Read these 25 Preparing for a Job Interview Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Resume tips and hundreds of other topics.
Even if you have all the answers to all the questions, you need to have the following verbal communication skills if you want to impress an interviewer.
1. Listen carefully to what is being asked before you answer a question.
2. Don't interrupt the interviewer.
3. Let the interviewer lead the interview.
4. Speak clearly.
5. Use proper grammar.
6. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification if you don't understand a question. It may be more embarrassing to speculate and give an inappropriate answer.
7. Answer concisely.
8. Don't exaggerate.
The listening skills that you demonstrate in an interview are critical to your success, not only as a candidate but as a professional. If an interviewer asks a question twice, or seems to rephrase a question, you may have missed something.
If you had a great interview and it seems like not only a great company, team and position, you want to make sure you let your interviewer know your intentions and your feelings.
Upon the conclusion of an interview, you should make sure that you thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. Immediately follow this by telling the interviewer that the interview not only convinced you that you are interested in the position, but also convinced you that your skill set and experience is ideal for the position.
Reinforce this by giving a brief summary of your qualifications. Don't go on for too long - highlight the top three skills you have that you feel make you tailor made for the position. (Don't ruin your brilliant summation by squealing your tires on the way out of the parking lot.)
It's hard to anticipate what behavior-based questions will be asked by an employer, but it would be a good idea to refine your skills by practicing your job interview answers to these popular behavior-based questions while preparing for a job interview:
1. Can you cite an example of how you handled a difficult situation with your boss or someone else senior to you?
2. Have you ever led a team to the successful completion of a project?
3. Have you ever taken the initiative to solve a problem or suggest an improvement at work?
Behavioral based interview questions are all about finding out how you handle situations in your professional life. You can prepare for these questions by studying potential questions and thinking through situations where you have had positive and negative experiences.
You should definitely let an interviewer lead the interview, but it is entirely appropriate for you to ask interview questions during an interview. Here are a few potential questions to ask during an interview:
1. What opportunities would I have for advancement?
2. What would be my approximate starting salary and correlated benefits?
3. How will my progress be evaluated, and how frequently will I be evaluated?
4. What are the current goals for the department, and what would be the expectations for my role?
5. Are there questions or concerns about my qualifications that I could address?
6. How will the rest of the search process proceed?
Make sure you bring a notebook and a pen with you to your interview. You should take notes during and after each job interview you go on so you can keep everything straight. Additionally, it looks better when you take notes. It means you are taking the interview seriously and that you are detail oriented.
You may think that a timely arrival is not a big deal, but it is. Many people have not gotten a job merely because they were late. If you think about it, there are so many applicants for jobs out there, timliness is an easy way to rule someone out.
Not only should you arrive on time for an interview, but you should try to arrive 15 minutes early. Barring a major disaster, a late arrival will probably lose the job for you.
Perform a little research on the evening before the interview to ensure that you have the right address and a reliable route to the meeting place. Linger in your car or a coffee shop if you arrive more than 15 minutes before the meeting time. By arriving too early, you become a burden.
The workplace is not a courtroom, so you can't plead the fifth when you're asked about your negative qualities. We all have them, after all, and your interviewer knows this as well!
The key to answering this question is to turn a negative into a positive. For instance, you may tell the interviewer that you're often too hard on yourself. Rather than simply being viewed as a negative quality, the employer may consider that attribute to be a sign of conscientiousness.
Everyone has their own style, but you need to be careful about how flamboyant and "out there" you are at a job interview. You don't want to be disqualified from the process because your potential boss thinks you look weird.
Avoid wearing large pieces of jewelry or heavy/unnatural makeup to an interview. These may distract the interviewer and, thus, detract from your performance.
You should also avoid wearing cologne or perfume. The interviewer may not only find the odor to be distracting or offensive, but may also be allergic to the ingredients.
An interview is an opportunity for someone to get to know you as a professional. Clearly, yes or no answers aren't going to give then a lot of insight into you or your abilities.
Although they seem simple, many people find open-ended questions to be difficult to answer. Practice your responses to these sample interview questions:
1. What are your best qualities?
2. What makes you the ideal candidate for this position?
3. What would be your ideal job?
It is always a struggle to know what to bring on an interview and what not to bring. You don't want to be encumbered by too much junk, but you want to look prepared. There are several items that you should bring to an interview.
• A briefcase (to look professional and to carry things easily)
• Pen and paper
• Extra copies of your resume
• Work samples (if appropriate)
• Business card
• List of references
Don't assume that sending something later will be acceptable. Be prepared, you will feel better being able to anticipate any needs they may have and you will look the consummate professional.
Practice, practice, practice.Make all your mistakes first with someone you know. Give them the tough questions you might anticipate and answer with honesty and courage. Keep practicing until you get comfortable with being able to admit there are things you just don't know. Gracious, humble people are an asset in the workforce.
There are several things that you should do to prepare for a phone interview.
1. Temporarily disable the call-waiting function. The constant beeping would be an annoyance, and answering a call would probably lead to an automatic disqualification.
2. Take advantage of being at home. During an in-person interview, you shouldn't have your resume and other reference materials spread out in front of you; however, a phone interview affords you the opportunity to have these documents at hand, and these resources may help to prevent you from being stumped.
3. Remember to speak clearly and focus. It's easy to become overly relaxed when you don't have to face the interviewer, but don't fall into this trap. You may want to sit in an office-style chair to encourage attentiveness.
One of the more important job interview tips is to assess your performance immediately after a job interview. Take some notes about how you answered various questions. Also take notes on the questions that were asked of you and how you might do a better job answering them for someone else.
By immediately assessing and working on your weak points, your interviewing performance will get better and better. You should also discuss the interview with someone else to get a broader perspective.
There are several important things that you should do at the beginning of an interview:
1. Give the interviewer a firm handshake and introduce yourself by using your full name.
2. Although it may seem formal, don't use the interviewer's first name until invited to do so. Make sure that you pronounce the interviewers name properly.
3. Provide the interviewer with a business card if you have one.
4. Let the interviewer initiate the conversation. Remember, you're not the interviewer.
Etiquette is sometimes considered antiquated and a little silly, but in situations like this, you really want to make the best impression possible. Following more fomal rules of interaction like using Mr. or Ms. and being deferential will really go a long way to making the best first impression possible.
Maybe you have now gone on a few interviews and you continue to not get a job offer. It is possible that you aren't paying attention to the signals being sent by your interviewers. It may be time for an honest look at yourself and your interviewing skills while preparing for a job interview in the future.
When you are conducting a self critique, there are two basic questions that you should ask yourself after a job interview:
1. What were my weaknesses? Don't waste your time by beating yourself up. You should immediately begin working on these weaknesses and consider that fact that you are fighting to overcome them as a strength in itself.
2. What were my strengths? Don't focus completely on the negatives. You should assess your strengths and make sure that you maintain them.
When you want to impress someone personally, you try to learn about them and prove that you care. This is no less important in a professional relationship, so here are several basic facts that you should collect before going to an interview:
• Names, titles, and backgrounds of key people in the organization
• Major products or services provided by the company
• Volume of business (revenue and profit)
• Number of employees
• National and international office locations
• Structure of the company
• Names and strengths/weaknesses of major competitors
• Companies reputation in the marketplace
• Latest news about the company or news that could affect the company
• Community involvement
Putting your best foot forward in an interview is not all about words and answers, there are a lot of physical queues that can make or break an interview. Nonverbal communication skills are very important for impressing interviewers because they are also a part of your daily professional life.
1. Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, but don't try to crush the person's hand. A firm handshake evokes strength and enthusiasm.
2. Maintain steady eye contact with the interviewer.
3. Don't slouch.
4. Dress in a proper manner.
5. Use positive facial expressions.
6. Don't use any profanity in your speech, no matter how comfortable you are.
Try not to be negative if an interviewer asks you why you want to leave your current job (or why you left your most recent job). There is often at least one negative motivation for leaving a job, but try to focus on the negatives that can be turned into positives.
You can tell an employer that you liked what you did at a former job, but, at the same time, it wasn't challenging enough. Employers typically aren't turned off by ambitious workers. Perhaps you have been in your current job for a long time, and there is no possibility of advancement or you are just ready for a change of scene or industry.
Even if there is a negative reason, try to use a reason that helps you sound professional, not like an employee with sour grapes.
If you are leaving your job because of adverse circumstances, be wary of discussing it with a prospective employer. If you do, try to put it in a positive light and express that you are just ready for a change. Life will always have negative aspects to it, but if you can turn them into positives, you will show your interviewer that you are upbeat and determined to find success.
Recruiters are looking for positive people. If you focus on negative experiences, you may be viewed as a potential troublemaker or whiner. Only discuss negative experiences if the interviewer asks you to do so.
Struggling with what to wear? Formal business attire is almost always preferred for an interview. We all know we make a better impression when we're cleaned up and looking good, so why not take the extra time and look great.
Regardless of whether employees wear formal attire at the prospective workplace, you should dress to impress and show respect to your employer. It's more likely that you'll be sneered at for under dressing, not overdressing.
The other benefit to more formal business attire is your own self confidence. You will feel more professional, smarter and more self assured if you look professional.
It's quite normal to be nervous before an interview, but there are a few things that you can do to help prevent you from sweating profusely and shaking during an interview.
1. Get a good night's sleep before the interview.
2. Don't alter daily routine just because you have a big interview.
3. Remind yourself that the employer must like your qualifications; otherwise, you wouldn't have been asked to come in for an interview.
4. Remember that the fate of the world doesn't rest on this one opportunity.
5. Don't drink too much coffee! Not only will it make you hyper, you may want to visit the restroom more than normal.
6. Consider exercising prior to your interview. If you can go for a run or get in a good workout, you will get rid of your excess nervous energy.
Behavior-based interviews, which are gaining popularity, focus on behaviors and experiences that are job related. Rather than simply listing your skills, past duties, and personal qualities, you will be asked to tell stories about how you handled specific situations at work.
The premise behind these interviews is that past behavior is a reliable predictor of future behavior; therefore, your answers should color your behavior as being both positive and effective.
You should also be truthful. In many instances you will be interviewing for a specific kind of position, perhaps a job where you are working remotely or a particularly intensive position and these types of jobs require specific personality types and skill sets. Don't pretend to be someone you aren't. You may end up with a job you don't like and that you are suited to.
Typically, an employer conducts a telephone interview or phone screen if the prospective employee doesn't currently live near the job site or if there a lot of candidates for a job.
This will allow the employer to determine whether someone is a viable candidate before investing the time and money involved in arranging an in-person interview. An employer may also conduct a phone interview if the prospective job involves a lot of telephone use.
You should treat a phone screen like an introductory interview. Try and make sure you are in a quiet room with a door that can close. Answer the questions as though you were in front of your perspective employer and come up with as many specific examples and anecdotes as you can. This phone call will determine whether or not you advance to the next step!!
The question always lurking in the background of every interview is Why Should I Hire You? To prepare yourself to answer that question, do as much homework on that employer as time allows. The answer is "I can meet your needs and deliver value to your (fill in the blank: company, department, processes, teams, products, bottom line, image, etc.)
There are many job interview questions that an employer may ask about the position or the company, but here are few popular ones to think about when preparing for a job interview:
1. What do you know about the organization?
2. Why do you want to work for the organization?
3. Why did you apply for this particular position?
4. What do you look for in a supervisor?
5. What kind of environment do you like to work in?
6. What are the elements that you desire in a job?
7. Are you willing to travel?
8. How do you respond to pressure?
9. Do you like working by yourself or in a team?
10. Do you like to be a leader?
Role play with a friend on how to answer interview questions. Practice will help you think about what you want to say and how you want to present yourself. Most important, think of experiences and examples that support your statements.
You're faced with quite a dilemma if an interviewer asks you illegal interview questions. Illegal interview questions can be about your personal life, your race, your children and family.
Basically, they are questions that may have discriminatory implications. You're certainly free to answer an illegal question, but you should consider that your answer may not be the answer that the employer is looking for.
However, if you choose not to answer, the employer may view you as being uncooperative. After considering these options, you should also ask yourself whether you're willing to work for someone who pays no heed to the legal system.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|