You’re sitting in the lobby, palms sweating as you pretend to review your resume that you know like the back of your hand. People keep walking by and you’re thinking to yourself “that tall guy looks too young to be the interviewer…and that lady over there with the 70’s bangs, she doesn’t fit the interviewer look.” Finally the actual interviewer approaches and introduces herself. You smile – hoping there is no evidence of that Chipotle burrito on your breath – and off you go into your interview!
Interviews continue to evolve and today employers are looking at so much more than GPA and work experience – they want to know you are going to fit in with the startup culture. Great, one more thing to think about before going into an interview, I know I hear ya, but this is important. Trust me, I’m a recruiter.
Do your research and find out what the company stands for by starting on their website. Look for things like team volunteer activities or specific events that the company has sponsored in the past. Maybe you volunteered in the same event or share a similar passion to save the dolphins?
Look up information on the background of your interviewer. Before you think twice the answer is NO – they are not going to think you are a stalker for looking up their bio. Again, the first place you should check for this information is on the company website. Their bio might mention that they are an avid snowboarder and enjoy traveling in Europe, or perhaps states that they are a huge tech junkie and enjoying coding in their spare time? Whatever it is, if you share a common interest, make note of it!
Last, but certainly not least, research your interviewer on LinkedIn. The most important things to look for on their profile are: education, mutual connections, past work experience and mutual groups. Any of these topics can be great conversation pieces that ultimately could tell the interviewer that you are a good culture fit. Perhaps you both went to undergrad at UC Berkeley or you have a mutual connection at Box. You might just find yourself connecting with your interviewer like you had known them for years!
Even if you don’t find a strong commonality with your interviewer, add a short line of interests or hobbies at the bottom of your resume. As a result, the interviewer has an opportunity to connect with your interests if you were not able to connect with theirs. So, moral of the story: before you find yourself sitting in the waiting room, nervous and wondering if it will be the tall guy or the lady with bad hair, do your homework. You will find yourself feeling much more confident about the interview ahead and will likely have a couple topics of conversation that convince them you are a fit with the startup culture!