Getting prepared for out-of-town interviews is a comprehensive task these days. Travel by car and more possibly by plane is just the beginning. Preparation is key. Here are some tips:
1. Give yourself enough time to review and answer the Top 25 Interview questions (see our website for details). They are very worthwhile.
2. Know the client company website as well as names and titles of the people you are meeting in the interview. Your recruiter may know some background on each which will help you prepare.
3. Run mapquest.com to get the right directions to/from the airport and/or use a rental car with a navigation system.
4. Keep all of your receipts, e.g., mileage, hotel, meals, etc. (Note: Don’t use the hotel room minibar, even if you are paying for it. It could get charged to the client by mistake. Not good.)
5. Be as pleasant and professional as possible when “checking-in” with the receptionist. This is huge! Believe it or not, this person evaluates your first impression. They have input to the interview team and often give it openly. Don’t take this person for granted.
6. After interviewing, send a follow up email 1-2 days afterwards to the hiring manager first, then to the team members. Get their business card. Written thank you notes are deemed “too casual”. Keep it professional.
7. Update your recruiter on the positives and challenges you encountered. It is best you give feedback first so that the recruiter can have some idea of your impressions, etc. before he/she talks with the client.
Often times out-of-town interviews are more stressful than local drives because of all of the intangibles related to travel, forgetting a file, etc.
Plan well in advance and your efforts will pay off in getting the ultimate offer.