Getting Ready for the Big Day: Preparing for your interview key to success

DC’s top marketing and communications recruiters offer practical advice on putting your best foot forward for the interview

When it comes to finding the perfect marketing and communications opportunity, the importance of a good resume can’t be overlooked. But, once your resume has made its way through the gatekeepers, and you’ve received that glorious call to walk through the doors for an interview, preparing for your interview is not a choice, it’s a pre-requisite to impressing a hiring manager.

As one of the top recruiting and staffing firms in the Washington, DC area, TorchLight coaches candidates daily on how to prepare for an interview, either over the phone or in-person. Here, we share some of our top tips for making the right impression.

Find out as much as you can about the company.

Research the company website and look for news about the company if it’s public. Also, take a moment to review the LinkedIn profiles of the interviewers so that you are familiar with their backgrounds. You will impress your potential employer if you’ve done your homework.

Prepare to play by the company’s rules.

Many companies have set procedures for interviews.  Follow these procedures as suggested or required without question or comment–no matter how ridiculous the rules may appear to you.  You can make friends by complying fully.

Plan how you will dress for the interview.

Since different generations tend to disagree on what’s acceptable, it’s always better to overdress and keep things conservative unless specifically instructed to dress differently.

Fill your stomach and turn off that phone!

Make sure you eat something before an interview.  You could be there a while, and you don’t want to fade because you haven’t had something to eat before going in. And, make sure to turn your phone to silent and tuck it away.  You never know when someone might call you or send a text and that ring or buzz will be distracting to everyone involved.

Arrive early and allow sufficient time for the interview.

Plan to arrive 15 minutes before your actual appointment in case something goes wrong during your journey.  There is plenty of traffic in the DC metro area day and night – so plan accordingly. Call ahead if you know you will be late. Also, always remember that the person who greets you when you arrive may have more influence than you think – so be polite and courteous.

Keep yourself in a positive frame of mind.

Potential hiring managers are much more receptive to people with positive dispositions. Be prepared to discuss job-related topics, not inconveniences or personal problems.  If your interview begins on a negative note, it may be difficult to turn the atmosphere into a positive situation later.

Go to the interview alone.

If your spouse or a friend takes you to the interview, have them wait for you elsewhere.  The presence of a third party can be a negative distraction for both you and the employer.

Prepare a list of questions.

Asking thoughtful questions related to the job and company is a great way to stand out from other candidates being considered for the same role. According to CareerBuilder, hiring managers are more interested in candidates that make the effort to ask relevant questions and make intelligent conversation. Examples may include:

  • Interest questions that pertain to the company, its people, products and/or services
  • Job satisfaction questions that pertain to the importance, responsibility, authority, recognition and career potential of the job
  • Past performance questions that concentrate on people who previously held the position, their performance and where they are today
  • Sales questions that help you determine the kind of person the employer wants to hire in terms of education, experience, future performance and personality
  • Avoid questions that relate to salary, benefits, vacations and retirement in the first meeting

Finish by asking for a business card.

A thank you note goes a long way – email is fine – and we highly recommend it.  Be sure to spell check the document and be certain you have spelled the names and company correctly.

Whether you are actively looking for or just beginning to think about pursuing a new opportunity, visit TorchLight’s website for a full listing of our contract and permanent marketing and communications roles.

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