Come meet the team! How to impress potential future colleagues at an interview
Aug 07, 2019
After several interviews and a few days of waiting, the human resources manager finally gets to back you and announces that you’ve “almost” got the job. Almost, because you still have one final test to take before officially joining the club: meeting your potential future team.
This step, which often comes at the end of the recruitment process, must not be taken lightly. It could either reinforce your application and make recruiters and managers want to hire you immediately or permanently eliminate your chances of even setting foot in the company.
Here are eight practical tips to make this daunting interview a success:
1. Do your homework
First, keep in mind that meeting your future team doesn’t mean the job is in the bag. You must prepare for this interview as much as you did for all the previous ones, and to help you do so, here is a checklist:
- Reread your CV and revise your pitch: Your speech must be well rehearsed, you cannot sound intimidated or like you have zero potential.
- Do some research in advance: Find out who you are meeting and who you are going to be speaking to during the interview. LinkedIn will be a great help here, but beware of looking like a stalker, and be discreet.
- Prepare some questions. Make a list of the topics you would like to address: everyone’s roles, the tools and software used, how they interact with other teams, and management style (is it participative, delegative, or both).
- Be punctual: It would be a shame to leave a bad impression by arriving late, especially when an entire team is waiting for you and has made time for this interview. Check your route beforehand and give yourself a few extra minutes just in case.
2. Be inquisitive: Ask any and every question that pops into your head
This exchange will be a real opportunity for you to find your feet. Who better than your prospective colleagues to give you a detailed, realistic overview of team projects, management styles and even to give you the lowdown on company life. Feel free to ask any questions that come to mind. Begin with the ones you prepared in advance as they will be your starting point and then bounce off team members as they introduce themselves and explain their positions to you. It is very important that you understand the role of everyone in the team.
By asking questions, employees can also see if you understand your potential role and how you will interact with them in your future position. It is precisely by asking these kinds of questions that we show an interest.
Finally, don’t be afraid of asking “stupid” questions, even those that may seem silly to you, as some coworkers tend to use company-specific vocabulary that you are not supposed to know about.
3. Pay attention and listen to everyone
The less self-centered you are, the more attentive you will be to others and the more useful information you will gather.
Avoid thinking about your next question while one of your potential future colleagues is speaking; instead listen attentively and take an interest in them. Let your counterparts fully express themselves and then rephrase what they have just said to make sure that you have understood.
Remember to take notes throughout your discussions. This way you won’t forget anything and you can return to any points that don’t seem clear.
For that extra magic touch, try to memorize everyone’s first names and their positions to leave a strong first impression.
4. Avoid going over the top
Most candidates who are keen to impress their interviewers go overboard, which does not necessarily work in their favor. For example, some people talk too much about themselves and their experience. Know that the most important thing when you meet your potential future team is being yourself and not your knowledge. They won’t be judging your skills because they have already been assessed by managers; they are more interested in your personality. But beware, that doesn’t mean you should overdo it. Avoid being over-friendly; your prospective team-mates will quickly realize you’re being fake.
Steer clear of role-playing and act naturally to show them the real you.
5. Be friendly and smile
Yes, be natural and be yourself, but don’t forget to smile. As the saying goes, “A smile never hurts.” One aim of this meeting is to see how you interact with others. Managers attach real importance to team cohesion and a good atmosphere. They will be assessing your ability to integrate. Have a friendly and constructive attitude towards your prospective colleagues.
6. Remain professional right until the end
When the cat’s away, the mice will play, and when the boss is not around, we tend to let loose. The biggest pitfall to avoid when you are meeting your potential future team is a lack of professionalism. The staff will be merciless when judging your behavior. Some will even try to throw you off by adopting a somewhat casual attitude.
Don’t panic, as long as you realize that it’s all part of the game, you can pass this test with flying colors. Do this by remaining as professional as possible, even when it’s not that easy. For example, avoid using nicknames or speaking informally to your prospective colleagues, except for those who ask you to, or you could ask them what they would prefer. Finally, don’t laugh at private jokes, just smile politely.
7. Show how flexible you are
Unlike traditional interviews, when it comes to meeting the team, there are no rules. Some companies take a rather formal stance while others rely on a more spontaneous and natural exchange, but it depends on the size of the company, its culture, the team’s demographic, and so on. If you follow the tips above, in particular No. 2 and No. 3, you will gather plenty of information to help you better understand the team dynamics.
Do they have a rather cool or a strict atmosphere? Is a sense of humor appreciated? Is using your initiative encouraged? Are the hierarchical lines well defined? It is important that you understand the way the team works and adapt accordingly. It makes it easier for your future colleagues to picture themselves working with you.
8. Send a thank-you e-mail
As with conventional interviews with directors or HR managers, sending a thank-you email afterwards is highly recommended.
This email confirms your enthusiasm about joining the team, as well as saying thank you to your prospective colleagues for their time and the information they shared.
In terms of the email’s recipients, there are a few options. If you managed to get the contact details for one of the employees you met, write to them directly and ask them to pass the message on to the rest of the team. If not, e-mail the manager or the recruitment officer to give them your feedback. Alternatively, you could write two emails: the first one to the team to thank them and another to the manager to confirm your interest in the position.
Lastly, bear in mind that this interview with your potential future colleagues is also an opportunity for you to get a taste of the atmosphere within the team and to think about whether you are a good fit.
Translated by Mildred Dauvin
Illustration by WTTJ
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