One of the most important steps in any job search is the interview.
The job interview is your chance to not only make a great impression, but also find out if a role is right for you. But interviewing can be tricky — especially with some companies now conducting interviews over a video call instead of in-person.
We sat down with Rachel Broder, Industrious’ Director of Recruiting, to gather her tips on how to put your best foot forward in your next interview.
Be honest with yourself.
Before you even send out an application, it’s important to take the time to evaluate what you’re looking for.
“Ask yourself: ‘What do I really love about my current role? What do I not love about it? And what do I want to accomplish in my next role?’” recommends Broder. “Really be honest about what makes you excited about coming to work. Sometimes, people can get caught up in a title, and they forget how much time you actually spend at your job — and how important it is that you love what you do.”
Don’t forget to think beyond what you want your day-to-day tasks to look like. For example, maybe it’s important for you to work at a company that shares your values. Or maybe work-life balance is one of your priorities. Having a sense of what areas impact your overall job satisfaction will help you approach your interview with a clear vision of what you’re looking for.
Be professional — in-person and on Zoom.
It’s just as critical to nail the little things — like being on time or wearing professional attire — on Zoom as it is in an in-person interview. “Make sure your internet works and that you have an appropriate background — you don’t want to display household mess or anything like that,” Broder says.
Part of being professional on a video call means eliminating distractions. “Make sure you’ve paused or muted your Slack messages, calendar reminders, and other notifications so that you can present for the interview,” Broder says. Not only is it polite to turn off your notifications, but doing so will also help you be an active listener — and make a good impression on your interviewer.
Interview your interviewer.
One of the reasons why it’s so critical to think through what you want in a job is because doing so can help you come up with questions for your interviewer. Her or his answers to those questions are one of the ways you can evaluate whether or not a company or a role is truly the right fit. Not asking questions can be a red flag, so make sure you take the time to write down yours ahead of time.
“Look at every interview as a two-way process,” Broder. “Research the company beforehand and ask great questions so you can determine if it’s a place you want to be. Find out if your interviewer is generally excited about the company and what their career path has been.”
Stick the landing.
Chances are, your interviewer will give you a sense of what to expect moving forward before the end of the conversation. If not, however, be sure to ask what possible next steps will look like so you know what to expect.
Once the interview is over, Broder recommends sending a personal note within 24 hours. “But be careful; your note shouldn’t have spelling or grammar mistakes,” Broder says. “Thank your interviewer for their time and mention something the two of you discussed.”
Since you’ve established next steps during the interview, you should have a general sense of when you might next hear from your interviewer — which will make it easier for you to follow up if you don’t hear back within that time frame. If a timeframe isn’t established, Broder recommends following up in about a week to check-in and re-express your interest in the role.