David Clarke is CEO and co-founder of BGT Partners, a 2010, 2011 and 2012 Ad Age Top 15 Best Places to Work in the U.S. honoree. BGT creates interactive marketing and technology solutions for global corporations that strengthen brands, develop more engaging relationships, and transform businesses.
What does it take to land your dream job? In this digital era, job candidates have a plethora of tools at their disposal to help them ace the interview, including advice websites, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
But how exactly should someone use these to their advantage? Here are ten tips for landing the gig of your dreams.
1. Research, Research, Research
A likely first question any interviewer will ask is, “what does our company do?” This seems like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at the number of people that have no clue. If you’re not prepared to discuss the company, they probably don’t want you.
Take the time to know the company inside and out. Research what they do, follow their social-media pages, and understand the industry and the competitors. Basically, have the company’s elevator pitch down pat. To be safe, practice it on a friend.
2. Connect Before the Interview
As you’re researching the company on their social media pages make sure to like some of their posts, leave a comment or two, and re-tweet what you find interesting. The reality is that you never know who might be watching. Many recruiters prefer finding talent via Facebook and LinkedIn rather than through a job site like Monster.
Does the company sponsor or organize any events? If so, show up at some of them and meet the representatives from the company. They can serve as a good “in” to the people who are hiring. If possible, connect with this person on LinkedIn afterwards.
3. Build Your Social Presence
Are you popular in the social sphere? Do you blog, Yelp, and have a ton of friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter? If so, great. You want to continue to build your social presence. If you haven’t flexed your social muscles yet, then you better get going! This is a critical way that recruiters assess how passionate you are about digital.
4. Be Prepared
Find out how the interview will be structured and plan accordingly. Determine who your interviewers will be, find out as much about them as possible, and then impress them with your knowledge.
Also, make sure you ask questions. Questions that haven’t been thought through very well leave a bad impression. Write questions down ahead of time and be precise, but don’t overdo it.
Another big item is the company’s dress code. Check out their Facebook page, look for photos in the news. People want to see how you assimilate into a culture. That said, always dress one step up from the code.
5. Arrive Early
Arrive at least fifteen minutes ahead of the scheduled start time. The interviewers are scheduling their days around you so be ready to go. If you are going to be late, it better be for an excellent reason. Call and let the person who is waiting for you know.
6. Be Flexible
Don’t bring up money in the first interview. It positions you poorly. Acknowledge that you appreciate being trained and will be a strong asset in the future. Remember that it’s not about what you get paid the first day. It’s what you end up getting paid the first year.
That being said, if the company really likes you then money might come up so be prepared with a realistic number. There are some good sites that offer salary estimates. Feel free to take those into consideration, but not as the final word.
7. Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself
Companies want people with diverse interests. If you like to work in different areas, let that be known and don’t pigeonhole yourself into one department. Also, don’t feel shy about sharing your hobbies and interests. Varying interests bring character and color to a company’s culture.
8. Think Career, Not a Job
Make it clear you’re interested in a career, and not just a job. Ask what you can expect over the next ninety days, and communicate what exactly you’ll be bringing to the table. But don’t communicate that in blanket statements like, “I’m good at sales” or “I like to take initiative.”
Instead, if you’re good at sales say, “In one year I closed five new accounts and grew three existing ones, resulting in $300,000 in new business.” Or, if you’re a go-getter, describe a problem you helped solve and the result. Show your real impact and potential by talking about accomplishments in your career.
9. Keep the Details in Mind
Keep these small, but important, details in mind when interviewing: Shut your phone off, don’t chew gum, sit up straight, don’t say “yeah” or “like” or “you know,” don’t talk over the interviewer, maintain eye contact, and don’t tell the interviewer about where else you’re interviewing.
At the end always go for the close and ask about next steps.
10. Follow Up and Maintain Contact
After the interview, make sure to get everyone’s business card and send a thank-you email that day. Then check in every now and then with your main contact to see how the process is moving along.
If you don’t get the position, that’s OK, too. Learn from the experience, improve your talking points, and keep up positive communication with the company. Maybe they found someone with more experience, but that doesn’t mean another position won’t open up in a few months that you’re perfect for, and because you remained in contact, they might call you up for that job instead.