The Job Interview Roadmap Every Job Seeker Needs

The job search can be a stressful time. Whether currently employed or not, during this transition, job seekers often feel the pressures of finding a place that suits their needs as well as their desires. That means when a potential employer reaches out, it’s cause for celebration. Of course, the excitement is often short lived when interview worries take over. Stressing about interviews is natural but you can take a deep breath and relax. This interview roadmap is the perfect cure to your interview jitters.

What to Do Before the Interview

Recall: After scheduling the interview, whether it is days or weeks away, candidates should revisit the cover letter and résumé that grabbed the recruiter’s attention. On average, recruiters only spend about six seconds looking over a résumé and few even read the cover letter. When a recruiter chooses you for an interview, chances are your resume said something he or she wanted to read. Use that as a starting point for research.

Research: The interview is all about finding the person behind the skills. Hiring managers look for a candidate’s personality and ability to fit culturally. That means a job seeker should know about the company, its products and its future. Hiring managers and recruiters also hope to see a candidate’s passion for the organization and its work, so it is important that the potential hire actually understands all those pieces. If you feel you are a perfect fit, be prepared to articulate why.

What to Bring to the Interview

Attire: Be sure to have the right attire. In today’s more casual work environments, the “dress as though you have the job” rule just doesn’t work. Liz Ryan, CEO and Founder of Human Workplace, suggests taking time to look at the company’s social media accounts to see how people dress in the office each day. Then, take that attire up a notch. For example, if employees wear khakis and polos, then throw on a casual button-up and nice jacket with a tie.

Resumes: Candidates should bring a few copies of their résumé. This allows them to offer printed copies to the interviewer or interviewers. It also acts as a bit of a “cheat sheet” since résumés should vary based on the company or position. Some interviews allow candidates to tour the office and meet the team, so having an extra résumé or two in case a potential new manager would like to read it will leave a lasting impression.

References: Some job applications require references and some do not. Either way, bringing a few trusted professional contacts will show initiative as well as confidence. If a candidate isn’t afraid to proactively hand over previous business partners or employers, chances are they have very little to hide.

Questions: The answers a candidate provides are just as telling as the questions he or she asks. Interviewers are hoping the interviewee has been invested in the conversation enough to have developed their own curiosities. Candidates should bring a pen and notepad so they may jot down any questions they have during the interview. Of course, that doesn’t mean they cannot come prepared with smart job interview questions.

How to Follow Up

This is quite possibly the last chance a candidate has with this employer. Be quick to thank the interviewer for his or her time, and reach out to the recruiter as well. If there’s a way to send a handwritten note, try it, but the seeker should always follow up via email the day after the interview.