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Meeting the team: How do I prepare?

28 Jul 2014 by Sarah Leembruggen.

First of all, never assume that an invitation to meet the team means you’ve got the job in the bag.  ‘Come in and meet the team’ implies a variety of different things.

It may be that this round of the process is a formal panel, where you’re grilled by the management team, or it could be a much more friendly informal ‘chat’ with a number of people you’ll be reporting to, or working closely with.  However the meeting is structured, you still need to put in the same amount of preparation.

Recruitment can be expensive and time consuming, so it’s more efficient if potential new hires can meet as many people as possible in one visit. Anticipating the ‘style’ of meeting you will have will depend on how far into the recruitment process you are. If, you’ve only met HR, and you’re being invited back for the second stage, then the chances are, you’ll be meeting the decision makers who want to determine the breadth of your experience, potential for growth, return on investment etc. It will probably be the familiar formal interview arrangement, where you are measured against a strict set of criteria.

Panel interviews can sometimes feel very regimented, as the interviewers work their way down their list of competency based questions, with few opportunities to address your own agenda. Despite that, it’s important for you to steer the interview in your own direction, ensuring your questions are answered. Think about the inter-departmental dynamics of the people you are meeting and use it as an opportunity to find out more about the role, the company, its culture and the wider function of the vacancy.

You may find you’re meeting the team in dribs and drabs, on a one-to-one basis over several hours, with a tedious amount of time spent sat alone in a meeting room, waiting for the next person to arrive. Be patient; despite being asked the same questions over and over again, keep smiling! – bear in mind that it could be part of their recruitment plan; they will already have met to discuss your CV and first interview, and they’ll be discussing their individual impressions of you again, once you’ve left.  If it feels appropriate, ask if you can have a look around the office. It will break the monotony and you can chat as you look around.

Later down the process you may get a call to ‘join us for lunch,’ or ‘come for office drinks.’ That’s great news, but proceed with care - it’s still an interview, even though it’s far more relaxed and off-site. Use it to your advantage; get to know people a little better and to be inquisitive; ask lots of questions and try to relax enough to show a little of your personality. Despite the informal structure of the meeting, the usual advice applies: be prepared for tricky questions, dress to fit in with the company (not the venue), try to build good rapport, remain professional and keep alcohol to a minimum…even if everyone else is whipping the wine bottle.

Do you have any anecdotes about meeting the team? Tell us about it @theworksrecruit.

The Works specialise in placing high flyers in PR and corporate communications. We have a strong track record of placing with professional services and offer career-making advice. Do get in touch if you would like our support building your team.

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