This is the final part of our three part series on the Interview Process. You can read up on Part One - Applying Online and Part Two - Phone Interviews.
About a decade ago, I (Andrea) was going through an interview process with a company. I had finally made it to the in-house, face-to-face interview and was feeling good about things. The job would be close to home. It was in a totally different field than I was used to working, and I really needed a change. I was ready for the interview.
I sat in a room at a large table with three other individuals. We chatted about work, and life, and everything was extremely comfortable. I was having a great time. Then someone asked me about a previous boss. They wanted to know why I had only been with that company for 30 days before leaving. It was an extremely valid question.
I answered, telling them about the office environment, and then said something like, “and everyone just thought he was a total asshole.” As soon as that sentence came out of my mouth, I knew I was done. I continued talking, explaining everything about the previous company and my experience, yet all the while in my head I was screaming at myself. What the hell did you say that for??!!!
I didn’t get that job.
Here are 4 tips for you to remember when you’re in the process of a face to face interview.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a musician, a baker, a day care owner, an office manager or a web developer. If you’re meeting someone who can potentially become your client or customer, you need to dress appropriately. Clean, simple, strong, comfortable. You should not wear an “F- You” t-shirt, nor should you show up in yoga pants. (Even if you’re applying to be a yoga instructor!) When you work from home, you tend to dress way, way down a lot, and it’s not good for business.
Be Comfortable, But not too Comfortable
The fact that I swore in an interview was such a huge mistake. I was too comfortable. The interviewers were really nice, and I felt relaxed and happy and I made the mistake of being more friendly and less “interviewee.” Maintain some professional composure. You can be friendly without being their best friend. (That can come later, after you secure the job.)
Sell Yourself, Not Someone Else
I’ve actually sold myself out of a job before. I tried the old Macy’s/Gimbel’s trick of telling a potential client that perhaps she might want to use several different VAs based on their knowledge of certain things. Again, my mouth kept talking and the longer I went on, the more I realized I was selling other people and not myself. It was over an hour talk, and after that I never heard from her again. Stay focused on yourself and your product.
Always ask questions of the other person. You’re interviewing them as well to see if they fit into your business, too. Asking thoughtful questions about the client’s business, or what it is they’re needing, can often show that you’ve been thinking about them outside of the formal interview and make them realize you will put in extra effort for them.
You probably aren’t going to get every job/customer/client that you interview with, but as long as you stay focused and remember what you’re doing and why you’re there (and don’t swear!), you’ll be successful in your interview.
Frankie and Andrea take turns sharing stories. Just good talk over a cup of coffee.