4 Tips to Conquer the Face-to-Face Interview

· by Tricia Hutchinson

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So you’ve made it past the phone interview and have been invited for a face-to-face interview. Congratulations! Now to prepare for the next phase. There are countless recommendations and aspects of a successful face-to-face interview. Below you’ll find four main recommendations to keep in mind.

Come prepared 

If you walk into the lobby a few minutes late, know nothing about the company to which you’ve applied, and haven’t brought anything with you, your face-to-face interview will not likely go well.

Make sure that you have prepared! Arrive no more than 5 minutes early, even if you have to sit in the parking lot for 10-15 minutes. The alternative is to show up 15 minutes early resulting in a flustered and in a rush interviewer because they needed that 15 minutes to finish what they were already working on.

It is vital that you research the company and the people who will be interviewing you. If you don’t know about the company and at least the title and general background of the people you’ll be meeting with, you’re going in blind and will come across as unprepared and not interested in the opportunity. The interviewers may see the interview as a waste of their time because you didn’t take the time to prepare and learn what you could before coming in for a face-to-face interview.

It is also important to bring copies of your resume and a portfolio or notebook with you. Don’t assume that your interviewers will already have a copy of your resume. Also – it is helpful to have your resume in front of you in case you need to take a cursory glance at it to remember dates of employment and/or key accomplishments.


Be confident, not cocky 

While you may be the best in your field, if you come across as cocky, unless the company is desperate, you won’t get an offer. Be self-assured, secure, and convincing when you answer questions but make sure that you don’t come across as a know-it-all.

When you’re asked about a topic, process, software, etc. that you are not familiar with, be honest. Let your interviewer(s) know that you are not directly familiar with what they are asking about, but kindly ask your interviewer to clarify. You may then be able to relate it to something else that you are familiar with; assure your interviewer(s) that you are able to learn quickly and are eager to broaden your horizons.

Absolutely do not speak in a condescending manner in the interview. Whether you’re taking about a process, an industry, a previous co-worker, former employer, etc. Do not be arrogant or show distain for something or someone else.


Interview your interviewers 

You’ve heard it before, you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. While it may sound cliché, it is nonetheless true. Take time before the interview to think about what you already know about the company and interviewer(s), and what you would like to know and/or hear about directly from them.

Make sure to ask questions for understanding. Don’t try to pin down your interviewer(s) or paint them into a corner. In addition to having prepared questions, make sure to be flexible enough to come up with additional questions on the fly depending on where the conversation leads.

The face-to-face interview should be a dialogue, not a monologue.


Always ask about next steps 

I’m not quite sure why, but it often seems that after a face-to-face interview candidates don’t know what the next steps entail and when they can expect to receive feedback. A successful interview will always end with a brief exchange about next steps. If the interviewer(s) do not wrap-up the interview by telling you about next steps, it is YOUR job to ask.

When asking, do not come across as demanding a date and time when you’ll hear back. Simply ask the interviewer(s) what the next steps entail. If you receive an answer that doesn’t include a time frame, follow-up by asking about timing.

By asking about next steps you are showing gratitude toward the interviewer(s) for their time. In addition, this shows that you are interested in the position and would like to hear positive feedback. Also, if you have other activity and/or other offers, make sure you communicate that information to the interviewer(s). This will allow the interviewer(s) and hiring manager to have an idea of how quickly they may need to move towards the approval for an offer and/or to additional face-to-face interviews if there are other candidates in process as well.


Well, there you go! You are now one step closer to a successful face-to-face interview.