Spectrum's Comprehensive Interview Guide
Welcome to our comprehensive job interview guide, where we will equip you with the essential tools and techniques to instill the confidence needed to conquer any job interview, whether it's in-person, on the phone, or via video. Preparation is the foundation of success, regardless of the interview format and most of the following information applies in any interview setting.
Delve into the company's background and familiarize yourself with its people and the position you're applying for. Crafting thoughtful questions will impress your potential employers and demonstrate your genuine interest in the role. Throughout any interview, let your personality shine through with politeness, friendliness, and professionalism.
Answer questions confidently, providing specific examples to illustrate your accomplishments. Remember, confidence is admirable, but steer clear of crossing the line into overconfidence. A vital tip: refrain from speaking ill of your current or past employers, no matter the circumstances.
Polishing your interview etiquette is crucial. For in-person interviews, ensure punctuality and dress professionally. During virtual interviews, make sure your technology works smoothly and present yourself professionally on phone and video calls. Maintain positive body language, whether through a firm handshake or a warm smile on screen.
Be it an in-person meeting, a phone call, or a video interview, the key to success lies in thorough preparation and genuine enthusiasm. So, let's dive into this interview guide, arming you with timeless tips to ace any interview format with finesse and confidence!
Get to know the company, the people, and the position. If you haven’t already done so, check out their website and familiarize yourself with who they are and what they do. Review the job description and any additional notes you have on the role. Browse the LinkedIn profiles of those you are meeting with (if available). It’s nice to put faces to names and see what connections you already may share.
Have a few job / company-related questions ready. Good examples include:
- What are the immediate challenges I can expect in this position?
- How do you measure success in this role and what value does this position add to the company?
- When was the last time your company implemented an idea that came from someone outside the leadership team?
- How would you describe your team dynamic and company culture?
- How do you see this role collaborating with your own in the future?
- Take a few copies of your resume and a notebook (or have them in front of you). Your resume should already be tailored to the job for which you are interviewing and hopefully, you are well-familiar with it. Your notebook should include reminders of key items you want to talk about such as technical examples of your work that relate to their product and need and the job/company-related questions you have prepared. Try not to focus on your notes while interviewing, but have them available to glance at in case you need a little help. Have a pen handy if/when it’s appropriate for you to jot something down.
- Get your tech in check. Specifically for video interviews, do all you can to avoid technical difficulties on your end. Check your video and audio systems PRIOR to the call. Video-conferencing platforms generally work best on a laptop or PC but most have phone apps as well. Experiment beforehand to see what works best for you. Test your camera to make sure you are well-lit, in-frame and the background is acceptable. Check your microphone and speakers so you can hear and be heard. Be sure you have a strong, reliable WiFi connection. Download any necessary software (Teams, Zoom, etc.). For telephone interviews, be sure your device is charged and not likely to drop the call.
Be a S.T.A.R.! When asked about past performance: Briefly explain the SITUATION or challenge you were faced with. Describe the TASK at hand; what was your role? What specific ACTION did you take to resolve the issue? Then quantify the RESULTS using real data. Be ready to field follow-up questions such as, “What were you most proud of?” and “What would you have done differently?” Be ready but don’t just blurt out a canned answer.
Let the brightest part of your personality shine. SMILE, be polite, cordial, and friendly. You will be working with these people, let them know you are not a dud. Don’t be nervous, you are getting to know them just as they are getting to know you. Be humble, polished, and professional. Confidence is cool, cockiness could cost you!
Take your time when answering questions. The best responses often come after a moment of reflection. Your answers should be thorough and to the point. Include specific situations and examples of what actions you took to ensure success. Don’t rush and don’t over-share, less is more.
Remember to ask questions. Opportunities to make inquiries should occur organically throughout the conversation. Don’t be afraid to jump in! At the very least, utilize the end of the interview to ask some solid questions. A unique, insightful question is a great way to stand out from the crowd and be remembered. “When do I start” may be memorable in the wrong way and you’ll definitely want to hold off on the questions about compensation.
Do not trash talk current or previous employers! Even when they deserve it. Even when the world deserves to know the truth. Even if they were in the wrong. Even if they hurt your feelings. Just don’t do it. This is one of the top ways we see otherwise qualified candidates blow it. You’ll likely be asked about why you left or are open to leaving; use some tact. Don’t make it personal and don’t point fingers. It is possible to describe professional and/or philosophical differences without throwing shade.
AVOID THE FOLLOWING TOPICS: Race, Color, National Origin, Religion, Politics, Sex, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Pregnancy Status, Disabilities, Age, Genetic Information, Medical Information, Citizenship, Marital Status, Number of Children, etc. Not only are these personal subjects but it is illegal for interviewers to ask about many of them, according to EEOC guidelines. If one of these topics does come up, stay poised and professional in your response. There is a very good chance the interviewer is not trying to be discriminatory. In most situations, you can offer a brief, vague answer and steer the conversation elsewhere.
DO NOT BE LATE! Arrive on location at least ten minutes BEFORE your scheduled interview time and enter the building five to ten minutes early. Not showing up on time, no matter what the reason, could get you eliminated from consideration! For phone and video meetings, be available to join at least five minutes BEFORE your scheduled interview time. Make sure you are in an area free from distractions and interruptions. Turn off other devices, alerts, etc.
- Look the part. Groom and get dressed. It seems like common sense, but it’s not. Take a shower, brush your teeth, do your hair, and wear deodorant but avoid strong perfume or cologne. Most on-site interviews will recommend business casual attire. Dress to impress, professionally. This goes for remote interviews as well. Even though you’re interviewing virtually you will want to be the best-dressed person in the “room”. Do your best to look as presentable on screen as you would in person. And don’t forget to WEAR PANTS!
- Mind your body language. Sit up straight, speak clearly, listen intently, and hold eye contact. Even over the phone, folks can tell when you’re not focused (and they can hear your SMILE). During video calls, remember to focus on the camera lens rather than yourself, especially while you are talking. In any case, be comfortable but remain focused and engaged no matter how long the interview lasts.
- Follow up! Remember to thank the interviewer(s) for their time and consideration. Don’t hesitate to send a follow-up email, if appropriate. If you’re working with Spectrum, please let US know how the interview went ASAP! We’ll be cheering for you!
Above all, remember to be yourself, for authenticity is key in connecting with interviewers. Celebrate your strengths and embrace any challenges with poise. LISTEN closely and answer succinctly. Even in the face of nerves, trust in your preparation and shine brightly throughout the interview process.
We wish you the best of luck on your journey to landing your dream job. Go forth with confidence, armed with the invaluable tips you've gathered here. The world is waiting to witness your greatness, and we have no doubt that you will have a remarkable impact wherever you go. May your interviews be filled with success and your future be bright as you embark on this exciting career path. Cheers to your achievements and to the limitless possibilities that lie ahead!
Please REACH OUT if you need any further assistance landing and preparing for interviews.
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