Congrats! Your Gigstr application led to an interview with a company you’re interested in. The company meeting could be anything from a formal interview to a quick coffee. Now the real work begins. Here are five ways you might mess it up, and our suggestions for what to do instead.
1. Arriving unprepared
This isn’t a date, so a little light internet check-up is expected and even encouraged.
Run the company and even the person you’re meeting through Google. Read a few interviews and mention what you’ve read during the conversation. Your preparedness will show them two things: That you aren’t wasting their time by asking about things you could’ve found online, and that you care enough about the person and their company to do your own independent research.
2. Arriving late
In many business situations, if you’re on time, you’re late. Get there at least five minutes early. Consider hitting the restroom for a quick mirror check. If you’re in a subway city, take an earlier train than usual. If you’re in a car city, make a parking plan in advance. One more thing: Resist the urge to scroll through your phone while you’re waiting. The last thing you want is to have a weird Instagram or Facebook post on your screen when your connection arrives.
3. Not dressing the part
This varies from town to town and industry to industry. Our advice is to Image Search the person you’re meeting (and the industry you’re interested in) to get a sense of how they dress, then proceed accordingly. When in doubt, dress up. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed in these situations.
You know how your favorite actor always manages to tell pithy, amusing anecdotes every time he or she does the talk? It’s because they practice, practice, practice.
Even if you’ve done a hundred of these meetings, it never hurts to imagine the questions you think you might be asked and work through some brief, to-the-point responses. You don’t need to memorize a script! Just come prepared with a few thoughtful, short answers. (You can always ask a friend for help, especially if they’re in the industry you want into.)
5. Taking an interview without a clear purpose
Do you really want this job? This is the #1 question for you to ask yourself before agreeing to an interview. Is it just this role or are you generally interested in working at the company? Can you maybe see yourself at the company once you’re finished with your education? Open with this when you sit down with your counterpart.
Don’t leave the meeting without a clear action item if possible. Identify what the next steps are and when you’ll be expected to deliver what. And don’t forget to write a ‘Thank you’ note after the meeting. Nothing big, just a sentence or two telling the person thanks for taking up their time. You can also provide an update or clarify any confusing points at that time.
BONUS TIP: Be yourself
To prepare, practice and have a plan doesn’t mean you need to be some other than yourself. Don’t get inside your head too much. Trust us: Be yourself, and you’ll do great.