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Interviewing Tips

Interviewing Tips

The interview is the most important step in the job search process. Many hiring decisions have been made during the interview based on the interviewing skill of the candidate and not their qualifications.

GENERAL RULES TO KEEP IN MIND:

  • Answer any technical questions as specifically as possible. If you feel the question is too broad or you are unsure of the direction of the question, ask the interviewer for clarification.
  • Utilize personal examples from your past which validate your experience as it pertains to the qualifications needed for the position.
  • jobinterviewAnswer any personal questions in a more general nature with short and concise answers.
  • Be POSITIVE, POSITIVE, POSITIVE with regard to your tenure with former employers.
  • Make a list of good things you gained from former employers. Prospective companies are generally afraid of candidates who have negative comments about previous employers.
  • Show enthusiasm during the interview. Hiring managers are looking for energetic employees who really like what they do for a living.
  • Attempt to sell the interviewer on your capabilities at the same time you are interviewing them as hard as they are interviewing you. Remember you must get an offer before there is a decision to be made.

TYPES OF INTERVIEWS:

  •  One-on-one
    The most common interview format is one interviewer speaking with one candidate. Develop a rapport with the interviewer by trying to determine their key desires from the person filling this position.
  • Team/Board interview with two or more persons
    The key here is good eye-to-eye contact with the person who asks you the question. But remember to look at the other persons present periodically in order to include them in your answer.
  • Structured interview
    All candidates are asked the same questions for the employer’s ease in evaluating applicants. If there is important information that you have not conveyed by the end of the interview, when asked if you have any questions or anything to add, present your additional qualifications. Usually the interviewer will make written notes of your answers.
  • Unstructured interview
    You have a better opportunity to convey information, as there is no set agenda for questions by the interviewer. However, you need to be well prepared and know the points you want to make, as you may need to direct the interview in order to get your desired results.
  • Telephone interview
    Because of the high cost of paying travel expenses for candidates to the employer’s location, many first interviews are being conducted over the phone. If the call surprises you and you are not ready for an interview, ask the person to call back in 15 minutes, or arrange another time, which will be mutually convenient. You need time to refresh your memory on the organization and what points about yourself you want to make. All points about good interview skills still apply. You just do not have to dress for the occasion. Telephone interviews are like open book tests. Keep your resume, notes, specific experience, references, and your list of questions to ask in front of you. Have a pen and paper available to note any comments or questions you may have during the interview.
  • Computer interview
    Because of the number of qualified applicants available for positions, you may find that your first interview will be with a computer. The purpose of this screening is to compare your answers to the information on your resume. Be just as diligent with your answers as you would with a human interviewer. You don’t want the computer to find reasons to screen you out.
  • Video conferencing
    Computer technology through on-line interview rooms allows companies to interview more candidates from farther afield than has been possible through personal visits. This greatly reduces the cost of initial interviews when nationwide searches are implemented. Recruiters conduct live, face-to-face interviews with job applicants via personal computers equipped with cameras and speakers. Use the same strategies you would if you were meeting in person, knee-to-knee. Clothing, body language, and dialogue do not differ. Your agenda is to be offered an invitation to meet personally for a second interview at the company.
  • Second interview – office visit
    Except for short-term positions, e.g., co-op, a candidate being seriously considered by a prospective employer will be invited to visit the organization at one of its locations. One purpose is to provide you with an opportunity to meet other staff. The second is to give more people an opportunity to interview you at greater depth to determine whether a good match is developing. The visit can take an entire day, sometimes more. When an organization offers to pay your expenses to travel to the interview, be prudent in submitting costs. Your choice of moderate rather than luxurious accommodation, food, transportation, etc. will reflect your good judgment.

MORE INTERVIEWING TIPS:

  • Listen, Listen, Listen
  • Review the company literature prior to interviewing – make sure you are fully prepared.
  • Don’t say negative things about your present employer during the interview. It’s O.K. to think they are “heading in the wrong direction” or “aren’t providing new technical challenges.”
  •  Ask questions that relate to the business of the company. Examples: market share, profit margin, add-on business, how is the documentation and support?
  • Show passion and interest in your recent jobs and accomplishments.
  • Before the discussion ends, ask if you should clarify any points in the discussion.
  • Be able to elaborate on the information in your resume and explain what your role was.
  • Be prepared to speak in-depth about your accomplishments, strengths and weakness.
  • Practice before you go in…Strategize about the flow of the interview.
  • If interested, go after the job! Send a Thank You Letter.

QUESTIONS FOR THE INTERVIEWER:

  • Ask about the information you researched.
  • Describe my job duties.
  • Is this a newly created position?
  • What are the company’s short and long term goals?
  • What do you like most about working for this company?
  • What is a typical day like for you?
  • To whom would I report?
  • Whom will I supervise?
  • Tell me about the training program I will experience.
  • What is the company’s promotional policy?
  • With whom will I be working most closely?
  • When can I expect to hear from you?

MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS DURING INTERVIEWS:

  • Where do you think your interest in this career comes from?
  • What industry besides this one are you looking into?
  • Why have you chosen this particular profession?
  • What interests you about this job?
  • What challenges are you looking for in a position?
  • What can you contribute to this company?
  • What motivates you?
  • What turns you off?
  • If I asked the people who know you well to describe you, what three words would they use?
  • If I asked the people who know you for one reason why I shouldn’t hire you what would they say?
  • When you take on a project do you like to attack the project in a group or individually?
  • Describe the type of manager you prefer.
  • Tell me about a team project of which you are particularly proud and your contribution?
  • Describe a situation where you had to work with someone who was difficult, how did you handle it?
  • What type of work environment appeals to you most?
  • With which other companies are you interviewing?
  •  What characteristics do you think are important for this position?
  • Why do you feel that this company will be a career for you rather than a job?
  • Name two management skills that you think you have?
  • What characteristics are most important in a good manager? How have you displayed one of them?
  • Why did you choose this college and how did you arrive at this decision?
  • What factors did you consider in choosing your major?
  • Describe how your favorite course has contributed your career interests?
  • Since you have been at college, what is it that you are proudest of?
  • How have you changed personally since starting college?
  • What has been your greatest challenge?
  • If you could change a decision you made while at college what would you change and why?

ENDING THE INTERVIEW:

When it appears that the interviewer is about to end the interview, there are certain points you should make sure you have covered before you leave the room:

  • Be aware of the interview process yet to come before a candidate is selected for the job (e.g., another interview in same/other location, meetings with other individuals in organization, etc.)
  • Ask the interviewer when you can expect to hear about a decision or ask when you should make an inquiry as a follow-up.
  • Express your interest in the position and thank the interviewer for interviewing you.
  • Ask for a business card or ensure that you have the interviewer’s name, title, address so that you can send a thank-you letter. Make sure your letter arrives within 24 hours of the interview.

EMPLOYER EVALUATION:

Employers usually have a formal rating sheet with predetermined areas such as:

  • Neat and clean overall appearance/poise/communicative skills
  • Academic/work achievements (learning ability, standards of excellence)
  • Special skills (technical, languages, creativity, management, analytic, negotiation)
  • Personal characteristics (team player, enthusiasm, dependability, emotional stability, flexibility)
  • Self-assessment, goals/ambitions
  • Leisure-time activities, balance in life
  • Reaction to job/organization
  • Potential

EVALUATING YOUR PERFORMANCE:

Evaluate how well you did after each interview. Ask yourself:

  • What points did I make that seemed to interest the employer?
  • Did I present my qualifications in the best manner possible, giving appropriate examples as evidence?
  • Did I pass up opportunities to sell myself, to demonstrate the work I do, and to show how profitably I could do it for both the organization and myself?
  • Did I talk too much? Too little?
  • Was I too tense? Passive? Aggressive?
  • Did I find out enough about the employer and the job to help in making a knowledgeable decision?

For additional information on this subject, please consult the following links.

www.interviewcoach.com
www.interviewtips.org
career-advice.monster.com
www.job-interview.net
www.bls.gov

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