Before the Interview
There will be parts of the interview that
you can not control. However, there are parts of the overall process which you can
control, perhaps even completely control. You should help yourself in everyway you can by
focusing on those aspects of the process you control and let of the rest of the process
take care of it. Preparation for the interview is an aspect which you can deliver.
We are firm believers in having candidates know about the firm and have questions in that
regard answered prior to the first interview, be that over a telephone or in a face to
face situation. Nothing is less impressive than a candidate that didn't take the interview
(with whom is perhaps a future employer) seriously enough to bother to do a little
research prior to the interview.
Atchison Staffing serves the medical technology niche and all of our clients have a
significant web presence. We will be sure to give you the client's URL and will be
thorough in our sharing information with you, but at some point prior to the first
conversation with the client, you should take time to visit the client's web site to
familiarize yourself with the client and their services.
There are several web sites which we use to answer small questions when we are researching
new or potential client firms. We like to use Google.com to run searches on the firm's
name, director's names and product names to get a feel for the firm's presence in the
space. It is not uncommon to be able to find competitors and information not on the
company's web site through articles found through Google. We have found that Whatis.com (http://www.whatis.com) is great online resource to find
answers to terms and phrases that may be new to us or used in new contexts. If you notice
a term or acronym which is unfamiliar to you, look it up.
Prior to your conversations with a potential employer, we would hope that most of your
questions regarding the position and the firm are answered by one of us, their web site or
We really don't like the "Dress for Sucking Up" approach to interview
preparation, but the old school thinking still does have some merit. We won't bore you
with suggestions on what to wear other than to remember that first impressions really do
count. How do you find out what is the normal dress culture in a firm...well for one, your
recruiter should know the answer, but a little personal recognizance is good.
Understanding that it's not always possible for a candidate to make a visit to see what is
being worn by the rest of the employees; one can ask one of our staff what the culture of
the firm is all about. We have visited with people in the company (in some cases many,
many times) and feel confident in our ability to communicate the "fit and
finish" of the firm to you so that you can feel confident during that initial visit.
Of course, you need not take our advice on what to wear. Please do keep in mind that this
is not an Oscar "Red Carpet" experience in any sense of the concept. Christian
Dior is a little over the top but Levi Straus may fall a little short.
Within the arena of what one should wear falls terms such as: clean, pressed, fitted and
I always polish my shoes before an important meeting. Interviews would fall into the
"important meeting" category. I don't think that the shine of the shoes is a
critical factor in the meetings success, but rather I find that the level of detail that I
put into the process of preparation helps me feel comfortable during the event. Polishing
seems to be a part of my preparation process that calms me. I think about the event as I
polish. You will probably find some other mundane thing to calm you also.
The same basic concept of interview preperation works well with hair, nails, teeth and
One thing I do when I go to a client face to face is wear a "uniform." Not a
real uniform mind you, but pretty much I wear the same outfit everywhere I go. Oh I might
change the tie (or not wear one), or have a different color of shirt (usually white), but
I don't sit around fussing over what I should wear. The bulk of the time prior to an
interview should be spent learning about the firm. The expectation that you will have done
that prior to the interview is real and the trend for that expectation is growing.
How are you going to get to the interview? If you are driving like most people do, is the
vehicle filled with gas BEFOFE you need to leave? Of course arriving late because you were
low on fuel would be a bad example of your ability to plan. Even if you make it on time
but found yourself glancing at the gauge and fretting while on your way to the interview
could create a level of tension that starts your interview off in a negative way. Of
course also, starting late because of the fuel stop and then getting a ticket for speeding
will really start the interview process out in a negative manner (duh!). Plan your travel
ahead of the need.
There will be things that happen that you
can not plan for. Our youngest daughter was on her way to an interview a couple of years
ago. While she was driving, a woman lost control of her car and smashed into the side of
my daughters. Luckily the woman had insurance, admitted fault and the car was eventually
repaired very well. But this was on the way to an interview. She made it a tad late, and
just as the interview was ending, the interviewer just casually asked how out daughters
day was going. When the story of the accident came forth, the interviewer was
flabbergasted. Daughter was cool and calm during the interview and never let on that she
was having a very bad "hair day." Oh, and she did get the job. You certainly can
not plan for a car accident on the way to the interview, but you can plan and execute a
plan for most of it.
Remember to "Google" the address and print a copy of the map (perhaps in several
levels of magnification). Read those directions and understand them. It's bad form to get
lost going to an interview. Please remember to take your cell phone (which you will turn
off ring for the interview...right?). You should take a copy of the phone number for both
your recruiter and the interviewer. If something goes very wrong and you will be delayed,
call your recruiter first (they can help contact your interviewer as you continue to drive
like a maniac).
Prepare yourself for
questions and question threads which may be asked. Employers sometimes use behavioral
interviews as a means of predicting future success through past performance. A behavioral
question will sometimes start out with a, "tell about a time when" or a,
"describe a situation where"...and the interviewer will be looking for hear an
answer that indicates a trait that the hiring guru has determined will more accurately
predict the future performance. You
might consider going over in your head, those key situations you have found yourself
in...firing an employee...a deadline that was seemingly unrealistic...a budget issue.
There are not many things more unnerving in an interview (for all parties) than that long
pause as one tries to think of an answer. By thinking of potential situations prior to the
interview, you may be able to avoid the long and awkward pauses.
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