Over the last 10 years, I have been involved with many, many interviews. I have blogged about good interview books, resources for interviewing, how to prepare for an interview as the interviewer, and how to conduct an interview. Being on the other side of the interview table is a bit different. It definitely added some serious insight into how I conduct my interviews, and reinforced a lot of the process I have put in place.
There are different things to do before the interview, to prepare for the interview itself, and to follow up with after the interview. This is my brief step-by-step guide to navigate the interview process as an interviewee. It seemed to be successful, as I have moved my cheese recently to the Associated Press!
Should you stay or should you go?
This is a big decision. In this rough economy, having a job at all is a blessing. But decide to leave a stable job for something else is risky. But, with great risk comes great reward. This move has been great for me mentally, personally, and professionally. Here are a few sites that I used to help me decide to take the leap.
- Should I Stay or Should I Go? 7 Arguments For and Against Leaving Your Job
- 10 signs that it’s time to look for a new job
Preparing your resume
Your resume is your potential new boss’s first glimpse at who you are. If you decide to make the leap and look for a new job, be sure that you spend the time to present yourself as best you can. This is where the bulk of candidates will be cut from the running. Make sure you stay on the short list with these resources.
Once your resume is just the way you want it, be sure to update your profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Dice, Monster, your Google Profile, or any of the other places where your work history might be stored online. Your new employer will check all of these, and consistency in you message and timeline is very important.
Where to look for a new tech job
Once your resume is all tidy, and your profiles are updated, now it’s time to start looking for that perfect new job. Here are a couple of articles that will help you find that perfect new home.
One of my favorite places I liked to search for new jobs was indeed.com. You could search across Dice, Monster, CareerBuilder, and lots of Fortune 500 corporate career sites. Personally, I created a search on each of these sites, and added the RSS feed from the search to Google Reader, and checked it each day. This made job searching simpler, and centralized it for me all in one place.
Preparing for the interview
When preparing for the interview, you should anticipate the questions you are going to be asked. you should expect technical, managerial, project management, style, and soft skills questions. Here are a few books that I recommend to prepare for your interview questions:
- How Would You Move Mount Fuji?
- Best Answers to the 201 Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions
- More Best Answers to the 201 Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions
Follow up afterwards
After the interview, you need to thank your interviewers and let them know that you are interested in the job. Be sure to follow up with them after the interview. Thank them for their time, build on some points or strengths discussed in the interview, and express your enthusiasm in the position. There are lots of good sample thank you letters out there. Be sure to customize it to your interviewer, the interview, and to you.
Research the salary band for the position
You are going to be talking about salary at some point with your potential new boss or HR department. You need to be prepared. Be sure to research the salary band for your title, position, region, and level of responsibility. Salary.com is a great place to do this.
How to navigate the job offer
Job offers can be complex, confusing, and a very touchy situation. This is very far along in the process, and you now know whether you want the job or not. Negotiations.com offers some good advice in negotiating your offer package.
Overall, the objective of an interview is to get to know your new possible employer, and let them get to know you. If you are a match for them, and they are a match for you, things will work out fine. If not, then don’t be disheartened – you and your interviewing company were not a match for each other, and you are better off finding a job that will make everyone happy. You move on to the next interview. My piece of advice to find that perfect match is to be yourself, be honest, and be prepared.