Picture this scenario:
You've prepared your answers to the most daunting interview questions you could think of, printed out plenty of copies of your resume, know the background of the company, and have memorized the names of the people about to interview you. You're pretty sure you're ready to ace this thing, but something still nags at you.
Whether you've gone on 1 or 10 job interviews in your lifetime, it's often hard to shake that "nervous empty stomach feeling" that you feel right before walking in the front door of your potential next employer.
Part of this comes from not knowing exactly what they're going to ask you, and part of it stems from the uncertainty of being in a new place, where, for a short while, you're definitely going to be the center of attention.
Don't fret! There ARE ways to gauge how much your interviewers like you, how you fit into the company culture, and if they think you can do the job. If your interview feels anything like the following, you've done something right!
You walk over from the coffee shop you are sitting in to the front door of the office building. You sign in at the security desk, where you are politely greeted, and then head to the elevator.
You arrive at the company's suite, with a perfect 15 minutes to spare until your scheduled interview time. Someone asks you who you're there to see and asks if you want any water or coffee. You politely decline and sit down in the lobby to wait.
The person you spoke to during your phone interview comes out to say hello. You engage in lively conversation and start to feel more comfortable after not having spoken much while traveling. She tells you everyone will be right with you after their meeting.
Another person walks by and magically knows who you're there to see, telling you they'll be right there. You say Thank You and wait patiently.
One of your interviewers comes to get you and brings you into a conference room, and the second interviewer joins shortly. Everyone makes their introductions, and the questions begin.
2:05 PM - 2:20 PM
1. The time you spent to include the company's mission statement in your resume objective is noticed, and they've already taken notes before you got there.
2. You impress them by mentioning how you have combined your majors to develop the skill set for this industry.
3. You mention how you have spent time on the website, researched their products, and noticed common themes among their presentations, and they are taken with your thoroughness.
2:20 PM - 2:30 PM
You go through the points on your resume, including past jobs, internships, memberships, and school projects, and the interviewers seem interested in your accomplishments. They are leaning back comfortably in their chairs, just enough to show you that they are having a conversation, not holding an interrogation.
2:30 PM - 2:45 PM
You are asked those tricky questions about your "weaknesses" and attempt to answer with your preferred "This is something I'm working on and here is my example of how I'm doing it so it seems like a strength" answer. No go. Your interviewer asks for a candid, real life answer, so you answer honestly and can tell that you haven't scared them away or hurt your chances. Then you actually get to talk about your strengths and hopes for the future, and ask a few questions of your own that you've prepared.
2:45 PM - 2:50 PM
One of the interviewers stops asking you questions, instead turning to the other interviewer to ask them questions, because they have been in your position before. You get to listen and gain inside information from someone who's "been there, done that", and can tell you about the things not listed on the job description.
2:50 PM - 3:00 PM
The conversation begins to wind down, and you're laughing along with your interviewers, not nervous anymore. The person you know from the phone and conversed with before your interview is invited in to join the group, and everyone, you included, has another good laugh before it's time to go. You hand out your business cards, which everyone says matches your personal brand and works for you.
3:00 PM - 3:05 PM
You get everyone's cards and are walked out to the front. After a final handshake you are on your way, feeling confident.
3:05 PM - 7:20 PM
Elevator. Starbucks. Shuttle. Subway. Train. Car. Shoes off. Dinner.
Before you've even finished your follow ups, you receive an email asking you to return for a second interview the next week! You immediately reply that you can make it and can't wait.
You finish sending out your follow up emails and congratulate yourself on a first interview well done! Next week's interview adventure awaits!