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Are Interview Thank You Notes Necessary?

You've just walked out of your first, second or third interview. This is a good time to grab a coffee and take 15 minutes to make some notes from the interview.

  • What the people were like? Write a couple of points on the back of their business cards (which you remembered to ask for).
  • How did you do?
  • Any questions you forgot to ask?
  • Why you still want the job?
  • Why you are the right person for the job?

Later that same day, sit down and compose your Thank You email. Remember, if you were interviewed by a panel then you want to send a personalized email to each person. Your Thank You should be sent out within 48 hours.

Why?

You want them to read the email and remember you. And there’s no point in sending out an email after they have made their decision.

Your email should be formal, starting with, "Dear Person's Name" and ending with, "Sincerely Your Name, Contact Info".

The body of your email should be 3 or 4 paragraphs (4 maximum).

First paragraph will be a general thank you for meeting you and what a pleasure it was to learn more about your company, etc.

Second paragraph will reiterate your skills and why you now feel like this is the job for you.

Third paragraph – “I'm looking forward to hearing from you at my number/email below.”


A few final things:

  • Keep it short, sweet and positive.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread!

 

And the last thing to do - cross your fingers and wait for your job offer!


5 Tips to Help Keep the Jitters out of the Interview

Interviews are stressful. Whether this is your dream job you are interviewing for, a promotion, or your first job, there are little things you can do to help ease the stress. There are very few people in the world who don't get pre-interview jitters. These jitters will be worse if you are not prepared for your interview. Here are our 5 tips for helping to get you to the interview with a few less jitters.  

DON'T BE LATE

There is no valid excuse for being late to an interview. You should plan on being there at least 10 to 15 minutes early. You don't need to check in until 5 minutes before but at least be in the building 10 to 15 minutes before the interview. This allows you to go to the washroom and check your hair, teeth, wash your hands and relax before you are called in.

DO A PRACTICE RUN

If you aren't sure where you are going or where parking is or how long it will take, then do a practice run. Schedule your practice run around the same time as the interview if you can to get a feel for traffic flow and/or public transportation glitches. Nothing worse than being on the subway and having an emergency stoppage. Find that nearest taxi stands and get going.

PREPARE YOUR OUTFIT THE NIGHT BEFORE

Yes, lay out your whole outfit. Hopefully you have picked up your suit from the cleaners ahead of time! This is also a good way to know if you must leave earlier to pick up a new pair of nylons. Are your shoes shined? Yes, people do still shine their shoes or at least get the dust and grime off of them! Remember don't overdo the cologne or perfume, if possible just don't use any. Cleanliness and hygiene is more important than your cologne.

PREPARE YOUR KIT

Take a couple of extra hard copies of your resume with you. They will ask you questions relating to your resume, so this gives you the chance to reread it before your interview. Kleenex, a couple of safety pins, a charged phone, and breath mints, can come in handy in case of an emergency. Don't forget to put in a hard copy of your references (that you have prepped ahead of time) just in case the interview goes really well, and they want to move to the next stage.

FIND OUT HOW TO PRONOUNCE THE INTERVIEWER'S NAME

In our multi-cultural Canada, it's important to verify how to pronounce the person's name. The last thing you want to do is walk in and say "Hi Mr/Mrs ........" and have them say "well my name is .........". Ask your recruiter, phone the actual company and ask for their extension - hopefully if you pronounce it wrong they will correct it for you. Write it down phonetically so you will remember the pronunciation.


Being prepared for your interview will help to set the tone for the whole interview. Let us know what little practices/rituals you do before an interview to help you start your interview off on the right foot.


Every interview is different. Each Interviewer uses different tactics. Most interviews start with trying to put you at ease by asking a little about yourself. There are the technical questions - you better be able to answer these questions – “you stated on your resume that you had the technical skills to be able to do the job.” Then come the off the wall questions - "what superhero would you be?"

 

"What strength would you bring to the position?" This is a standard question that you will be asked in most interviews. The best way to be prepared for this question is to sit down and write down your strengths from a previous position, or if you are a new graduate then experiences from school. Below are a few examples of strengths that can be expanded upon with your experience as they fit the job description:

  • Team Player
  • Time Management
  • Good at managing people
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Always finish my tasks
  • Good listener
  • Deal well with difficult customers/situations
  • Able to see the big picture
  • Good with detail
  • Pick out a skill from the job description, ie “With my strong web design, creative writing, phone skills, etc”, then expand on this strength.
  • Problem Solver
  • Able to juggle more than one task at a time
  • I am very good at listening and putting people at ease, this allows me to deal effectively with difficult situations. In my previous position there was a customer/employee…
  • Although I am a detail orientated person, I am also able to see the big picture, in my previous position (or while at school) I was assigned the task of…
  • My creativity has been tremendously helpful in designing web pages over the last 5 years. One particular webpage was just not… and I…

If you are having a hard time coming up with a strength, then ask your family, friends and co-workers. You will be surprised at what they come up with. Just don’t get too bloated from all the accolades, it is important to be a little humble with this question. You don’t want to come across as having an “I’m GREAT, I’m a STAR” attitude.


Don’t stress about this question, you have applied for the job because you know you can do it. Now tell them why and how. Be a "star".


10 Simple Tips to Remember As You Prepare For Your Interview

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that can make a difference. You can practice the answers to your interview questions until you can say them without a pause. You can research the company so that you know everything there is to know about them. And life throws you a curve ball. As you get ready to sit down you notice your fly is open. You go to shake hands and you drop your purse on the interviewer's foot. All that great preparation flies out the door as you try to calm yourself down and relax.

These are our 10 simple tips to get you through the door and sitting down feeling comfortable, relaxed and as confident as the person in your resume says you are:

Keep your dress professional

Seems pretty basic, but you would be amazed how many people show up for interviews realizing they had forgot to pick up their shirts at the drycleaners. Pick your outfit out the night before and make sure it is:

  • clean and crisp
  • a suit for men
  • a skirt and blouse, or basic business dress for ladies  
  • No sundresses or shorts

This is an interview not a date - don't overdo the makeup or wear too much jewelry. Gentlemen, do you shirt buttons up, and no gold chains hanging out. Polish or at least dust your shoes off.

No Perfume or Cologne 

Have a shower, put on some deodorant, nothing else is necessary. Why? A lot of companies/businesses are "no scent" zones. Imagine what would happen if the person who is interviewing you is sensitive to scents and has a reaction to your latest Hugo Boss cologne. They’ll reschedule if you are lucky!


How do you get to the Interview

Google it, and do a test run if you aren't sure. If you are driving make sure there is parking nearby. 9am and 5pm interviews mean rush hour. Be prepared for it to take 30 minutes longer to get there. Check the weather - rain and snow can add extra time to your trip. Be prepared!

Never be late for the Interview

It goes without saying that being late for an interview starts you off on the wrong foot.

And yes, there can be extenuating circumstances, but you better be able to prove them. "The dog ate the directions" won't work in the business world. And you'd better have called to at least let the interviewer know.

Be polite to everyone

That older lady in the elevator might be "mom" going to visit her son the interviewer. You don't want her saying anything negative about pushy people in the elevator. The person blocking your way into the bathroom might be one of the interviewers. Be polite to everyone all the time. It is a good road to travel down.

Verify how to pronounce the Interviewer's name

We live in a very multicultural country, let's try our best to pronounce names properly. Ask the recruiter or phone the company. Write it down phonetically and practice.

Keep your right hand free

Your right hand is needed for shaking hands as you enter the interview. Move your portfolio, purse, or extra copies of your resume to your left hand before you enter the office.

Just before you get to the Interview

Turn off your phone and tablet.

Chemistry is a very important part of the interview

It starts as soon as you enter the room. Smile, firm handshake, and speak clearly. Relax and take part in the conversation.

Tell me about yourself

This question is totally about relaxing you. Take your elevator pitch and expand it "a bit". The Coles Notes version versus the Game of Thrones version. Keep it professional.


Don't let a little thing muck up your interview. Be prepared for every aspect of the interview process. Remember they liked your resume - you look good on paper - now is the time to shine in person.

Good luck job hunting!


How to Survive a Video Interview

To think that 20 years ago every interview was set up as a F2F (face to face). That's right you went into the office, dressed to the nines - suit, skirt/dress, shined shoes all freshly scrubbed. There weren't any telephone interviews. Skype wasn't even invented. And now we have video interviews.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION.  HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR A VIDEO INTERVIEW?

Check your Equipment

You don't want your battery to run out before your interview is over so make sure everything is running smoothly. Clean the lens on your camera, nothing worse than a fingerprint showing up in the middle of your face. Practice with a friend so you can find the appropriate volume for a normal speaking voice. You don't want to have to yell and you don't want to miss the question because you can't hear the interviewer properly.

Where are you going to set up your Interview?

Find an area that is quiet from distractions. You don't want to hear the dog barking as people walk down your street. Make sure the area is clean and clutter free. If you are doing it in your bedroom you don't want the Sports Illustrated Bathing Suit calendar showing up in the picture. Empty or full beer bottles on your counter won't set a very good example.

Dress like you were meeting in Person

Dressing professionally makes you feel more in control and self-confident. So put your dress or suit and tie on, make-up, hair, shave. All the things you would do if you were heading to the office to meet the interviewer. Try not to wear white as it can look very bright through a camera, also busy patterns can be distracting.

Camera

Have your camera set up at a level so you are looking up just a little bit. This will emphasize your face more than your body and will make you look a little slimmer. It also helps to stop the camera from looking up your nose if you do a bit of a stretch. REMEMBER - don't look down or the interviewers will be looking at the top of your head. Look directly at the camera, maintain eye contact and smile.

 

Cheat Notes

Yes you can use cheat notes, perfect for writing down your interview questions, but remember that rustling paper can be picked up by the microphone and is very distracting. You also don't want your eyes roving around the room or looking down, leaving the interviewer looking at the top of your head.

Truthfully it isn't that much different than a F2F.

  • Be prepared - practice those interview questions and research the company.
  • Sit up tall and don't wiggle around too much.
  • Relax and speak clearly.
  • Remember to thank everyone for their time.

 

Don't treat a video interview lightly. You have to have the qualifications and you have to be able to sell yourself. All you are doing is using a different venue. So, Take 1 and wow them the first time.

 

Good luck job hunting!


What should you do after your Interview?

 

Interviews come in many shapes and forms. The telephone interview, the video interview, the first interview, progressing hopefully to the 2nd, 3rd and job offer stage. There are things you can do to help you through each stage and give you an advantage when you get the call for the next interview. As you leave the interview, smile, shake hands, ask for business cards, make sure to ask the always important question of "When do you expect to make a decision?" and then head over for a coffee to help settle those interview jitters. Don't just bask in the warmth of your favourite coffee (go ahead add extra sugar and cream) get out your phone, tablet or good old fashioned note book and start making notes about the interview.

WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE INTERVIEW?

  • How long did it last? First interviews should last between 30 minutes and an hour.
  • Were you relaxed? Did something happen that flustered you? It could just be a little thing, maybe you had your hard copy of your resume in your right hand which made it awkward to shake hands. Great next time you'll know to keep your right hand free. Were you running a little late? Nothing worse than running into your interview without a chance to catch your breath or take a minute to pat down your subway blown hair or check your teeth for broccoli.
  • Did your elevator pitch work? Was it too short, no personality, did you talk too fast. These are all things you can correct for the next step.

DID YOU PROVE YOU ARE QUALIFIED FOR THE JOB?

  • Did you do well on the technical and job description related questions? Write down the questions you can remember. Grade them – which ones need improvement, which ones you could expand on and how you could improve your answers for the next interview. Highlight your strong points and make sure to mention them in the “Thank you Note”.

DID YOU DAZZLE THEM WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE COMPANY?

  • You already have your questions written down that you asked them about the job and the company (RIGHT). Again, grade them, which ones impressed the interviewers, which ones were not answered to your satisfaction (ie future growth, training, etc).
  • Do you need to do more research on the company, especially on their plans for the future and where their growth is?

WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE

Some people are made to be in a supervisory position, other people find it very challenging. There is nothing wrong with either side. It is important for you to analyze yourself and decide if you like and want the extra challenges that go with supervising people.

  • After you have analyzed how the interview went go home and write a professional but personal thank you note.
  • Thank you for their time.
  • Expand on why you are a good fit for this position and the company. Be specific, don’t just generalize. “My background in leading and mentoring a team of 7 developers while at … will …..”
  • Tell them how much you enjoyed the interview and that you are looking forward to their call.

CONNECT/NETWORK

  • Should you connect on LinkedIn? Check them out for sure, if they have 500+ connections then go ahead and request a connection. If they only have a few connections then wait until you get the job. Should you connect on LinkedIn? Check them out for sure, if they have 500+ connections then go ahead and request a connection. If they only have a few connections then wait until you get the job.
  • Definitely follow their company accounts, ie Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Stay away from their personal accounts.

ARE YOU WORKING WITH A RECRUITER?

  • Call them after you finish your notes. Let them know what you thought of the interview and whether you want to pursue the job. Most recruiters have a good rapport with their clients and are able to get a good idea of how you did in the interview. What they liked about you and what you need to improve. These insights will help you in future interviews.

Every job interview is a learning experience. Be critical, be positive. Don't wing it. At the end of the interview, you need to decide do you want the job or not. Is this a company I want to work for, is it the environment I want to spend 5 days a week working in. Your notes and your analysis will help you make educated decisions in finding and attaining the right position for you.