The Winning Strategy for a Tradeshow Interview

wwd_tues_l_ds-338The Tradeshow Interview

We all know it happens. Sometimes in secret other times blatantly out in the open. If you’re one of the lucky few to score an interview at a tradeshow there are a few things to consider.


You’re not on the hiring company’s home turf. A tradeshow is neutral ground. Hiring managers tend to be a bit more casual in their interview style. The adrenal and momentum of the show works in your favor. Interviewers tend to be less critical at a show than they would at the office. Typically you’ll meet with one person as opposed to a round of potential future team mates.


You’re tired from an extensive meeting schedule. The tendency is to approach the interview with an overly relaxed or casual attitude. Your interviewer may also be tired and a bit scattered.

How to make a memorable impression. In a good way.

Prepare. Obviously. Just as you would for a phone or on site interview research and familiarize yourself with the product and position. You might consider reviewing your hiring manager’s LinkedIn profile to see what this person looks like. That way you’re don’t appear lost when arriving at the booth or meeting location.

Focus. As I stated earlier, although it’s tempting to approach the interview casually, this is still an interview. Take 5 or 10 minutes in a quiet corner to mentally prepare and review your notes. I’ve suggested that candidates go into the restroom if need be. Sometimes it’s the only quiet place on the show floor.

Stay on track. Interviews are a dance. Let your interviewer take the lead initially by asking their questions. But, remember they’re often scattered and tired from previous meetings. The show takes a toll. Keep the interview on track by working in all your accomplishments throughout the conversation. You still have to sell yourself. Questions are an easy way to break up the conversation and pepper in your selling points.

A gesture of gratitude. Consider bringing a coffee for your interviewer. It’s not only thoughtful and memorable, it might be just what they needed. Don’t bother with resumes as they are just extra paperwork to carry around. Instead leave them with your business card. Remember to thank them for their time. If someone brought me a coffee for our meeting, I would always remember them.

Don’t talk about your interview with anyone. If you’ve just come away from what felt like the best meeting of your career the temptation is to share the good news with others. Even if it’s someone you trust it’s in poor form to disclose that you’ve interviewed with another company while you’re at a tradeshow to conduct business for you current employer.

Sounds straightforward right? Take advantage of this unique opportunity with a winning strategy.


Photo Credit: WWD Magic