Being prepared for an interview is the most important step you can take towards making that interview a success! Learn how to be prepared by practicing how to handle tough and sometimes tricky questions, how to dress, what questions you can and should ask, what questions are best to avoid, how to spot which type of interviewer you have and how to handle each one.
The Basics of Interviewing
The Basics of Interviewing
- Have multiple copies of your resume.
- Have multiple copies of your reference sheets.
- Have the full and correct name, title, company name, address, phone number and email.
- Do your homework. Research as much information as possible about the company. With technology, companies expect you to research them before your interview. One way to impress your hiring authority is by citing current information about their company, their competitors or about the industry overall. You want to sound like an "insider" in their Profession.
- Resources all over the Internet have questions to prepare you for an interview. You need to practice out loud or even with another professional so you are prepared for any question asked in your interview.
- Check transportation and take a practice run to ensure you are 15 minutes early for your interview.
- Have at least three questions prepared. Do not ask questions about what they can do for you; ask questions that give you yet another opportunity to sell yourself.
- At the end of your interview, if you want the job ask for it!
- Thank the hiring authority for their time and ask them what the next step is in the interviewing process. You may ask them when they plan on making a decision.
- Make sure they know you are interested and also that you know you are capable of actually doing the job successfully!
Ten Tips to a Successful Interview
Interviews are often designed to be the second part of the interviewing process. The first step is reviewing your resume. They usually choose anywhere from five to ten and then narrow down to two or three resumes to actively pursue. The interviewing process is different for every corporation. Some companies have one or two interviews; others may have as many as five. Typically larger companies may require interviews with several different individuals. For example, HR may be the initial interview, followed by interviews with various department heads or senior executive officers. In all situations, the goal of any interview is the same. An interview is designed to determine whether or not an individual will be a good fit for the company.
Many factors determine a good fit such as education, experience, personality, personal strengths and weaknesses.
The following are TEN TIPS to assist you with the process.
TIP #1Know the exact address and have directions.
TIP #2Know the dress code, but always dress professionally.
TIP #3Be prepared for your discussion. Research the company, stocks, competitors, financials, etc. The more you know, the better your chances are of being hired.
TIP #4Always arrive fifteen minutes early. Make sure you are courteous and professional to anyone you meet once you get to your interview.
TIP #5Greet your interviewer with direct eye contact, a firm handshake and a smile. Body language is observed and often is judged as well. First impressions go a long way both positive and negative.
TIP #6Look around the office in which you are being interviewed. Look at the walls for degrees or awards. Also, look at the desk for photos or other interests they may have. If it is appropriate, you can bring up any similarities you may have. This makes an interview less formal.
TIP #7Listen and follow the interviewer's lead. Sometimes the interviewer will let you know their expectations. If so, follow and try to stay on track. If not, let them be your guide and follow along. Stay on topic and avoid any distractions.
TIP #8Ensure you are answering the question you were asked. Answer the question - not too short and not too long. You can often read your interviewer's expression and know when they are satisfied with your answer.
TIP #9Be yourself, but don't become too relaxed. Remain professional throughout the entire interview.
TIP #10Try to be both tactical and strategic with your questions. Use your research and try to engage your interviewer. It is good to have a few questions prepared before your interview.
The bottom line is to ask for feedback as to what the next step in the hiring process is.
Make sure you tell your prospective employer that you want the job before you leave the interview. Try to give specific examples why you feel you would be a good fit for the opportunity.
Interview Questions - You Must Know the Answers
These are just some examples of questions you may be asked during your interviews. Each interviewer has their own personal interviewing style and will ask questions that they are comfortable asking. You must be prepared with positive answers to ALL questions. Therefore, it is good to take a list like the one below and practice your answers. Another great way to ensure that your answers are good is to have someone you know and trust ask you interviewing questions out loud. You will then be able to hear your answers and make any needed adjustments. Stay positive! Think before you speak! Be honest! Be yourself!
- Why are you interested in working for our organization?
- Why do you feel your background would qualify you for this position?
- Describe your professional strengths.
- Describe your personal strengths and your weaknesses.
- Please describe your primary accomplishments on your last job.
- Do you prefer working in a group or independently?
- What do you know about our company?
- What do you know about our top competitors?
- What do you like best about your current job?
- What do you like least about your current job?
- Do you have supervisory experience? Please explain in detail.
- Who are your role models and why?
- What is your educational background?
- What are your career goals for the next three to five years?
- How much do you believe you are worth to a prospective employer in terms of salary and how did you arrive at this amount?
- Why do you think you would like this position?
- Explain the organizational structure in your last company and where did you fit in.
- Describe your management style (if applicable).
- What type of honors or recognition did you receive while in school (high school or college)?
- How would you go about establishing yourself with your employees and co-workers if we hire you?
- Describe a typical work day on your present job.
- What was the best job you ever had? Why?
- What are you looking for in your next job?
- How much pressure was there in your last job? How did you handle it?
- Why do you want to change careers?
- Why should we hire you?
- Have you ever been terminated? Why?
- How well do you get along with your current boss?
- Describe a person who has helped you with your career.
- What type of environment do you find most appealing?
- Are you a good communicator? Please give an example.
- Describe your last job to me.
- What would your present boss say about you if I asked him or her?
- Describe your ideal job.
- Do you have any plans to advance your education?
- What are your impressions of our facilities since you arrived?
- Why do you want this job?
- What are three or four of the most important requirements of your next job?
- What were the most challenging aspects of your last job?
Questions You Can Ask on Your Interview
Although the majority of your time in a formal interview will deal with you answering questions, you should also be prepared to ask some of your own in order to clarify issues or previous statements and demonstrate your interest in the position and organization.
In most cases, you should plan to ask your questions toward the conclusion of your interview. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking appropriate questions during the course of your interviewing. Ideally, you want to strive for a friendly, ongoing exchange of dialog throughout the entire interview and an occasional question may facilitate this objective.
Always ask your questions at what appears to be an appropriate time and always in an objective manner. Each question you pose should signal to the interviewer that you are simply looking for additional information because of your interest in the position and organization.
The following are questions you can ask during your interviews:
- When do you think you will be making a decision?
- What is the next step in your interviewing process?
- Will you be considering either additional internal candidates or external candidates?
- Can you tell me anything about the department supervisor's management style?
- What would be the typical career path for this position?
- What was the reason the last employee left the position / company?
- Do you have any additional questions about my resume or qualifications?
- May I have one of your business cards?
- How should we proceed at this point? Will you contact me or should I contact you?
- Is there anything else that I can clarify for you?
- What were the primary reasons the previous employee was not successful?
- When do you need to have this position filled?
DO NOT ask "ME" questions especially on a first interview. Stay away from questions regarding:
- Vacation Time
- Sick time
Your job is to SELL YOURSELF in your interviews. The "ME" questions will be answered once you have had more than one interview with any company.
How Do You Handle Salary
Money is never an easy topic to discuss. Most of us don't know what our parents, siblings or best friends earn. It's just NOT discussed easily.
When you are in a job search it is ALWAYS discussed. The more comfortable you become with this topic, the more money you will be able to negotiate.
You don't want to "undersell" yourself, yet you don't want to be screened out for a few dollars a month. Let's start with the application. They all ask for your current and desired salary. They don't really MEAN desired salary, they want to know what you will accept if you are offered a position with their company.
Most employers don't know what they will really pay for a position. They do have a range in mind, but it depends on how well you interview.
For your current salary, list your salary and put two plus (+) signs next to the total. That indicates your bonuses, benefits and other perks you need to discuss.
For your desired salary, never put a specific amount, but put the word "negotiable." Remember, your offer depends on how well you interview.
If you are asked during an interview, "What will it take for us to hire you?" Your answer should be, "My current base salary is ________, plus my bonuses and benefits. I'm very confident I could do your job and extremely interested in working for you. I don't want to take a step back and I'm sure your offer will be more than fair." Often that is answer enough. After all, you need to compare the benefit packages including costs, deductions, matching percentage for the 40lK benefit, etc. You also want to let the employer know that you need to look at the entire package.
Also, make sure you wrote down your exact base salary. You can't increase that number because many companies do background checks that will include verifying your salary. In addition, many companies ask for a copy of your W-2 Form from the prior year.
To increase the offer you receive, do the following:
- Make sure you quote accurate numbers.
- Ace the interview and the offer WILL increase.
- When you interview don't FACT FIND, put everything on the table that you will bring to this position.
- Show your confidence in doing this job and let the interviewer know you are interested.
It is important that MONEY becomes a topic that you are very comfortable discussing!
The Job Offer
Once the preparation is done, the interviewing process is complete and your follow-up is finished, what comes next? Hopefully a job offer! You have put a lot of hard work into your job search. You now are receiving job offers. It seems like this would be the easy part of the process. However, if you are making a career move, you know how much is at stake. Your decision will literally change your life. Often, your job change will also effect spouse, children and friends.
You cannot take the offer stage lightly. Many areas need to be evaluated, such as:
- THE COMPANY
- Do I like management?
- Do I see myself fitting in with other employees?
- Is the company stable?
- What is the future of the corporation?
- THE POSITION
- Does it meet my immediate career goals?
- Does the salary and benefits meet my needs?
- Is this a newly created position?
- Why is the position open?
- Are there advancement opportunities?
- THE CURRENT MARKET / ECONOMY
- How many other offers do I have pending?
- Is this company stable and / or growing?
- How does this company compare to its competitors?
- YOUR CAREER
- Does this opportunity meet my current career goals?
- Does this opportunity set me up for my future career goals?
- What time commitment am I willing to make to this corporation?
- Will this work experience add to my skill level?
- Does this company offer enough for me to consider retirement?
Job offers are the ultimate goal of your job search. However, the offer must be the RIGHT offer for you!
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