Moving Beyond the First Interview and on to the Next Steps
1. Be Prepared
Coming to your first interview unprepared is an immediate red flag. Show you are prepared by arriving early and bringing extra copies of your resume. The night before, write out answers to anticipated questions and map out the directions to the interview the night before. Make a plan that will have you arriving at your destination at least 15 minutes early. As you wait, get a sense of the company culture, how people act and interact.
2. Show passion for your work
The first interview is an important way for an interviewer to determine if you are truly interested in working there or just looking for any old job. Prepare a solid statement explaining why you are interested in the company and position. Your statement should answer the following questions: What first attracted you this company? What about the company’s mission resonates with you? How does this position fit into your career aspirations?
Visit the company’s website. Look up the profiles of key leaders in the company and those you will be meeting. Pay close attention to their backgrounds. Show that you have gone above and beyond to make sure this company and position is the one for you. This will set you apart.
3. Show you are personally engaged and proactive
Make sure you stay proactive and engaged throughout the entire interview. Interviewers want you to ask insightful questions. Hiring managers are always impressed with candidates that ask questions to help them better understand the job. Bring a notebook and take notes on their answers.
Sending thank you notes by email is a great way for you to show how interested and responsible you are. After you finish your first interview, send a thank you email to your interviewers within 24-48 hours.
4. Be polite
Avoid interrupting at all cost. During the interview, your excitement may compel you to cut the interviewer off mid-question; reign in this behavior. Instead, take a moment to develop a well-thought-out answer with concrete examples. Keep in mind that acting too eager or arrogant will give the interviewer the impression that you are hard to manage.
5. Make a good physical first impression
First impressions are everything. Eye contact and a firm handshake are both very important. Pay attention to your body language; don’t slouch or cross your arms. Keep your hands folded on your lap or right in front of you on the table.
As for interview clothing, dress in business attire for any interview, even if the dress code is casual. Avoid distracters such as large amounts of makeup, jewelry, perfume or aftershave so that the interviewer can focus on what you are saying. And of course, practice proper hygiene.
6. Show that you are in for the long-term
During the first interview, it is critical for an interviewer to assess a candidate’s long-term potential for the position. Every hiring manager’s nightmare is investing time and resources on an employee who doesn’t intend to stick around. Be prepared to answer questions such as: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years? Be sure to discuss this question (and your answer) with your recruiter beforehand. Your answer will help the interviewer understand your career aspirations and progression plans.
7. Be a social and cultural fit
Every workplace has a specific culture, and no two are exactly alike. A company’s culture usually reflects the management style and preferences of the chief executive, who typically sets the tone for the work environment. The corporate culture is shaped by how people dress, act, present themselves, interact with supervisors, interact with each other across departments, and the way business is conducted. Before the interview try to understand the company’s culture. At the interview, show you will fit in. To go the extra mile, visit the interview location prior to your interview to become comfortable with the commute, parking and company culture.
8. Have a positive attitude
Having a bad attitude can be a huge red flag in the first interview. Avoid saying anything negative about your current company, manager and peers. Treat everyone you encounter at the company – from the front desk manager to the CEO – with friendliness and respect. It will not go unnoticed. Always be gracious and appreciative of the interviewer’s time.
Making a positive and lasting impression will get you beyond the first interview and on to the next step.
For more career advice reach out to us at Tal Healthcare.
Kathy Lin, Marketing Communications Manager
Kathy writes content for Tal Healthcare, a healthcare career website. She has a background in recruiting, sales, and teaching. She holds a BA in Biology from the University of Vermont. When she isn’t writing you can find her outside running, skiing or biking.