Sunday, October 18, 2009

Do your homework before you interview!

Got an interview coming up and feel like you are prepared? Well, here are a few tips to make sure you are ready and have done your homework!

1) Have you researched the people you are meeting? You may only know a few or maybe just the recruiter...that's ok. Do the research. LinkedIn or just a Google search can tell you a ton about someone. You may be surprised to see that you went to the same college or if you can search Facebook that you have common friends. Seriously, no better way to start the interview right having something in common with the folks you are meeting.

2) What's the interview like? Ask your recruiter what you should do to prepare (do I even have to say that?) The other thing is to spend some time searching the web for blogs or web pages to give you a few tips. Some companies (like my current employer) have pages set up to help, and provide links to Youtube videos that can help. The Google example is here, other companies like Yahoo do similar things here. Plus, if you are having a technical interview you should be able to find a few sample questions that will help you understand the style of careful here though, if you see a question on the web and it gets asked during the interview you should tell the interviewer you've see it. Why you ask? Well, let's say you get asked a technical question that takes an excellent candidate 35 minutes to answer and after reading it on the web you can answer it in 10, not good, people will notice, TRUST me. So, research the interview as much as you can but be honest if you uncover something that comes up in your interview.

3) Have friends at the company? If you have friends at the company, ping them, ask them for a referral. Companies typically hire about 50% of their new employees via referral so if you can take yourself out of the random pile and put yourself into the "referral"'ll be much better off.

4) Read the news - Big announcement at Microsoft yesterday? Well, you'd better know what's going on at the company you are interviewing. Nothing more annoying than a candidate who knows nothing about the firm, especially if there has been some really big news that has everyone buzzing.

5) Know the environment! - Again, not the most earth shaking advice but really important. Interviewing at a Financial Services firm? You probably want to wear a suit or at least ask your recruiter if that's appropriate. Coming to meet w/ a software start up? Doubtful you need to wear a suit. This sounds so simple and silly but it's really important. Not sure how to find out what you should wear? Ask your recruiter, ask friends, as anyone you know to make sure you don't stick out as the dude in the just sends the wrong vibe. And finally, part of the environment is knowing the location. Don't be late, don't show up and say things like "My car is double parked out front, can you move it?" (that really has happened). With Google Maps, Streetview, GPS, etc etc not being on time or getting lost is just not cool. It never was cool but now it's just really lame.

That's it, do your homework people and you'll find your interviews are much more successful!

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