3 Steps to Nail a Marathon Interview

Before, During, and After

The good news is your resume caught the attention of HR and you've just nailed the phone interview.  Now the challenging news - you are scheduled for an all-day marathon interview with the company's key departments. The day-long interview is a great opportunity for a company to get a picture of who you are, but also for you to see the many moving parts of an organization. So while these days can be exhausting, try to see them in a positive light. Just be prepared, and you'll do great.

 Step 1:  Prepare

  • Prepare both mentally and physically for a very long day.  Many corporations will offer high potential candidates the opportunity to interview with many departments and key decision makers all in one day which can prove to be one of the most stressful events in your job search. Being prepared is critical for any interview but especially critical for the multiple step interviews.
  • Know your audience. 
    • Research the company thoroughly and be prepared with a list of perceptive questions on the company itself and the specific job position you are interviewing for.
    • Request the names, title, and areas of responsibilities for each individual you will be meeting.  Research each interviewer on LinkedIn
  • Organize your portfolio the day before – Resumes, notepad, pen, along with your business card. You will need a resume for each person you will be ask to interview with - always have extras for the unexpected add-on interview. Leave a business card behind with current contact information. If you do not currently have a business card go online and create on through Word or Pages.
  • Be prepared with the three take aways you want to leave each interviewer.
  • Pack an emergency care pack in your briefcase - tooth brush, deodorant, and breath mints.
  • Eat a light meal and get a good night sleep the night before.

Step 2:  Day of Interview

  • Embrace the fact this is going to be a long day, review your notes you previously prepared.
  • Eat for energy.  All day interviews can drain even the strongest individuals. Make certain your breakfast is packed with the nutrients that will keep your brain alert and your stomach quiet.  Also, throw snacks into your briefcase, such as; nuts, fruit, even dark chocolate is good if you need a quick caffeine boost.  
  • Dress for success – an old cliche but still rings true today.  Select fabric that will still look good at the end of the day (Linen may look good first thing but by the second interview you will look like you just crawled out of bed).  Always dress professional, better to be over-dressed rather than under-dressed.  Remember it is going to be an all day event so make certain you are comfortable.  
  • Direct questions around the role of the interviewer - They want to know you are authentically interested in them as well as the different departments of the company. 
  • Take notes: This will help you when recapping your day, along with each interviewer's Thank You note.
  • Take breaks between interviews.  If they rush you into the next room simply ask for a bathroom break or a glass of water.  Take a deep breath, reflect, and refresh for the next one. 
  • Enter each interview as if it were your first one.  Yes, you may have answered the same questions five times already but remember the person interviewing you sees this as a stand-alone so start it strong and end it strong. You never know which interviewer will be the "make or break" when the team gets with HR to report.

Step 3:  The Wrap Up

  • Take a few minutes before you head home and review the day’s notes.  Make sure to follow up on any action items or request - the sooner the better. 
  • Send personalized thank you notes to each person you interviewed with and let them know you appreciated their time.  

Whew.....it is over and you did great.  Your hard prep work paid off and the company realizes you will be a great asset to their organization.  Congratulations!