You have an opportunity to interview for a job in person. Now what?
You won't find a perfect formula for attacking in-person interviews because every company conducts them differently. Your first resource is your recruiter. Your recruiter (or the hiring manager) can give you the best idea of what to expect. These are the most important questions to ask before you walk into the building:
If you are interviewing at a large company like Google, Amazon, Apple, or Facebook, you can find lots of information about their interview process and philosophy online as well.
An interview is your primary tool for deciding if a job fits your needs. You must know your priorities before the meeting. I suggest preparing a list of questions to ask every interviewer. Here are some ideas:
Before your interview, ensure you know as much about the business as you can. How do they make money? Who are the customers? What are their challenges?
Download their iOS apps and try them out. Read the app's reviews. Form an opinion about the app, and think of questions about how they built their app:
When you schedule your interview, ask if it is possible to get a list of the interviewers. If you get their names, you can do some research about them online. It can be helpful to study any blog posts, technical talks, podcasts, and other content the interviewers may have created.
Based on the knowledge of each interviewer, you can make a list of questions to ask or topics to raise when you speak to them. Discussing a matter of mutual interest can help you build credibility and rapport with your interviewers. Having additional subjects to discuss also can save awkward moments if your interviewer runs out of questions for you.
Here are some potential topics :
Keep to your usual routine as much as possible on the day before and the day of your interview. For instance, don't drink an unusual amount of coffee that day. Don't eat foods that might upset your stomach, and don't eat significantly more or less food than you usually would. Interviewing offers enough stress without adding the jitters or an upset stomach to the equation.
Much like taking an exam, it's best to get adequate sleep, exercise, and eat well before facing this challenge.
The day before your interview, double-check that you know how you will arrive at the interview location. Research how long it will take to get there, and plan to arrive at least ten minutes early.
If you plan to drive to the interview, give yourself time to find parking. The recruiter may have special parking instructions for you. At larger employers, there is often visitor parking, which may make your life easier.
Arriving at your interview on time will make a positive impression — set alarms for waking up and when you should leave for the meeting.
Don't spend the day before your interview obsessing on it. Preparation is essential, but don't over-do it. Set aside some time for your health and get plenty of sleep.
When interviewing, your clothes should ideally convey both respect and an ability to fit in with the culture. Ask your contact about what kind of clothes are appropriate to wear to the interview.
You want to pick something at the high end of the spectrum described. If the recruiter tells you that folks wear jeans or shorts and a T-shirt to the office, I would wear jeans and probably a button-up shirt. If suit and tie were requested, I'd wear a nice suit altered to fit well. Use moderation; don't aim to overshoot the level of formality.
Ensure that whatever clothes you pick feel comfortable, look in good condition, and are freshly laundered. If you're unsure of what to wear, a salesperson at a department store like Macy's or Nordstrom can help you assemble a complete outfit.
Sometimes you can't dress the way you'd like for an interview. For instance, maybe you don't want your current employer to guess you're interviewing. Or perhaps you don't own or can't afford a nice suit.
These things happen. I know; I've faced some of these problems too. If you can't dress to fit their interview norms, let the recruiter know. In my experience, they will understand. Explain the situation when you meet new people during the interview: "I'm sorry I didn't wear a suit; I didn't want my boss to know I'm interviewing."
Sometimes even when you ask ahead, you end up sticking out like a sore thumb at the interview. It can happen in either direction. You're wearing a tailored suit, and the interviewers are wearing swimming garb and flip flops. Or perhaps you wore your best T-Shirt and jeans, while the interviewers all dress like villains from a James Bond film. Either way, you can apologize quickly: "Sorry about the outfit; I must have misunderstood the recruiter's advice."
Bring your questions and other research, and also prepare to take notes when interviewing. If you learn something new about the position, or something relevant to negotiating a job offer, write it down.
I like to put stars next to items that need further clarification. If an interviewer drops a hint that they work on weekends, I want to ask them and all the subsequent interviewers about the work hours.
Treat the interview like an investigation. You want to make sure the job is a good fit for you just as much as the interviewers want to ensure you're a good fit for them.
If you are able, print out your resume and bring it with you. More often than you would think, interviewers don't prepare to talk to you. Having a resume for them to review can only help.
Your apps are your portfolio, so ensure you've loaded them on your phone. Prepare yourself to show what parts you worked on, how you implemented them, and to explain your working process.
You aren't a collection of skills and experience; you're a person. Like all people, you have a story. Here are some questions to think about: