing.

After you arrive back home, send an email to  your main contact thanking everyone for their time and let them know of your continued interest in the role if it has not already been offered to you. 
If for some reason you have decided you are no longer interested in the position, make that very clear in the email. 
If a face to face interview is a requirement, it is typically the most important piece of the interview process.  Being prepared will provide you with the tools you need to land the role.

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  1. Good points, all! Some may seem plain common sense, but in this world commonsense can be at a premium. Thanks!

  2. Thanks SunKing - all points above came about due to an experience I've had with candidate interviews - so yes, common sense isn't always immediately evident to everyone :)