Interview Useful Tips

General Tips

Increase your chances of being selected by making a good first impression.

Research the Company and the Position

The more you know about the company and the job you are applying for, the better you will appear in the interview. An interviewer will be impressed by your interest and motivation. Moreover, identify those areas of the company where your unique skills and experience will add value to the business.

Search for the following:

  • Office locations;
  • Products and services;
  • Customers;
  • Competitors;
  • Philosophy;
  • History;
  • Recent news;
  • Financial info, including salary and stock.

Prepare for the Actual Interview

Practice your answers to the questions proposed in our Job Seeker's F.A.Q.s section. Prepare a list with the questions you might have for the employer.

Most interviews follow this pattern: you first answer questions about your experience and qualifications, then you ask questions about the job. Rehearse your interview with a friend. You should be able to convey all pertinent information about yourself in 15 minutes. Tape yourself to check your diction, speed, and body language. Prepare your interview materials before you leave. Bring several copies of your resume, a list of references, and, if appropriate, any work samples. Make sure they are all up-to-date. Dress professionally and comfortably. You will be judged in some respects by what you wear. When in doubt, dress conservatively.

Job Interview Types

There are different types of job interviews you may participate in during the hiring process. Here are the major ones and tips on how to handle them:

Stress Interview

Stress interviews are a deliberate attempt to see how you self-control:

  • Interviewer may be sarcastic or argumentative, or may keep you waiting
  • Don't take it personally
  • Calmly answer each question as it comes
  • Ask for clarifications if you need them and never rush into an answer
  • Interviewer might lapse into silence at some point during the questioning, an attempt to unnerve you. Sit silently until the interviewer resumes the questions. If a minute goes by, ask if he or she needs clarifications on your last comments

One-On-One Interview

  • Establish that you have the skills and education necessary for the position
  • Interviewer wants to see if you will fit in with the company
  • Goal: establish a rapport with the interviewer and show him or her that your qualifications will benefit the company

Screening Interview

A screening interview is meant to weed out unqualified candidates. Providing facts about your skills is more important than establishing a rapport challenging your qualifications. Provide answers to their questions, and never volunteer any additional information. That information could work against you. One type of screening interview is the telephone interview.

Lunch Interview

The same rules apply in lunch interviews as in those held at the office. The setting might be more casual, but remember it is a business lunch and you are being watched carefully. Use the lunch interview to develop common ground with your interviewer. Follow his or her lead in both the selection of food and in etiquette.

Committee Interview

Committee interviews are a common practice. You will face several members of the company who have a say in whether you are hired. When answering questions from several people, speak directly to the person asking the question; it is not necessary to answer to the group. In some committee interviews, you may be asked to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. The committee will outline a situation and ask you to formulate a plan that deals with the problem. You don't have to come up with the ultimate solution. The interviewers are looking for how you apply your knowledge and skills to a real-life situation.

Telephone Interview

Telephone interviews are merely screening interviews meant to eliminate poorly qualified candidates so that only a few are left for personal interviews. You might be called out of the blue, or a telephone call to check on your resume might turn into an interview. Your mission is to be invited for a personal face-to-face interview. Some tips for telephone interviews: Keep your notes handy: Have any key information, including your resume, notes about the company, and any cue cards you have prepared, next to the phone. You will sound prepared if you don't have to search for information. Make sure you also have a notepad and pen so you can jot down notes and any questions you would like to ask at the end of the interview. Avoid salary issues: If you are asked how much money you would expect, try to avoid the issue by using a delaying statement or give a broad range with a $15,000 spread. At this point, you do not know how much the job is worth. Push for a face-to-face meeting: Sell yourself by closing with something like: "I am very interested in exploring the possibility of working in your company. I would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you in person so we can both better evaluate each other. I am free either Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. Which would be better for you?" Try to reschedule surprise interviews: You will not be at your best in case of a surprise interview. If you were called unexpectedly, try to set an appointment to call back by saying something like: "I have a scheduling conflict at this time. Can I call you back tomorrow after work, say 6 PM?"

Interview Behavior

Establishing a Rapport During a Job Interview

By establishing a rapport with your interviewer, you build "common ground" between the both of you. It is important to listen and be sensitive to the interviewer's style.

Listen closely to the interviewer for cues on how you should act. Is he being formal or informal? How loudly is he speaking? What sort of information is he trying to solicit: general, professional, or personal? Once you have determined where the interviewer is 'coming from,' you can follow his or her lead.

Try to speak with the same rhythm and tone of voice. Make some friendly observations about your surroundings. If the interview is conversational, make small talk about your interests, hobbies, or what you did last weekend. Be positive and upbeat. All of these will help both of you relax and establish a connection. It's important to appear open and friendly as well. Give the interviewer a firm handshake if he offers it, and remember to smile. Make sure you look attentive, with good posture and consistent eye-contact.

Making a Good Impression on Job Interviews

Here's what you should keep in mind the day of the interview and immediately afterwards.

Before the Interview

  • Be on time. It is an evidence of your commitment, dependability, and professionalism;
  • Be positive and try to make others feel comfortable. Show openness by leaning into a greeting with a firm handshake and smile. Don't make negative comments about current or former employers;
  • Relax. Think of the interview as a conversation, not an interrogation.

During the Interview

  • Show self-confidence. Make eye contact with the interviewer and answer his questions in a clear voice;
  • Remember to listen;
  • Think before answering a difficult question;
  • When it is your turn, ask the questions you have prepared in advance. These should cover any information about the company and job position you could not find in your own research;
  • Do not ask questions that raise red flags;
  • Show you want the job. You might also ask about specific details of the job position, such as functions, responsibilities, who you would work with, and who you would report to;
  • Avoid negative body language. Avoid these signs of nervousness and tension:
    • Frequently touching your mouth;
    • Faking a cough to think about the answer to a question;
    • Gnawing on your lip;
    • Tight or forced smiles;
    • Swinging your foot or leg;
    • Folding or crossing your arms;
    • Slouching;
    • Avoiding eye contact;
    • Picking at invisible bits of lint.

After the Interview

  • End the interview with a handshake and thank the interviewer for his or her time. Reiterate your interest in the position and your qualifications. Ask if you can telephone in a few days to check on the status of your application. If they offer to contact you, politely ask when you should expect the call;
  • Follow up with a phone call if you are not contacted within a week from the moment the interviewer indicated you would be called.