How to Survive a Job Interview.

Going on an interview is terrifying. Well, that and public speaking, but that's for another day. While the idea of an interview is daunting and preparing for it can bring on so much anxiety, I've found ways on how to help me get through them. Depending on the context of the interview and your experience these may or may not apply, but these little tidbits have helped me over the years.

Before the interview -

Research, the company.

I cannot stress this enough. Research everything you can about the company, so you are well educated about their product/service, culture, etc. Look at their website, social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) Doing this is an excellent way to also think of any questions that you may have for them if you are unclear or curious about something.

Research your interviewer.

It's not unheard of to look up your interviewer or your potential team on LinkedIn; this is a great way to learn more about them and see if there is anything you have in common. Maybe you both went to the same school? Worked in the same place at a different time? Know a mutual friend?

Research the role.

This is a given. Understand what the potential role is going to be and prepare any questions you may have.

Google Maps is your friend.

Look up the location the day before and check it out on street view. It's good to know where you can hang out if you get there early (which you should) and see what the parking situation is like in case you have to park far and walk.

Prepare your materials and clothes the day before.

You never know what kind of curve balls life is going to throw at you. Last minute errands, car not starting, printer not working, etc. It's best to have everything ready to go just in case you have any delays - that and hey, at least you have one less thing to think about!

  • Things to prepare (if applicable):

  • Resumes (multiple copies)

  • Business Cards

  • Portfolio

  • Notebook

  • Pen (yes, a pen, it is so unprofessional to ask your interviewer for a pen.)

  • Leave behind (If you have one. Typically in the creative industry it's nice to leave something behind. i.e., Pins, stickers, etc. -- something they can remember you by. I have waffle stickers!)

Day-of interview -

Get an early start.

Wake up early and give yourself PLENTY of time to prepare and travel. (Especially here in Los Angeles, give yourself at LEAST an hour.

Wear something that'll make you feel comfortable and confident!

Ask your recruiter what the dress code is. Sometimes it's business casual, sometimes it super causal, BUT always air on the side of caution and just wear something business casual. Me? I like to wear black dresses, my long vest cape, and booties. It's my go-to interview "uniform." If I have multiple interviews, chances are I'm wearing the same thing so that I don't have to stress out about it.

Get there early.

I like to show up 10-15 min early to the actual lobby, but will typically be around the area at least 45 min first. I look for a coffee shop nearby where I can catch up on a few things and then make my way to the office. Giving yourself enough time allows you to freshen up, recollect your thoughts, and re-center yourself, so get there early!

Get off your phone.

When you're waiting in the lobby avoid looking at your phone you never know who might be looking at you while you're waiting and it's not professional to see someone just scrolling through social media. If they have magazines, look through them or bring a notebook to write down your thoughts or go over your notes. Also, make sure to silence that bad boy, no one needs to know you're getting a text message or a phone call - it'll also help that reptilian brain of yours that is anxiously waiting to see what it is. Note: Some places are a little more laid back, and this might not even apply, but proceed with caution.

A handshake and eye contact.

Give a great handshake and maintain good eye contact during your interview.

Ask questions.

Being curious is good. As someone who was once the interviewer, it's nice when a candidate is interested in learning more about the role/company. Some questions can be:

  • "What's the culture like here?"

  • "What does a day in the life look like?"

  • "Where do you see yourself/team/company in the next two years?"

  • "What are some places that you'd like to see some improvement that this role can help with?"

Avoid talking about pay unless brought up by the interviewer.

I only say this because it can get awkward, but it depends on the circumstances. But if you aren't sure, then it's best to leave it for your recruiter. Typically, once you're past the screening process and get in front of your interviewer, you've already spoken about it with your recruiter.

After the interview -

Send a thank you email.

If you have access to the interviewer's email, send them a follow-up email thanking them for their time and whatever next steps you may have with them. I usually wait until the day after. Something quick and simple - don't get too sappy and long.

Follow up.

If you haven't heard back from your recruiter (or whoever your point person is), send a friendly follow up. I would usually give it up two friendly reminders before I move on.

Final Thoughts?

They're humans too so don't worry! An interview is just a conversation between two people. Don't freak out. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Most importantly, breathe!