- On May 10, 2019
Have you ever felt like you did everything you could do to prepare for an interview? If so, that means you didn’t have this checklist! Here are the ten interview commandments:
- Read the company website (and SEC disclosures if the company is public). Look up the latest news facing the company and especially in your area (privacy, antitrust, IP, product/services, etc.). Sometimes you will be specifically asked what you know about the company, so prepare a smart sound bite.
- Use the company’s keywords in the interview, and position yourself in a way the company cares about. Do not stuff every nugget you learned into every answer.
- Anticipate common questions like “walk me through your resume” and “what are your relevant skills.” Come up with at least three short stories/examples relating to this job. Fit them into the interview when you can. Time yourself to make sure they fall within 60 to 90 seconds.
- Prepare a list of questions that show you researched the company. Work them in throughout the interview and at the very end when they ask the dreaded “do you have any questions for me.” It’s the kiss of death not to have any questions for the interviewer.
- Find out what they expect you to wear. Ask the internal or external recruiter, or call the receptionist and ask what he or she is seeing. In the Bay Area, interviewees generally wear business casual (or even nice jeans for startups), but every once in a while an employer unexpectedly wants to see a formal suit.
- Know exactly where the interview site is and how you will get there. Try to do a dry run in similar traffic conditions, or at least consult Google maps at different times of day to find out how bad traffic will be. I have seen great candidates blow it because they were flustered when they inexcusably showed up late. Have handy the contact info of people at the company in case the doors or locked or interviewers are running late.
- Ask for the list of interviewers two days before the interview, and research each profile. See who you know in common, anticipate what they care about, and ask questions specific to that person. If you can’t get the lineup, research the legal team online and figure out through LinkedIn likely interviewers.
- Figure out the general compensation range for this job because HR will likely ask you what you’re expecting, and you should have some sort of answer. Ways to find out what they pay or what is market include researching online (https://www.linkedin.com/salary/ or Glassdoor), asking friends at similar levels and spaces, and asking recruiters (yes, you should have a warm relationship before you make this ask).
- Present with the right tone and body language. Do a mock interview with a friend and find out before the actual interview if you tend to speak too softly or loudly, stand too close or far, make too much or little eye contact, or have a too firm or clammy handshake. Before the interview, do not hunch over your phone. Stand tall, and exude positivity and confidence! If you are a shy person, you must get to the interview warmed up and ready to charm. It is not your interviewer’s job to make you feel comfortable. It is *your* job to make the interview flow. For everyone, start the interview with an authentic smile and thank you.
10. Tell the interviewer you want the job and why. It should not be a mystery how you feel about the job or what the interviewer remembers about you afterwards. I have seen strong candidates lose out when interviewers weren’t sure if the candidates were interested when they actually were!