The object of any interview, simply stated, is to get the potential employer interested in you.
An interview is not just a casual meeting between two parties. It represents an opportunity for you to sell yourself! It also provides an opportunity for you to evaluate the company, and for the employer to evaluate your: qualifications, attitude, intelligence, communication skills, enthusiasm, professionalism, confidence and stability.
Interviewing Etiquette (Dress, Grooming and Manners)
- The best rule of thumb: Always wear what you would wear if your biggest customer were coming to visit! A suit is appropriate for men and women seeking professional positions. “Casual Friday” clothing may be acceptable for other positions, but jeans and T-shirts should stay at home.
- If you are detained for whatever reason, stop and call. The old saying applies—“If you call, you’re never late.” Plan to be at the location 10-15 minutes early to allow enough time to find the interviewer’s office.
- Drug tests are a way of life in American industry today. Be prepared to take one at anytime during the hiring process.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages or smoking, even if the opportunity is offered. The odor your clothes will carry for the rest of the interview is too high of a price to pay.
- Women and men should limit themselves to one hand-held item (briefcase, purse, portfolio, or folder) containing the following: A note pad and 2 pens (black or blue ink), At least 3 copies of your resume.
- Remember to send or e-mail a “thank you” note within 24 hours. This gives you an opportunity to keep your name and face fresh in their mind.
Body Language & Attitude
Your visual impression or body language, as well as your attitude, are just as important as what you actually say. Enthusiasm, interest level, sincerity, openness and warmth go into the “chemistry” that often makes or breaks a hiring decision.
- Nodding agreement encourages others to talk as well as to let them know that you understand what is being said.
- Eye Contact is one of the best aspects of body language. Do not stare at the floor.
- Have a firm (but not crushing) handshake.
- Never sit until asked to do so by an interviewer.
- What are your career goals—both in the next job and 5 years down the road?
- What do you like (or dislike) about your current job?
- What are your key strengths and weaknesses?
- Think of specific situational examples you can give to assist you with your responses.
Learn about the opportunity
- Name of company and if they are a division of another firm.
- Number of employees, location, website address
- Position for which you are being considered and its main responsibility.
- Who you will interview with and their title
- Directions to (and time for) the interview—plus a phone number in case you are detained.
Prepare a list of questions (be sure to listen carefully to the answers)
- What are the most important responsibilities of the job?
- To whom would I report?
- What do YOU like best about working for this company?
Telephone Interview Tips
The objective of a phone interview is to gain an invitation for a personal interview
- Do not bring up money, benefits or vacation on your own at this stage.
- Have a pad, pen and copy of your resume near the phone.
- Smile and be enthusiastic—it comes through the phone!
- Speak loudly enough to be heard.
- Let the interviewer do most of the talking, but when he / she asks you a question, don’t just answer “yes” or “no”—expound on the question and use the opportunity to “sell” your skills and experience.
Handling Interview Questions
It is important to practice your responses to normal interview questions. We’ve listed some sample questions that you should become proficient in handling before your face-to-face interview:
- What particular strengths and weaknesses do you have?
- What are your short and long term career goals?
- Why should we hire you?
- Why are you leaving your current company?
- What do you expect to earn?
- What are you looking for in the next job?
- How many hours per week do you currently work?
- What things are important to your job satisfaction?
- Tell me about a time when (fill in the blank)?
Be ready to have situation specific answers to provide. (i.e. when you had to deal with a difficult person, when you made a mistake, when you were up against a deadline, when you motivated others, etc.)
If asked directly about your salary requirements, simply reiterate your current salary and your desired salary. It is best to ask for 24 hours to get back to the employer on expected salary level.