Best Practices Ahead of Your Next In-Person Interview

A recent online survey showed an overwhelming amount of Americans prefer in-person jobs over virtual ones. See what steps you can take to improve your odds ahead of your next in-person interview. 

One of the surest signs that we’re moving quickly to put the pandemic behind us is the return to in-person interviews. While that means you can’t dress professionally on top but wear pajama bottoms to your Zoom interview anymore, there are some real benefits to in-person meetings! It’s a better way to get a sense of the company and culture, plus you’ll get a much better read on the people you’d be working with as you see them interact with people in real life, not just on a screen.  

Recent research also suggests a majority of applicants, about 71%, prefer to meet their potential bosses in-person, rather than online or through a phone call, as it helps make a better first impression.  

In-person interviews can be a little more nerve-inducing than online ones, to be sure, but there are some tried and true tips to adopt and practice before you go in. Keep these in mind before you go!  

What to Do Prior to Your Next In-Person Interview

1. Be on Time 

This should go without saying, but it’s worth reiterating anyway: Always be on time, if not a few minutes early, for in-person interviews. You want to make it clear that you’re interested in the position and taking the opportunity seriously, plus it shows that you respect the time being set aside for this meeting by the interviewers. Being late doesn’t send a great message about your professionalism or commitment and could call into question whether you really want the job. If something out of your control happens on the way to the interview, like a flat tire or massive traffic jam, immediately notify the company so they understand the situation. But do everything you can to arrive on time!  

2. Know Who You Are Meeting With

You should have a confirmation email or other message with the name and title of the person you’re interviewing with, but if that hasn’t been provided, make sure to ask for it before the meeting. You’ll want to know whether this is an HR representative (usually the case with early-stage interviews) or someone higher-up in the company, or if it’s your would-be boss. With that information, do a little research into their position and time with the company and use that to prepare some questions of your own (more on that momentarily). Also, make sure to know the correct pronunciation of the person’s name! It’s a sign of respect, and it matters.  

3. Have Questions Ready

It’s a predictable portion of most interviews: the interviewer will go through their questions and tell you about the position, but then they’ll ask if you have any questions you’d like to ask them. This is not a trick or a throwaway! They want to know if you’ve done research into the company and position and how interested you are in the opportunity. The questions don’t need to be complex — it can be as simple as asking what a routine day would be like, how many people you’d be working with, how long people tend to stay at the company, etc., — but do try to avoid questions about benefits and PTO, at least as your first question. That can come up later when you get the offer.  

4. Do Some Research

Make sure you know the position you’ve applied for and what the company specializes in. You don’t need to know the detailed history of the company’s founders (unless you’re interviewing with them directly), but having a sense of the industry and this company’s position in it is smart. This will help you look prepared and invested in the opportunity, and companies want to bring in people who know why they want to work there. Be sure to work that into your answers: You want to work in this particular job for this exact company because it fits your personal and professional goals (and be sure to tie it all together in an impactful way).  

5. Dress for Success

A day or two prior to the interview, select your outfit and make sure everything fits properly and looks nice. This gives you time to make any changes or fixes, including getting out the iron or sewing kit, to show up looking your best. You want to look professional while also being comfortable, so this is not the time to break out the new, unworn shoes! Be sure also to keep your posture and walk with confidence, including a good handshake when you arrive to and exit the interview, to make a great visual first impression. 

6. Practice, Practice, Practice!

While each company and job will have its own specialized questions for their jobs, the majority of interview questions can be anticipated: Why do you want this job? How did you learn about the company? What’s your biggest strength/weakness? Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years? Why are you looking to change jobs? Take some time to think about these answers and then practice them with a friend, someone who can be kind and compassionate when telling you how to improve your answers to make them more concise and personal without being vague or revealing too much personal information up front. You want to speak with confidence and have examples on hand, and the best way to do that is to prepare in advance.  

Looking for a new job can be stressful, and getting ready for an interview can bring all those nerves back as well, but taking the time to prepare yourself can do wonders for your ability to make a great first impression. Take a deep breath and walk in ready to take on the world! And don’t forget to send a thank you note after your interview — it’s good practice and a nice gesture.  

Looking for a Position That Sounds Right for You?

If you’re still looking for strong leads, it’s time to consider working with a recruiter — like ABLE Associates! We have great relationships with our clients and know exactly what they’re looking for, which means we can help you find the best spot that fits your interests and abilities while furthering your career goals. Why not take a look at the jobs we have available today and see what fits your future? When you’re ready to make a change, it’s time to call ABLE Associates 

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