Preparing For a Face-To-Face Interview

The face-to-face interview is typically the 2nd step in the process (following the phone interview). This in-person meeting allows the interviewer to get a better feel for the candidate’s qualifications, presentation & communication skills as well as professional appearance. The candidate is also ‘interviewing’ the interviewer, to determine if the opportunity is in line with their professional goals & values.

1. The Basics

a. Be Early! There is absolutely nothing worse than being late to an interview. Candidates are rarely given a job offer after being late to an interview. Give yourself plenty of time to get there.

b. Attire – Look sharp! This face-to-face interview will be business professional. Polish your shoes, press your suit.

c. De-clutter – Your briefcase/computer bag should be organized and neat. It assures the interviewer that you are an organized professional and it also allows easy access to retrieve any documents you may need.

d. Turn your cell phone off.

2. Collateral

a. You will want to have several copies of your resume (check with us to make sure we have not shortened or modified yours), your brag book (with a list of key contacts), and a printed copy of your interview confirmation email with all of your interview details.

b. Optional collateral (All of these are recommended-ask your FG contact if it appropriate to bring to 1st or 2nd interview)

i. Potential Customer Lists (Potential customers that you have a relationship with should come first)

ii. 30/60/90 day plan or some sort of business plan

iii. 3-4 customer references (hiring manager may or may not ask for these and it is better to have them handy)

iv. Competitive Analysis – highlighting their products in comparison to their competitors

3. Preparation – Most candidates who are participating in the face-to-face interview have spent between 3-4 hours researching the company, its products, company history, and competitors. Additionally, most have made outside inquiries to learn more about the reputation of the company and their people. Have some good questions prepared and expect to be asked a series of questions about your background and objectives. See below for some examples. Prepare examples that show you meet their requirements. Whenever possible use real-life specific examples to illustrate your relevant skills and experience in action (problems solved, innovations, built/re-built relationships, identified opportunities, generated business, greater efficiency). A word of caution: be careful not to get bogged down in providing too much detail. Pare responses to the minimum, usually 2-3 sentences. They will ask for more information if they need it. Now more than ever, hiring managers want to know how you would go about driving revenue for their company. Remember, deep down, they want to know how you can help them achieve their goals. Help them see how you can!

Identify gaps where the hiring manager may be looking for something that you don’t have. Don’t ignore them and hope for the best. Be proactive in thinking about how you might close the gap or perhaps minimize your weakness(es). We all want to stand out, but for the right reasons. Be aware of anything about your resume that could be a potential problem (out of work for several months, lived abroad, have never worked in their industry), and think about how this could become your unique selling point. Ask your FloodGate Liaison to give you objective advice and address your resume weaknesses.

Next to each point, write a list of reasons why this could be a positive. If, for example, you’ve taken time out to care for your children, explain why this makes you a solid, grounded candidate who’s taken time to find out what you really want. If you’re new to the industry, explain why or how this gives you an advantage of a completely different approach, which could bring a new dimension to the sales force.

4. Tools – Use a variety of research sources, when preparing for a job interview. Remember to consider the source and its validity

before accepting it as fact (e.g. Café Pharma posts are riddled with disgruntled (usually underperforming) employees who are frustrated with their employers – not exactly the most objective information! People who are happy and successful don’t have time or reasons to post). Key things to investigate: Company history, leadership, stability, financials, training, pipeline, turnover, product quality, opportunities and challenges, upward mobility and culture.

a. Be enthusiastic! – Without a doubt, the #1 reason for candidates not being advanced to a final interview is lack of enthusiasm and interest. If you are not sincerely interested in learning more about this position, call Floodgate and we will cancel the interview.

b. Close – If at all possible, find out what the next step is (when, where, with who, etc) before the interview is over.

c. Follow up – Email the interviewer stating your interest and appreciation for his/her time.