Volume 66: Face to Face Flubs

You listened to my advice on phone interviews, and have been invited for a Face to Face!

Roy

 

At this point, some of you are probably wondering, “If I was messing up such easy things on the phone interview, what am I messing up once I get in front of the employer?”

Well, I’m happy to answer this question with some advice on how to avoid the easiest mistakes:

First Impressions: the Rule of 12s:

The Rule of 12s breaks down to the first impression you give someone at 12 feet, 12 inches, and with the first 12 words out of your mouth.

At 12 feet, what do you look like to the person interviewing you?

For starters, are you dressed appropriately for the position? Most positions in this industry probably don’t require a suit, but you should still make an effort. Iron and tuck in your shirt. Brush your hair (if you still have it). Leave the ball cap in the car.

At 12 inches, an employer is making another set of first impressions.

Brush your teeth before an interview, or at least pop in a breath mint if you’re not coming from home. A good, firm handshake, with eye contact, is a great way to seal that first impression.

Finally, what are the first 12 words out of your mouth?

Positivity is key. Even if it’s monsoon-ing or 100 degrees outside, don’t make the first thing you say to an interviewer “Wow, the weather really sucks, and this place is impossible to find!”

Instead, start with something positive: “Thank you guys for having me out today, I appreciate the opportunity.”

Those positive and negative sentences subconsciously bury in people’s minds. If you come out of the monsoon and are still in good spirits and excited to meet with them, they’ll remember that. If you come out of the gate whining, they’ll remember that too.

Facility Tours:
The part of a face to face interview where a lot of people get tripped up is the plant tour. My advice for this is three-fold:

1.      Talk to everyone you can. Supervisors, Technicians, Operators, everyone. Each can provide some insight into how the facility operates. While you’re learning from these guys, you’re also displaying a high level of interest and engagement to the employer.

2.      Make observations and share some of them. If the employer has talked about wanting to get better in certain areas, the plant tour is a good time to talk about some changes you would make. However, all observations need to be made in a constructive manner. People take a lot of pride in their work areas, and the last thing you want to do is offend someone, or give a sense of smug superiority.

3.      Making observations on the plant tour will also show you how serious the facility is about certain things. If an employer brags about a certification, but then you see them not following through with those things on the floor, that’s a red flag. If housekeeping is bad, or people aren’t following safety procedures, those are red flags. If they talk about how high performance they are, but the guys are all standing around drinking coffee, that’s a red flag. The employer is judging you, but you’re judging the fit for yourself, as well.

Conclusion:
Overall, the rules of a face to face interview are not terribly different from a phone interview: to be successful, ask questions, be prepared with metrics, and avoid religion or politics.

But, nailing the first impression via the Rule of 12s, and showing engagement and expertise on the plant tour can give you the edge over other people the facility might be interviewing.

And always be closing. Just like with the phone call, ask what next steps are if you are interested in moving forward, and then follow up on them after you leave to show your buy-in.

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