Resources : INTERVIEW DO’S, DON’TS, AND TIPS

PREPARATION IS KEY

Looking for a job can be exciting, stressful and exhausting all in one, which is why preparing for an interview is essential. With the wealth of information available on companies, we strongly encourage you to use it. Research the company you are interviewing with by visiting their website. Check their annual report, (if available). Request a job description from your recruiter and make sure the job is offering what you are ultimately looking for. Be prepared to answer questions such as:

Tell me about yourself? Keep it short and to the point while selling yourself. Do not walk through your resume. Some applicants tend to wander off when answering questions. Stay focused.

Tell me about your career to date? Explain your accomplishments and talents related to the position you are discussing. Keep it short and focused. Too many details can work against you because it takes too long to explain. Pick pertinent details and stick with those unless you’re asked to elaborate.

What are your strengths? This is the time to brag about your talents that will make you successful at the job. Do not be overly confident which can come off as cocky but do not be embarrassed to discuss your strengths.

What are you weaknesses? Think of a skill you are trying to develop or would like to learn that would assist you in the position available. This is a simple statement. Don’t let the question ruffle your feathers which could be the very reason for the question, to see how you handle it. Do not say, “I am not good at…” phrase.

Where did you tell your employer you are today? Do not fabricate an answer like a doctor appointment, a sales call, etc. Saying you took the day off or took a half day is usually the best.

Where do you see yourself in five years? The interviewer is trying to judge your loyalty while fishing for details about your personal life and trying to determine if your ambitions are in line with your talents and the available job. Know the job requirements and line your future plans with a natural succession for the position. Do not give personal details, as you do not want to disclose personal information.

Why are you leaving (left) your current job? Never speak negative about your current / previous employer. The interviewer is trying to determine if you are being asked to leave. Positive answers such as wanting more growth and opportunity are best. Even wanting a more competitive salary is better than negative stories about employers or co-workers. If you say you were laid off, you must be able to show the lay off was beyond your control. For example, a merger which resulted in an entire department / division being cut.

Silence! Sometimes interviewers will stay silent for a period of time which can cause the applicant to stress and feel the need to speak. The interviewer is silent to see how you deal with a stressful situation. Stay calm. The best way to break the silence is to ask the interviewer if they would like any additional information on what was previously discussed.

Answering off-beat questions such as, “If you were a plant / dog / car / ice cream flavor, what would you be?” This question is used to gain insight into your personality. Choose answers that show loyalty, faithfulness, strong, study, reliable. Do not choose answers that are overly aggressive like a pit bull or monster truck. Always remember your audience.

A FEW DO’S AND DON’TS

  • Remember, an interview is a conversation. In addition to the organization interviewing you, you should see the process as an opportunity to interview the organization to ensure it is the right fit for your personality and career goals.
  • Arrive Early for your appointment, about 10 minutes prior. Paperwork may need to be completed and tardiness is no way to start a prospective relationship
  • Personal Appearance will make an immediate impression. Even if the company has a casual dress policy, DO wear a suit to the interview. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Minimize the jewelry, cologne, etc. DO take note of overall office dress code as it will be something you’ll need to comply with should you get the job.
  • Communication is key to a good interview. DO practice your communication skills by reviewing your resume and answering possible questions. Speak out loud, ask a friend to role play or practice in the mirror. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer to show your interest. DO NOT ask about benefits, vacation, etc. Those details are discussed at a later time or when an offer is made.
  • Watch Body Language which sometimes speaks louder than words. Retain good eye contact at all times, DO NOT cross your arms, DO NOT use hand gestures or make facial expressions that can be perceived as negative.
  • Listening is an important part of any conversation but especially an interview. DO make sure your listening skills are strong because an interview is still a conversation which you are a part of. DO jot notes of the details the interviewer is providing regarding the job duties, the firm, their personal management style, and any other details you find pertinent. Since applicants are given a lot of information in a short period of time your notes will come in handy later when you review the meeting and help prepare you if called back for a follow up interview.
  • Thank You Notes are a definite DO. Request a business card from each person you meet during your interview process so you have their email address. Promptly send each person a brief thank you note thanking them for their time, reinforcing your interest in the position and attributes you offer to successfully fill the job. PROOFREAD!! Proofread your note, a grammatical error will cause the interview process to end.
  • Avoid a Setback if you are not invited back or you do not receive an offer. DO NOT board the interview emotional roller coaster ride which can possibly translate negatively on your next interview. Organizations make decisions for many reasons, some of which have absolutely nothing to do with the applicant. Everything happens for a reason and you will wind up exactly where you belong.

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