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Interviewing Tips

Interview Do’s and Don’ts

INTERVIEW DO’S

  • Arrive 15 minutes early – late attendance is never excusable
  • Bring paper and pen with you to write down ideas and questions as they develop through the interview
  • Think of the qualifications the employer is looking for and match your strengths to them
  • Prior to the interview write down the questions you have developed about the position, company and person you will be interviewing with.  Bring these questions with you on the paper you take to the interview. Make sure some of your questions are strategic in nature such as, “What is the biggest challenge facing your department at this time?”
  • Ask questions throughout the interview. An interview should be a mutual exchange of information, not a one-sided conversation
  • Listen. This is probably the most important ability of all. By concentrating not only on the employer’s words, but also on the tone of voice and body language, you will be able to pick up on the employer’s style. Once you understand how the person you are interviewing thinks, pattern your answers accordingly and you will be able to better relate to him or her.
  • Clarify questions. Be sure you answered the questions the employer really asked. Get the interviewer to describe the position and responsibilities early in the conversation so you can relate your skills and background to the position throughout the interview. Your answers should be framed by the experiences you have that represent you have the right qualifications for the job.
  • Give your qualifications. Stress the accomplishments that are most pertinent to the job.  Provide specific examples of the accomplishments you achieved relative to the role you are interviewing for.
  • Conduct yourself professionally. Be aware of what your body language is saying. Smile, make eye contact, don’t slouch and maintain composure.
  • Anticipate tough questions. Prepare in advance so you can turn apparent weaknesses into strengths.
  • Dress appropriately – make your first impression a professional one

INTERVIEW DON’TS

  • Don’t answer vague questions. Rather than answering questions you think you hear, ask the employer to be more specific and then respond.
  • Never interrupt the employer. If you don’t have time to listen, neither does the employer.
  • Don’t smoke, chew gum or place anything on the employer’s desk.
  • Don’t be overly familiar, even if the employer is doing all of these things
  • Don’t wear heavy perfume or cologne
  • Don’t ramble. Long answers often make the speaker sound apologetic or indecisive. On the other hand, don’t answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no.” Explain whenever possible. Use specific examples that support your answers.
  • Do not make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies
  • Do not ask about compensation on a first interview. Realize the more impressive you are the better an offer is likely to be. If asked about your expected compensation, deflect the question by educating the interviewer on your current compensation and letting them know that if they believe you are the right person for the position they will make a fair offer.

Closing the interview

Too many people second-guess themselves after an interview. By closing strongly and asking the right questions, you can eliminate the post-interview doubts that tend to plague most interviewees. The person you meet with will not know you are interested unless you tell them you are.
If you feel that the interview went well and you would like to take the next step, express your interest to and turn the tables a bit. Try something like the following:
“After hearing more about your company, the position and the responsibilities, I am certain that I possess the qualities that you are looking for in the (title) position. Based on our conversation and my qualifications, how do you think I would do in the role?”
This is a great closing question because it opens the door for the manager to be honest with you about his or her feelings. If concerns do exist, this is a great opportunity to overcome them. You have one final chance to dispel the concerns, sell your strengths and end the interview on a positive note.

A FEW THINGS TO REMEMBER DURING THE CLOSING PROCESS:

  • Don’t be discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific salary is discussed. The interviewer will probably want to communicate with the office first, or interview other applicants, before making a decision.
  • Make sure you know the answers to the following two questions before you arrive at the company: “Why are you interested in the company?” and “What can you offer our company?”
  • Express thanks for the interviewer’s time and consideration
  • Ask for the business card of each person you met with so you can write a thank you letter as soon as possible
  • When you get in your car, immediately write down key issues uncovered in the interview
  • A “thank you” letter should be written no later than 24 hours after the interview
  • In addition to writing a thank you note, email each person your thank you as well
  • If your interview was through TRG make sure to call your contact immediately after the interview – follow-up now is critical