Career Advice, Interviews

The Most Important Rule In Interviewing; Always Interview With More Than One Company

A dad asked me to talk to his son, a recent engineering grad, to give him a few pointers on an upcoming interview. I took him through the typical questions and as we approached the end of the conversation, I asked if he was excited about the opportunity.

“Sure” he said, “but I’d really like to work for company XYZ, one of their competitors.”

“Okay,” I responded. “Have you contacted them?”

“Well my favorite professor introduced me to one of their managers and he asked me to give them a call,” he explained.

“Did you?” I asked.

He stammered for a few moments and confessed he had not.

I know those of you reading this would not allow this to happen, you would have been all over the invitation to call and you may be thinking this college grad must be an idiot. That’s a good question and as I thought about how I should react to his response, I simply asked, “Are you an idiot?”

We talked through the situation and I tasked the young man to call the manager, tell him he would be in the area in a few days to interview with another company and would appreciate the opportunity to meet. Guess what, the manager invited him in, he interviewed and is expecting an offer.

So while he’s young and he may have time to make some mistakes, there are some important takeaways we can all learn from no matter how many years of experience you hold:

1. Please, react when invited to respond. I know it sounds simple and makes sense but we are human and we find plenty of reasons to procrastinate – don’t, you will regret it.

2. The second you line up an interview, get on the phone with other companies you are interested in working for to set up your next interview. If you don’t have any contacts, start networking to find them. You just got an interview, you feel good about yourself, it actually comes across in your voice and I promise you will be amazed at how one interview leads to another. DO NOT rest on the laurels of one interview with the classic, “this is the job I’ve been waiting for,” only to be disappointed later when it didn’t come through or meet your expectations.

And last reason to set up another interview once you have one scheduled, it makes negotiating offers much easier when you know there either is or even could be something else out there.