The Interview

The job interview is the moment of truth.  No matter how good you are, if you interview poorly, your chances of receiving a job offer are almost nil.  Following these proven techniques will greatly increase your chances in the hotly competitive world of business.


Prior preparation will enable you to be confident, overcome interviewing inexperience, and sell yourself and your qualifications.  Begin by preparing your employment, educational and miscellaneous inventory sheets which will outline your qualifications.  On these sheets, which are for your eyes only, state the facts. Don't be modest, don't minimize your strengths and be specific when describing results.
Never go on an interview without first researching the organization.  The Internet is an excellent source of organization information.  Focus your research on the factual, business sites that accurately depict the organization products / services, markets, sales volume, locations and subsidiaries. 

The First Impression

Greet the interviewer with a smile, and offer a firm handshake.  Nothing creates a poorer impression than a weak, couple-of-fingers handshake.

Dress professionally, even in more casual work environments.  Conservative business suit.  Polished, professional shoes.  Minimum (or no) fragrance, jewelry or accessories.  

How to Answer Questions

The question-answering rule says, "Answer every question in terms of your background and qualifications or in terms of the job to be filled."

"Tell me about yourself" means, "Tell me about your qualifications."  It is not an open invitation to tell your life’s story.  Preplan a three-to-five-minute answer describing your education and then mention each job in terms of accomplishment or performance indicators.

Personality questions attempt to determine if you have the qualities being sought. "What kind of manager are you? Are you creative?" Answer these questions in terms of the obvious answer supported by past or present experiences as proof of your claim.

Motive questions are asked to determine if you would enjoy the job. "Describe your ideal job. Would you prefer to work for a large or small company?  What did you like most / least about your last job?"  Answer these questions as they relate to the job for which you are interviewing, following the question-answering rule.  Be specific and emphatic.

Salary Questions.  When asked what you desire, say, "I'm presently earning $ _______."   
Prepare for tough questions.  Anticipate what they will be. They will focus on: reasons for leaving; quality of performance.  Be brief but factual.  Write out your answers, refine and memorize.

Asking Questions

Your résumé may be impressive on paper, but employers also appreciate a candidate who can ask several intelligent questions during an interview.  Prepare at least 3 or 4 questions in advance to ask the interviewer.  Interviews are an exchange of information, and not having questions to ask can reveal a lack of preparation.

Avoid questions relating to salary, fringes, vacations and retirement until the job is offered and you accept.

Ask for the job.  "I can do what you want done and I want the job!"  The interviewer wants to know that you are sincerely interested in the opportunity. 

After the Interview

Write a brief follow-up letter, using email only when the next step decision will be made immediately.

Contact your recruiter immediately and discuss what transpired.  If you're interested in the position, your recruiter will help you get it.

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