Click on a subject link or scroll
through this document to review helpful "Interview
If you can, visit the location or watch as they arrive
or leave work to see how current employees (including bosses)
dress. Keep in mind that you don't want anything distracting
the interviewer from evaluating your skills or your abilities.
Clothing, hairstyles and accessories must fit the
company image and the job you are applying for.
Conservatism is always in good taste. Your image
is set with the interviewer within the first twenty seconds.
Hosiery conservative. Women should carry a spare
Fragrances and flashy jewelry are distracting.
Teeth brushed. Use a mint just before your interview.
Hair clean, conservatively cut and combed.
Nails trimmed and clean. Clear or light polish for
Shave for the men. Shadow beards are for the movies.
· Wear a suit or skirt and tailored blazer, dress,
or dress with jacket; in conservative style, color and fabric.
· Keep makeup and accessories to a minimum.
· No fragrances. Clear or light colored nail polish
· Lower heel shoes in the event that an extended
tour of the facility is part of the interview.
· Wear a suit; blue or gray, conservative. For a
more casual job; slacks and shirt with tie is acceptable.
· Shirts of solid color, preferable white. Ties
with conservative small pattern or stripes, shoes shined.
· Shave, no fragrances, hair clean, neatly trimmed,
no flashy jewelry or earrings, nails clean and trimmed.
It is an accepted fact that many interviewers make decisions
about an applicant during the first five minutes and spend
the rest of the time justifying that decision. Be ready
to take advantage of that very small amount of time to make
the right impression. You will be successful if you have
done your research and practice.
These interviews are performed to screen out individuals
who don't meet the company requirements- by comparing your
qualifications with job requirements.
· Treat screeners as though they were making the
final decision - they are deciding if you will go to the
· Use the information you gain to your advantage
in subsequent interviews.
· Your main purpose is to make a good impression.
The company will be looking for someone who can solve problems
and be a productive member of their team.
One on One
Most often used by companies
· Informal: Interviewer has a general idea
of what to ask, but follows the trend of the conversation
rather than any preset list of questions.
· Structured: Questions are written out,
based on job requirements and will be asked of every applicant.
This is often a longer interview since all questions must
be asked of all candidates and then compared.
· Unstructured: After one or two questions,
the interviewer may sit back and wait for you to make the
next move. Ask questions about the job or the company and
after an answer, respond with how your strengths and interests
· Sequential: Interviewing with several people
one at a time. Handle this as though each one was the only
one, even if it means many things will be repeated.
You will likely meet with more than one person at a time.
· Teamwork is important. They want to see
how effective you are as part of a group.
· Start your answer by looking at the questioner.
Then make eye contact with each member of the group as you
· Don't assume the questioner is the decision
maker. Try to figure out the power structure within the
group, but don't let it distract you.
This can not be stressed enough. The more
you go through the entire scenario, actually practicing
the greeting, standing, sitting, saying the words aloud
as well as picturing it in your mind, the more comfortable
you will be and the more effective your presentation.
· Getting to the interview. If possible,
make a trial trip to anticipate traffic or parking problems.
If you are taking public transportation, allow time for
· Different settings. Test chairs and sofas,
sitting across a desk or table, or side by side with someone.
See how the clothes you plan to wear are affected (slide
up, open up or are pulled up) by various seating positions
and how you will be able to make notes in each situation.
· Answering questions. Practice short, summary
type answers for questions which begin with words like,
"Summarize for me ..." or "Give me a brief
recap of ...." as well as specific details to add to
questions like, "Give me an example of a problem you've
had and how you handled it'd., or Tell me some specific
details about...". Be confident and concise, but not
so brief that important information is omitted.
· Rehearse with others. Ask a friend or family
member to role-play the interviewer. Go through several
interviews this way with notes. Memorize and practice the
answers to questions until they sound natural and unrehearsed.
The more you tell your story, the more relaxed and adaptable
you will be. A tape recorder or video recorder can give
you valuable feedback.
· Facts about the company. Find information
about the company and decide how you will use it in the
interview. Information may be available at the local library
under corporations or in newspaper or periodical articles.
Include how your achievements fit the company objectives.
· Questions you will ask. Do ask questions
It shows your interest. The best questions are about the
job, the company, expectations and other related areas.
· What to take to the interview. Extra copies
of your resume, paper and pen, reference letters, work samples,
dates, addresses, reminder notes.
· Arrive before the actual interview time.
Usually 10 minutes before your appointment is about right.
Give yourself time to avoid traffic, to park, and to walk
to the office area.
· Bring extra resume copies and bring your
notes on the company, your questions, contact numbers of
· Be friendly to the receptionist. Be pleasant
and thank the interviewer for their help. Don't assume the
interviewer has time to visit with you.
· Take the opportunity to look around. See
how the work area is organized and how the employees treat
each other, customers or vendors.
· Review any information you have with you.
Go through one final rehearsal in your mind.
· Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake
and a smile. Repeat his or her name along with your
appreciation for the opportunity to interview.
Even if you have a resume, you may be asked
to complete the company's application form. Do this even
though the information will be duplicated. They are looking
for how well you complete a document, how well you follow
instructions, and whether the information is consistent.
· Read through the application first. Determine
what they are asking for. If the application say's "print",
· Don't leave blanks or say "see resume."
Be as specific as possible. Have notes and/or extra
resume copies with you to be accurate.
· Read the disclaimers at the end of the application.
These usually have to do with references, employment requirements
and other information. Sign the application and be prepared
to follow the rules.
· Handshake: Always shake hands; use firm,
but not crushing pressure. Also appropriate at the conclusion
of the interview regardless of whether you are pleased or
· Eye contact: Be natural, as with any conversation.
Avoiding contact can be read as a sign you are not interested
or too shy to handle a job which requires working effectively
· Sitting: Choose a chair closest to the
interviewer; sit comfortably, but don't slouch. Leaning
slightly forward shows interest, but don't lean on the desk.
· Gestures: Use hands naturally to make a
point. Don't cover your mouth as you speak or twist your
·Being late. Phone, if possible. If not,
apologize and ask if they can see you or reschedule.
·Wrong date, time or place. Apologize and
try to reschedule. Send a letter indicating this is an unusual
·Interviewer being interrupted. Be patient,
make a note where the conversation was stopped. Stay alert.
·Off the wall questions. Such as your favorite
color, movie, dinner guest, animal, etc. Answer the best
you can; try to determine if the interviewer is trying to
put you at ease, having some fun or seeing if you can "think
on your feet."
·Illegal questions. (Questions that could
be interpreted as biased against women, minorities, seniors
or disabled.) May be testing your reaction or may not know
it's illegal. It is up to you if you want to question the
job relatedness or to answer. It would probably not be advisable
to enter into a legality hassle at this time or with this
·Getting caught in a contradiction. Be honest
that one or the other answer might have been an error due
to stressor misunderstanding the question.
·Changing answers. It's OK when necessary.
You may need to add, clarify or qualify a previous answer.
When your mind goes blank. Ask the interviewer to repeat
the question or restate it. They understand stress.
It Is Your Turn To Ask Questions
· Company Questions. What's the company's
future? Is there a realistic career path? How does my department
fit into the plan? What are the hours, co-workers, policies,
· Job Questions. Is this a new or replacement
job? Is there formal training? What kind? How much? Who
pays for the training? Is there a probationary or tryout
period? How do my responsibilities fit in?
· Salary Questions. These questions are usually
reserved for the second interview. Be realistic about an
offer. Is there a bonus or commission in addition to the
salary? How does it work? Is the salary at or above what
others are getting for the same or similar jobs and experience.
(More research for you).
· Benefits Questions. Company benefits are
often worth from 25% to 50% or more of the cash salary offer
and are important to consider. When will you be eligible
for each plan? Do you have a choice of the benefits available?
How much of the premium do you pay?
Follow-up is often neglected, but it's just as important
as research before an interview. You have an opportunity
to help swing things your way when the interviewer needs
· During the Interview think about how you
will follow up. Write down names and titles, job duties
and major points discussed.
· After the Interview. As soon as you can,
make additional notes on important points & anything
needing strengthening or explanation. Write the interviewer
on the same day, but not later than the next!
· Follow-up Letter. One page long, expressing
your thanks for the interview. State your interest in the
job and a brief recap of how your qualifications meet the
company's needs. Close with another statement of appreciation,
your belief that you can perform the job successfully and
you are looking forward to hearing from the interviewer,
or that you will call at a specific time to follow up.
· Follow-up Telephone Call. Sometimes a call
can move things along. Remember that a phone call must be
planned and organized just like a letter or an interview.
Write a script and keep it short and businesslike.
· When you have sent a follow-up letter and
have not heard back for a couple of weeks, a call may generate
some interest or an answer about whether you are in the
· When you have received another job offer and
want to see if this company is serious about you and your
· When something affecting your application has
changed and you want to make the company aware.
· If not chosen ask the interviewer to help you
understand why you were not the one. Listen and make
notes. Show you understand the reasons & if you think
you can overcome them say you still believe you are the
right candidate ask for a second interview. If you get a
second interview - rehearse often.
Tell me about yourself?
How would you describe yourself?
How do you get along with people?
Please tell me about your background?
Why do you think you would like to work for our firm?
What do you believe are your strongest qualities?
What do you believe are your weakest qualities?
How long would it take you to make a contribution to the
Why have you changed jobs so often?
Explain your gaps in employment?
Why are you considering changing jobs now?
What are your most important skills? How can they be used
Have you had any accidents or illnesses that prevented
you from working?
Have you encountered any health problems?
Describe what you know about our industry?
What do you see yourself doing in five years?
How long would you stay with us?
Why did you choose your particular field of work?
What are your ideas on salary?
What kind of boss do you prefer?
Can you take instructions without getting upset?
Do you prefer any specific geographic location? Why?
Do you like to travel?
Are you willing to go where the company sends you?
Do you like routine work?
Do you like regular hours?
Are you looking for a permanent or temporary job?
Do you have dependable transportation?
Will you stay home from work if your children are sick?
Why did you leave your last job?
Have you ever been fired or asked to leave a job? Why?
May we contact your present employer?