Interviewing Strategies

Prior to your meeting:

Research the company thoroughly before you go.  Look for any recent press releases, annual reports, sales numbers and potential mergers and acquisitions.  Who are the key people in the organization? What is the size of the company in terms of sales and employees?  Who are their major competitors, clients and suppliers?  Know the full names and titles of the people whom you will meet.  Have they been mentioned recently for a promotion or record-breaking deal?  People like to hear good things about themselves. 

Know the exact time and place of the meeting.  If you are not familiar with the area, go there the day before and map it out.  Find out where you will park, how you will get into the building, who you are to ask for and what you are expected to bring with you. 

Go over your resume the night before the interview.  Look at each position you have held at various companies.  Think about what made you invaluable to your company in each of those roles.  What tasks did you look forward to doing?  Refresh yourselves with the dates you were at each company.  Be ready to explain each move you made.
Get plenty of sleep.

The day of your meeting:

Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early
Look your best. Wear clean, pressed, stylish business attire. Be cautious about the amount of perfume, cologne or jewelry you wear. Better to be understated. Bring breath mints and DO NOT smoke or drink prior to your meeting. Save the celebration for afterwards.
If you are given an employment application, make 2 copies and fill this out before you get there. Have several copies of your resume and a separate list of reference in case asked.

In the meeting:

Have a firm handshake, smile and project energy and enthusiasm when you walk into the room. Be alert and interested; listen carefully before responding and always look the other person in the eyes while speaking.
Wait until someone asks you to be seated. Be mindful of body language. Sit up straight and do not cross your arms.
Early in the meeting, get the interviewer to describe the duties of the position in his or her own words.
When answering questions, speak slowly and confidently. Answer questions honestly and with sincerity.
Try not to give a "yes" or "no" answer. The person you are speaking with is trying to get a feel for your skill set, as well as your personality.
If you don’t understand the question or need time to think about it, say so. Never pretend to know something you don't.
Always speak about previous employers in a positive way.
Try to answer questions as succinctly as possible. If the interviewer wants more specific information, he or she will ask for it. Try to stay away from controversial issues.
Do not bring up vacation, benefits or salary in the first interview unless you are asked. Save this until you know they want to hire you.

Questions you should expect to answer:

  • What do you see yourself doing in 5 years from now?
    The answer should be related to the industry and field of the position for which you are interviewing.
  • In what ways do you make yourself invaluable?
    This is your chance to brag! What are you great at? What sets you apart from the 5 other people they met today?
  • What is your greatest strength?
    Be prepared to talk about not only a strength, but one that directly relates to this position. Let then know why you are qualified.
  • What is your greatest weakness?
    Be careful. You should mention one of your "growth areas" but be sure to also elaborate on the strategies you use to overcome this weakness.
  • Tell me about yourself.
    Summarize in 2-3 sentences how your education, past job experiences and skill set matches this particular job opportunity. Rehearse this answer!
  • What interests you about our company and this opportunity?
    Use your knowledge about the company to show your sincere interest. Give a specific reason why THIS job appeals to you.
  • What activities do you participate in outside of work?
    Prospective employers ask this to see what type of balance of life you are looking for between your personal and professional lives. Don't list too many activities that could interfere with your work.

Questions you should ask:

What would I be expected to accomplish in this position?
How would you describe your ideal candidate?
What are the greatest challenges of this job?
How do you think I would fit into the group?

In closing:

If you are interested in the job, say so.
Ask about the next step in the hiring process.
If you get the feeling the interview is not going well, don't let it show. Remain upbeat and poised until the very end. There may be other openings in the company for which you are a better fit.
Be enthusiastic about the job and the company.
Always follow up with a thank you note to everyone you meet. Thank them for their time and remind them why you are the best person for this job. An email is fine.


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