Landing an onsite interview for a position you are excited about, is a huge win. Phone interviews are great for people who know how to “schmooze” and win a popularity contest. But onsite interviews are equal opportunity impression points! And once you are onsite, you need to make sure you make the best of the opportunity.
Showing Up – What You Need to Bring to the Interview
Dress for success, regardless.
If I have to review proper interview attire one more time, I may scream. In a nutshell (do you think of this when you see this word?) , wear a suit and dress your best. I know that there are a small number of companies (i.e., Google), who frowns upon a “corporate” look and feel during the interview process, but even if you are interviewing at a company that has a casual feel, you are still there to win them over. And nothing says, “I’m taking you seriously” more than presenting a polished visual.
Bring copies of your resume.
After applying for a position, we may take a closer look at our resume (ahem), and realize that there was a spelling error or perhaps some important relevant bullet points missing. Instead of making a big deal about it during the process, just be sure to bring updated resumes to the interview with you. Most interviewees will have copies of your resume already, but some may have forgotten to print it out. So be prepared, and supply them!
I usually recommend bringing three more than the number of people you are scheduled to meet with. I can’t tell you how many times, especially with a strong candidate, we have pulled other people into the interview room without warning, to try and tackle as many “meet and greets” as possible.
Package your resume materials as though they are marketing materials.
These said copies of your resume, need to be presented well. In other words, if you have a two-page resume, print it on one sheet of paper. Make sure that the print out is correct – top of the front of the page is also the top of the back of the page. Less paper means there is a better chance of all of your qualifications staying bundled in one neat little package.
Also, upgrade your paper. No, DO NOT go out and get that old school linen paper, but do spring for the white copy paper that is a bit thicker and has no see through/bleed through. (Did my paper/office supply nerdiness just come out?).
Create a portfolio.
People who work in fields that have outputs/deliverables such as graphic design or marketing, tend to instinctively know that they need to create a portfolio… and everyone else doesn’t have this on their radar. Every single candidate can WOW the interview team by bringing a portfolio.
But Melissa, how can I possibly have a portfolio if I work in HR/Finance/IT/enter field?
Oh, I’m so glad you asked. In every job, you deliver things. You work with people. You make sure that things get done. So look back and review all of these big blocks that you have worked on throughout your career, and figure out how to present them visually.
For example, if you worked in HR and was part of a major benefits package overhaul, you can print out a mini-brochure about what was delivered, or going even more basic – snag a graphic email or flyer that was used in promoting these changes.
If you worked in Finance and was part of a major cost savings that led to increased profits, save a copy of the press release or create a graph showing what your work’s impact was to the business.
This step will take some time as most likely you will be creating new materials, but the output is a visual win and gives you a talking map through the interview. It also roots your experience in ACTUAL projects and deliverables. The best part – one you create your portfolio, you can easily continue to build it up going forward.
Be prepared, but not a robot.
Finally, show up knowledgeable. Know about the company, what they value, what their mission is, and what the position is all about. Don’t be caught like a deer in headlights. Study the position and take the interview seriously. But don’t be too practiced. The whole point of an interview is to have a conversation – so listen to the flow, and respond appropriately. Don’t plan on a script or a “if he says this, I’ll answer that.”