The Interview: Tips for Success
Read over the job description.
- Know the key responsibilities and come up with specific examples of how your background might fit these requirements.
- Ask the recruiter if there are any short-term company problems and again think of potential solutions to resolve those issues.
Review the company website in depth.
- Look through the other job openings to see if any others might also be a good fit.
- Go into the news sections to learn about recent promotions, acquisitions, or changes that might educate you on the company.
Wear clean, well-fitting clothes. Dress conservatively; when in doubt, ask your recruiter for guidance.
- classy, but not too short or revealing
- limit makeup and jewelry
- collared shirts
- clothing must be professionally cleaned or pressed
- Hair should be neat, clean, and conservative
Bring additional resumes, a notepad, and a pen with you to the interview. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early, relax, and then ask for the appropriate individual 5 minutes before the interview.
During the Interview:
Call the interviewers by their first name.
When meeting, extend your hand for a firm handshake, a big smile, and good eye contact. This will establish a comfortable rapport.
Remember that your attitude “shows”––be enthusiastic throughout the meeting.
Know that companies hire you for three reasons: to make money, to save money, and to solve problems. Be prepared to cite examples of how you have done this for either your current or previous employers.
Under no circumstances should you “bad mouth” your current employer, even if you feel you are correct. This is never appropriate and positions you in a negative light.
Get business cards from every individual you meet and be prepared to write a thoughtful note post-interview to each individual. (See some of our thank-you note examples).
At the interview itself, a typical start for most employers is something like:
“_________, please tell me about yourself.”
Rather than babble on without ever understanding what is really being asked, come back with a friendly “Could we first discuss the opportunity, so that when I tell you about myself, it will be pertinent to our discussion?” This allows you to relax and put your thoughts together for a more appropriate response tailored to the position you are seeking.
You may ask any questions that are important to you, with the exception of salary and benefits. Until you and the company “fall in love,” discussing money matters only complicates the process. If, however, the company asks you about compensation you are seeking, an appropriate response is “Let’s first decide that we want to work together; I’m confident that we can come to a mutual agreement then.”
This will reinforce your position that the “fit” is equally important, if not more so, than compensation. While compensation is always important, it pales in comparison to a job that you find miserable.
When you are interviewing, you will have a “gut feeling” that this position is either a good fit for you (and you want an offer) or a bad one (and you have no interest in the position). In either case, express your thoughts to your interviewer!
- Positive: Restate your understanding of the position, express that you can hit the ground running (with an example of how you would do so), and tell the interviewer that you want this position. Further strengthen this by reassuring your hiring manager that he/she will not be disappointed!
- Negative: If you know that the position is not right for you, thank your interviewer but let him/her know that this is not the fit you are seeking.