After many years in the Recruiting business, our specialists really have seen it all in interviews. There are lots of factors affecting the final hire. While candidates can’t influence the job’s required skill or experience level, there is a great deal they can affect. From our experience, here are some suggestions aimed at helping applicants to put their best foot forward in the interview.
Learn about the company, the products, industry, market etc. Do a store check. One of the goals of the interview is to find out what you will contribute to the organization and how you will fit with them. When the interview is set up, feel free to ask if they have any company information, such as a website, brochure, annual report, extended job description or company background information.
Make a strong and professional first impression
You can never take back your fist impression, wear your best business suit. Dress as you would on the first day. If you get the impression that it’s a casual environment, wait until you get the job to join in. Arrive five minutes early for the interview and wait patiently if they are late starting. Make sure you are calm – give yourself enough time and make sure your mind is on the interview, not your parking meter. Shake hands with the interviewer(s) and make eye contact during the interview.
Focus on your past accomplishments. Talk about what you enjoyed about your previous position. Focus on new challenges. If an interview question explores what made you leave your last position, rather than making negative remarks about your previous employer, focus on what goals, challenges, priorities etc. you are seeking in this new position. Discuss career progression through your resume and why this opportunity becomes a logical “next step”
Prepare Several Interview Questions
Your dual role on an interview is to market your skills and interview the company. Timely, appropriate questions not only provide you with valuable information about the company, but questions help create a positive conversational atmosphere between yourself and the company.
- What are the common denominators of successful people in this company?
- What characteristics are unique about this company?
- What outside influences affect the company’s growth?
- What are the short and long-range company objectives?
- In what areas does this company excel?
- How can I contribute to the department and contribute to overall company goals?
- What is the organizational structure of: a) this department? b) the company?
- How long was the last person in this position? What made this person successful? Are there additional skills needed for this position now?
- What would you add or subtract to the incumbent’s performance?
- What would you expect me to achieve during my first six months to a year? What obstacles do you foresee that I would have to overcome?
- Why do you enjoy working here?
- What is your background?
- What distinguishes you from your competitors?
- What do you see as the primary focus of the department?
- What are the long-term goals/appropriate for the person in this position?
- Who are the key people I will interface with and how can I help them?
- Tell me about yourself?
- What attracted you to this company?
- Where do you think I could contribute most effectively now that you have met me?
Questions commonly asked by Employers
- Tell me about yourself. (ask- Where do you want me to start?)
- Why do you want to leave your present position? (possible answers challenge, location, advancement, money, prestige, security)
- What do you do best in your present position?
- What are your career goals? Long term / Short term?
- Why are your interested in this position?
- Do you think this position offers you the challenges you need?
- What are you looking for in a job?
- What can you do for our company?
- What distinguishes you from others in your field?
- What are your greatest strengths as a person?
- What are your greatest weaknesses or areas you want to improve?
- How would your boss or co-workers describe you?
- How do you: a) set priorities? b) organize your time? c) Solve problems?
- How do you feel about relocation now or in the future?
- How do you feel about the commute?
Salary and Benefits
Do not bring up the subject of salary or benefits.
- Initiating a discussion on salary/benefits identifies you as one that is motivated only by money.
- On the company’s employment application, do not leave the section for desired salary blank (write in negotiable or open).
- If the employer asks what you are currently earning be honest and specific.
- If the employer asks what your salary requirements are, your response should be, “I currently earn $_____ and I would expect a fair offer.”
Specifying a desired salary is likely to underprice/overprice you, and/or impede our ability to negotiate the best possible offer to you.
Closing the Interview
It is important that you leave the interview expressing enthusiasm about the position as well as uncovering any doubts that the interviewer may have about you as a viable candidate for the position. Below is the correct way to close an interview.
Script: “I am very interested in this position. Now that we have met, what reservations or questions do you have about my qualifications or ability to do the job?”
After asking the question, it is necessary to be patient and wait for a response. The interviewer’s response may be all that stands between you and the position that you desire.
If the interviewer’s response is “None” (this is your opportunity to separate yourself from the crowd) ASK FOR THE JOB eg. “When can I start?” or “Great, what else do you need from me to move forward to the next step?” Remember the last impression is a lasting impression.
If the interviewer states a reservation, respond with a description of actual work experience in your background that may not have been disclosed in the interview, or illustrate a similar work experience. Remember that when responding to any interview question, do not just answer yes or no. Give a specific example and paint a verbal picture of that experience.
If you are interested in the position, tell them so. If they offer the position to you, and you want it, accept it on the spot.
If you wish time to think it over, be courteous and tactful in asking for that time. Set a definite date when you can provide an answer and then respond prior to it. Do not create the impression that you are playing one company against the other to drive up the bidding.
Don’t be discouraged if no definite offer or specific salary is discussed.
Thank the interviewer for this/her time and consideration. If you have answered the two questions uppermost in their mind:
- Why are you interested in this company?
- What can you offer?
You have done all you can.
It is important for you to call us immediately to discuss the interview. We need to work together to get an offer of employment.
Send a follow-up email to the employer. This should consist of the following themes:
- Thank each person for their time.
- Express your confidence in doing the job.
- Three reasons why you can do the job.
- Express interest in pursuing the opportunity and look forward to hearing from them soon.
Be sure that you spell the company name and contact names correctly!