“Congratulations! You were selected for an interview. So you're all set, right?”
Almost…while the interview is nothing to fear, it shouldn’t be taken lightly either. No one can guarantee that you will win every assignment every time, but the following tips will help you increase your rate of success:
Research the company! This is the easiest thing you can do to set yourself apart from other candidates.
Talk to your Recruiter
Request a copy of your SUBMITTED resume and find out about parking availability. Ask your recruiter if there is a facility map available. Don’t be afraid to ask them for interviewing advice or about past feedback they’ve had from the company. The recruiter is a great resource and is delighted to answer any questions you may have.
Organize the night before. Lay out an outfit, prepare your briefcase, be sure there is gas in the car or confirm the bus schedule, print out your submitted resume, and don’t forget to bring something to write with. Also, be sure you know who to ask for when you arrive.
Get the Details
Know the time, place, and correct pronunciation of the company and your interviewer’s full name. If you don’t know the correct pronunciation, ask the receptionist upon arrival.
Map it Out
Many companies have multiple locations. Make sure you know the correct location for your interview. If possible, drive to the interview location the day before.
For door-to-door driving directions visit these links:
Research the Company
Educating yourself about the company is the most important thing you can do before an interview. Visit the company’s website and search the Internet for news and articles.
Bring your ‘Submitted Resume’
Ask your recruiter to send you a copy of your ‘Submitted Resume’ to take with you to the interview. Often, you and your recruiter have customized your resume for a particular position. Presenting a different version of your resume can confuse the hiring manager.
Know the Job Requirements
Know the specifics on 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.
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. Also, be reserved in your use of fragrance, cosmetics and jewelry.
Arrive 10 to 15 minutes before your interview. Often times, a parking permit or a temporary security badge need to be obtained, so make sure to allow for extra time. If you are running late or cannot make the appointment for any reason, call your recruiter prior to the scheduled interview time. He or she can let the customer know that you are on your way or reschedule the interview for you if he or she has advance notice. If you simply do not show up, it is unlikely that you will get a second chance with the assignment or even the company.
Be Confident and Calm
Smile pleasantly and shake hands firmly. Let him or her know that you are happy to be there. 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. Remember, it’s okay to stop talking after you have answered a question.
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. Ask who will supervise you, what are the expected hours, when is the targeted start date, etc. Keep in mind that the interview also serves as a venue to determine if this job is a good match for you.
End on a Positive
When the interview is over, end on a positive note. Let the hiring manager know you want the assignment. Ask him or her if there is anything else that you need to answer to let him or her know you are the right person for this assignment. Thank him or her for the time and consideration offered to you. Try to find out the next steps and when you can expect to know whether or not you have the assignment.
Call Your Recruiter Afterwards
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. This will help your recruiter determine a specific approach that will best suit your placement.
Send a Thank you Note
It is always professional to send an email or write 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. You can always have your recruiter pass the note along if you don’t have the interviewer’s contact information.
Don’t bite your nails, don’t cross your arms, don’t fidget, don’t chew gum, don’t be late, and don’t eat or smoke right before the interview.
No One-Word Answers
Don't answer with a simple "yes" or "no." Give specific examples whenever possible.
Don’t Talk About Conflicts
Don't speak badly about former employers, coworkers, companies, projects, etc. 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 negatives.
Don’t Offer Up Negative Statements About Yourself
If asked about a weakness, think about something you haven’t done well in the past, but have taken actions toward improvement. You could say that you underestimated the importance of a particular skill, and then describe how you have improved on that skill. This is the perfect opportunity to bring up any recent education or training you have had in your industry.
Do NOT Discuss Pay
Our customer is not able to discuss your pay due to co-employment issues, so bringing this up puts them in an awkward position. If the interviewer asks you about pay, then tell them that you would seriously consider any reasonable offer OR ask them to please talk to PDS.
Turn off the Arrogance
Resist the urge to tell the hiring manager that his or her entire approach for software design, development, testing, etc., is wrong. You may have different ideas that would be valuable to the efforts, but telling someone you have just met that he or she is incorrect is a sure way to NOT get the job.
Don’t Say “No, I haven’t”
Do say: “I have done something similar and I was successful at it.” OR “That sounds interesting, and I’m sure I can do an excellent job at it.”
Don’t Think Short Term
Avoid giving the impression that you are only considering this job until you find something better or because you are desperate. Sometimes contract positions lead to job advancement and/or full time employment, so you don’t want to shut doors before they open.