Be Prepared for the Interview


Advance preparation will increase your confidence, help overcome interviewing inexperience, and enable you to sell yourself and your qualifications.

Today's employers are committing considerable time and resources to recruiting and interviewing. They need to quickly identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities candidates have to help them be successful on the job. As a candidate, your goal is to demonstrate how your knowledge and experience can benefit the employer.

Just as an actor learns his or her lines and attends rehearsals before a performance, a candidate should prepare for his or her very important performance - the job interview. Though this may seem like common sense, interviewers are continually surprised by the lack of preparation on the part of most candidates. You can make yourself stand out from the rest by following a few simple tips:

Get the facts straight:

Know who. what, where, when, and why. Know the place and time of the interview, full name and title of interviewer, title of position you are applying for. and if possible why the position is open.

Research the company:

Gather information pertaining to the annual sales revenue, principal lines of business, and technology they employ. Corporate profiles and financials are available from a variety of sources including databases of corporate sites on the world wide web and reference materials In local libraries such as Dunn & Bradstreet, Thomas Registers. Moody's Directories.

Qualifications needed:

Try to get a sense of why the employer is interested in your qualifications and how your qualifications solve the needs of the company.

Goals of the Interview:

The goals of an interview differ depending on the type and level of interview. However, the purpose of each is to move to the next level in the hiring process.

Phone Interview:

The phone interview is a process in which a representative of a company will initially screen the applicant to see if he or she has the basic skills needed for the position. The goal of the applicant is to get a second "face to face" interview.

Initial "Face to Face" Interview:

This interview allows the company to probe in depth the applicant's professional appearance, communication skills, problem solving abilities, and personality traits. During this interview the company will decide whether or not the applicant will be able to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the position. They will also be able to evaluate whether or not the applicant will fit with the company culture.

Second "Face to Face" Interview:

At this point the company has determined that the applicant has the ability to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the position. However, they need to either (a) bring senior executives into the picture for their approval, (b) compare the applicant with other possible applicants, or (c) to finalize the compensation package with the applicant.

The Interview: Part I

Dressing for Success: Men

Dressing for Success: Women:

Positive Body Language:

Questions typically asked by employers:

The Interview: Part II

CRITICAL questions asked by the employer:

Q: What salary are you looking for?

A: Well. I am currently at $ ______ , but my main concern is an opportunity with a company that will allow me to develop my skill sets and grow as an individual.

Q: Why are you leaving your present position?

A: Although I enjoy my work, and ________ is a great company, my current situation does not allow me to grow. When I heard about this opportunity, it seemed to be more in line with my career goals. (Always be positive, but give a reason for leaving)

Q: What is your weakness?

A: Unfortunately. I am a perfectionist and set high expectations for myself and I always expect my peers to demand as much of themselves. (Always answer with a positive rather than a negative attribute)

Q: Tell me about yourself.

A: Preplan a five to ten minute answer describing your education and then each job in terms of accomplishments or performance indicators.

Behavior-based approach to answering interview questions:

This approach to interviewing focuses on examples of how the candidate has applied his or her skills. Behavior based interviewing is built on the premise that past behavior predicts future behavior. To be successful using a behavior based approach, you must have analyzed your experiences and know how to relate them to the current position the company is seeking to fill.

State a problem you were given, describe the action you took, and explain the results.


Think about how you can describe your experiences and skill sets to an employer in the form of a story. Explain the situation you were in (or the problem you were responsible for), tell what action you took and list the results. Successful candidates can demonstrate "hands on" action with results. Prepare three or four stories including how you used each of the key skills you have identified.

Questions to ask Employer:

Never go to an interview without preparing questions beforehand. Your knowledge of the profession and the information you gather through research will help you formulate questions of high quality. The following are some possible questions you may ask in an interview:

Closing the Interview

Closing questions that the applicant must ask:

"Do you have any other questions regarding my background?"

"Is there anything else that you need to know to make a decision?"

"This is a great opportunity and I am more than just interested in the position."

"At this time, I would like to set up with you a second interview."

Get the interviewer's business card and send a thank you letter IMMEDIATELY. Also, copy anyone else that was involved in the interview process. Getting your name back in front of the interviewer is crucial. Address the envelope with the proper name, title and address listed on the card.

Call your recruiter with feedback immediately after you are done!

This is for your benefit, not ours.

Often during the interview process there are miscommunications between the applicant and the company. The recruiter must debrief you prior to speaking with the company. Often, candidates find themselves excluded from proceeding further in the interview process because the recruiter cannot counter the interviewer's objections.

Interview Tips

Communication Tips:

Interview Negatives:

The interviewer will be evaluating your negative as well as your positive characteristics during interview, following are some negative factors that can lead to the rejection of an applicant:

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