One of the trickiest parts of applying for jobs while you’re currently employed is the interview process. Leaving work to go to an interview is not ideal, especially if you have limited vacation time. You don’t want to be spending days and days going back and forth to interviews for opportunities that you might not even wind up getting.
The easiest solution if you do get called for an interview, is to meet with as many people in one day as you can. Most times, recruiters will be understanding and flexible and accommodate you. But, if you’re used to just interviewing with one person, interviewing with multiple people can be a little overwhelming and nerve racking.
Before you proceed with your interviews, you might want to read this:
Tip #1: Make Sure You Know Who You’re Interviewing With
This may seem obvious, but you want to make sure you know the order you’re being interviewed. You are going to mentally prepare yourself differently for someone who is going to be your colleague as opposed to the person who is going to be your manager. Make sure you know everyone’s names and roles before you meet with them. They will be asking you different questions and expecting different answers.
Most of the time, the interviews will be one after another, so you won’t have much time to prepare in between interviews, but knowing you’ll be starting off with the manager is very useful information to have.
Tip #2: Try Not to Repeat Yourself
You should realize that the people that interview you are all going to compare notes after the interviews are done. There are some main things that you will need to repeat, such as your background, your career goals, and your work interests. But when you are asked performance-based questions, it is a great idea to have different answers for the different interviews.
You may think you’re outsmarting everyone by regurgitating the same stories and examples three or four times in a row, but when they compare your answers, they’ll realize you may not have too much substance in your background. The only time this could possibly work is if you were interviewing with different companies on the same day, then repeat away, but as long as your meeting with people who are in the same department and work together, you should really prepare multiple examples and answers to questions.
Tip #3: Ask Different Questions
This tip goes along with the previous tip. Just because you’re having three one on one interviews, it doesn’t mean you can just ask the same questions in each one. It’s always okay to have a few premeditated questions before an interview (I think premeditated makes sense in this context, but that word just makes me think of murder, and bonus tip, don’t murder anyone you interview with because you 100% will not get the job). Anyway, it’s fine to have some general questions ready to go, but you should always base your questions off the flow of the interview.
If you are interviewing with a few people who will be peers, you’ll want to ask them different questions than you would someone who is higher up. You may not think it’s that big of a deal, but it shows those interviewing you that you didn’t put any effort into thinking of a wider range of questions and maybe you don’t care that much about the interview.
Tip #4: Send Individual Thank You Messages
We all know how important a thank you is, and in a case where you’re interviewing with multiple people at the same company, you don’t want to cut corners and just throw them on one email and reply all. Sending a thank you is about being courteous and going that extra mile. There’s no need to be lazy with it or you might as well not bother sending one at all.
If it’s three people, send three separate emails including a personal note so they feel as though you connected with them on a personal level. If you want to reference the others in your email that’s fine, but you always want to treat the interviews as separate interviews even if it was for the same company.
The main key to winning with multiple interviews on the same day is to be PREPARED. You need to put in the time before you show up to prepare for the day. You should have multiple examples and stories ready to go for when you’re asked and know what audience they are going to be for. The worst thing you can do is just show up and go with the flow. You’ll be set up for failure if you do that.
A day where you are interviewing with multiple people can be draining, but you want to show as much energy as you did for the first interview as you do for the last one. You aren’t Russell Crowe in Gladiator fighting multiple times in the Coliseum, so don’t treat it like a physical Olympic gauntlet. Bring some water, get some air and you will do great!