GENERAL INTERVIEW TIPS
When one is on the "employment market," it is easy to feel as though the interview process is more of an interrogation rather than a meeting designed to exchange pertinent information.
However, the interview process should be viewed as more of a "Sales Call" or "Sales Pitch" - a way to showcase your experience, your qualifications and your desire to contribute to the organization. An interview is the chance to sell yourself...but more importantly, it is the opportunity to "ask for the job”.
Interview Preparation and Tips
- You should do thorough research on the company - the companies' products, their reputation, the history and the present market conditions in which they operate.
- You should analyze your skills and abilities, have a good understanding of what you have to contribute to the organization and how your skill set could be of benefit.
- Research what the industry-wide standard salary is for the position you are interviewing for coupled with the experience you have. Then compare with the company scale of salary being offered.
- Find out (if possible) about the person who is conducting the interview process (i.e. their personality, their position, etc.).
- Find out how you should dress for the interview. Not every organization requires a "shirt & tie" or "skirt & blouse" for the interview process. Find out what their particular environment calls for, and dress appropriately.
- Be sure to review your resume carefully prior to the interview and be prepared to discuss related background experience and qualifications in detail. You may even want to highlight experiences on a piece of paper that relate to the interview/position that are not shown on resume, but are still relevant.
- Arrive fifteen (15) minutes early for the interview (minimum). Have a couple copies of your resume on hand, and copies of your reference list, reference letters and educational documentation (i.e. degree, diploma, certificates, etc.).
- Shake hands with the interviewer(s) and make direct eye contact at all times. Turn off your cell phone.
- Attitude is everything! You must showcase your personality and character - not just your skill set.
- Appear enthusiastic about the position, but not overly. Nervousness is more acceptable than being too relaxed.
- Let the interviewer take the lead at all times. Go with the flow.
- Make it clear in your manner and by what you say, that you are confident in your abilities and that you consider yourself worth hiring. No one can sell "you" like "you" can.
- Be honest, no matter how tricky the questions and how vulnerable you feel - most times an interviewer is just as concerned with how you answer the question as with what you actually say.
- Ask questions about the company, show interest in what they do and how you feel you can contribute.
- Expand on your knowledge & experience and any aspect of your background that is relevant for the job. It's the opportunity to state clearly your qualifications and interest in the job.
- Never make a negative remark about any of your past employers. Instead, talk about the positive points of your past/present employer, and talk about the new opportunities & challenges you are seeking.
- Do not ask prematurely about salary, commission or benefit package. It should be one of the last things you inquire about, but only after the interview was successful and you've asked intelligent questions about the company and the position. But, don't be afraid to ask when the time is appropriate.
- Do not leave the interview until you have an understanding of the next step, and when you can expect to hear from the employer. If the interviewer makes no mention, don't be afraid to take the initiative.
- Some recommend that after the interview (usually the next day), you send an e-mail that highlights important parts of the interview and reiterates your interest - but it is entirely up to you.
Commonly Asked Questions In An Interview
The nature of the interview depends on the style of the interviewer. In some cases, it is very hard to prepare or know what to expect. But every interview starts with general "tell me about your background as it relates to our company" type questions, and then it usually moves into more specific information gathering. When answering all questions, keep it relevant to the qualities and experience the employer is looking for and direct your answers to show you meet the requirements of the position. Above all else, stay positive & focused.
- Describe your last employer's workplace?
- What were your main job functions in a typical day/week?
- Why did you leave? Why are you looking to leave?
- Describe your relationship with your previous direct supervisor/boss.
- Describe your relationship with your previous co-workers.
- How often were you absent from your job?
- What have you learned from your previous experience?
- What type of job interests you and why?
- What do you think the qualities are to succeed in that type of environment?
- What are your most outstanding qualities?
- Name two weaknesses. What are you doing to improve on them?
- Give two examples of times that you showed initiative.
- Are you a leader? Give an example of a time when you proved to have leadership qualities/abilities.
- What languages do you speak? Read? Write?
- How important are wages to you?
- Do you work well under pressure? In tight deadlines?
- How do you feel about working overtime or long hours if necessary?
- Do you like to work alone, or prefer to work in a group setting?
- How do you feel about a job that involves routine & repetitive tasks?
- Describe a situation where you dealt with a disgruntled customer, and how did you resolve the situation.
- What type of direct Supervisor do you feel that you would excel working under, in terms of character and expectations?
- What motivates you as an individual? What motivates you as an employee?
- Where do you see yourself in five (5) years?
- Do you consider yourself a risk taker? Give a workplace example that illustrates your willingness to take risks.
- Describe an experience where you had to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines.
- What have you heard about this company and what attracts you to want to work for us / what do you like about our company?
- What interests you about the product or service we offer?
- If you had a choice, what job would you choose within our company?
- What are your wage/salary requirements?
- When are you available to start a position?