Succeeding On An Interview

CONGRATULATIONS ON GETTING AN INTERVIEW! Now what?

Below, you will find an accumulation of knowledge from our years of experience, giving you many helpful tips and tricks for the interview process.

We will discuss:

How to succeed at your PHONE interview:

  1. Confirm the phone interview prior to it even happening
  2. Prepare for the phone interview
    • Research the job and the company so you are prepared for the discussion
    • Practice interviewing so you know what you are going to say to typical interview questions
  3. Choose a smart interviewing space
    • Use a quiet, comfortable, and private space
    • Have your resume in clear sight
    • Have a pad and pen ready to take notes
    • Turn off your call waiting
    • Use a land line, not a cell phone!!! You don’t want to lose the call
    • Sound professional – do not smoke, chew gum, eat or drink while on the phone
    • SMILE SMILE SMILE, it can change the tone of your voice
    • Speak slowly and enunciate clearly
    • Don’t speak in run on sentences
    • PRACTICE!
  4. Use the person’s title during the interview – (Mr. Mrs. Ms.) And their last name
  5. Thank the interviewer

How to succeed at your IN PERSON interview:

  1. Dress to impress for your line of work. Make sure you are dressed appropriately.
  2. Good grooming is essential
  3. Establish a rapport during the interview
    • Follow the interviewers (or panels) lead
    • Try to mirror and speak with his or her tone of voice
    • Your resume speaks about your skills, but now you need to prove that your personality is going to mesh with the team.
  4. Body Language
    • Make eye contact in a natural way
    • SMILE :)
    • Make sure your hands are resting casually, don’t cross your arms, it is uninviting
    • Don’t look too stiff, and don’t be too nervous, JUST RELAX.
  5. Answering Interview Questions
    • Speak slowly and clearly
    • Pausing before you answer a question gives you the chance to think of an answer

Interview Questions – The Usual

  1. What were your expectations for the job and to what extent were they met?
    • The best way to respond is to discuss what you expected when you took the job and give examples of how the position worked out for you. If the job wasn’t exactly what you expected, it’s fine to mention that. However, you should focus on the job itself, not the company, your boss, or your co-workers (if they were a problem). Do be careful how you answer and don’t focus too much on the negative. Instead, address the highlights of the job.
  2. What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them?
    • When asked the job interview question “How did you handle a challenge?” be sure to include specific examples of how you handled a particular difficult situation. Discuss how you researched the issue and contributed to finding a solution.
  3. You will be asked about levels of stating and ending levels of compensation
    • Make sure that what you tell the interviewer matches what you listed on your job application. Refresh your memory prior to the interview by reviewing your compensation history, so, you can speak in detail and accurately. Don’t exaggerate or inflate your earnings. Many employers will check references and confirm your salary history prior to making a job offer. A discrepancy between what you reported and what the employer says could knock you out of contention for the job.
  4. You will be asked about your responsibilities.
    • The best way to respond is to describe your responsibilities in detail and to connect them to the job you are interviewing for. Try to tie your responsibilities in with those listed in the job description for the new position.
  5. Questions about your supervisors and co-workers. You might be asked what it was like working for your supervisor.
    • For the most part, the following questions may be asked to determine if you are a team player. Take a few seconds, when asked a difficult question, before you answer. An interviewer is not expecting you to have a ready answer. However, the Boy Scout Motto – Be Prepared – – certainly applies here as well.
    • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a co-worker who wasn’t doing his/her fair share of the work. What did you do and what was the outcome?
    • Give me an example of a time when you took the time to share a co-worker or supervisor’s achievements with other?
    • Tell me about a time that you didn’t work well with a supervisor. What was the outcome and how would you have changed the outcome?
    • Have you worked with someone you didn’t like? If so, how did you handle it?
    • Tell me about a time that you misjudged a person.
  6. Questions about your weaknesses and strengths
    • When you’re asked what your greatest weakness is, try to turn a negative into a positive. For example, a sense of urgency to get projects completed or wanting to triple-check every item in a spreadsheet can be turned into a strength i.e. you are a candidate who will make sure that the project is done on time and your work will be close to perfect.
    • This is one of the easier interview questions you’ll be asked. When you are asked questions about your strengths, it’s important to discuss attributes that will qualify you for the job. The best way to respond is to describe the skills and experience that directly correlate with the job you are applying for.
  7. What are you pet peeves?
    • I do not have a pet peeve. If something is bothering me, I step back, analyze “why” and find a good solution. If you asked my teenage daughter she would tell you my pet peeve is the volume on her radio!

Examples of DIFFICULT Interview Questions:

  1. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a co-worker who wasn’t doing his/her fair share of the work. What did you do and what was the outcome?
  2. Give me an example of a time when you took the time to share a co-worker’s or supervisor’s achievements with others?
  3. Tell me about a time that you didn’t work well with a supervisor. What was the outcome and how would you have changed the outcome?
  4. Have you worked with someone you didn’t like? If so, how did you handle it?
  5. Describe a decision you made that was a failure. What happened and why?
  6. Tell me about a time when you were faced with conflicting priorities. How did you determine the top priority?
  7. Tell me about a time when you failed.
  8. Why do you think you will be successful at this job?
  9. What would you do differently if you could start your working life over?
  10. Do you check voicemail and email when on vacation?
  11. Do you check voicemail and email when on vacation?
  12. What led you to this point in your life?
  13. What inspires you in a job?
  14. Start with your graduation from college and explanation the rationale behind each of your career moves.
  15. How many hours a day/week do you need to work to get the job done?
  16. How do you measure success?
  17. If you were the CEO of this company what would be the top two things that you would do?
  18. Convince me to hire you.
  19. Why shouldn’t I hire you?

Asking Questions

Prepare some questions in advance

  1. Ask how you can fill the employers needs
  2. What are their expectations of you as an employee
  3. Ask about their typical day on a special project or job
  4. Is this a new position? If not, what did the previous employee go on to do?
  5. What is the company’s management style?
  6. How many people work in this office/department?
  7. What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
  8. What do you like about working here?
  9. What don’t you like about working here and what would you change?
  10. What can I tell you about my qualifications?
  11. When can I expect to hear from you?

Interview Questions NOT to ask

  1. DO NOT ask about salary, benefits, or vacations on an interview
  2. What does this company do? (Do your research ahead of time!)
  3. If I get the job when can I take time off for vacation? (Wait until you get the offer to mention prior commitments)
  4. Can I change my schedule if I get the job? (If you need to figure out the logistics of getting to work don’t mention it now…)
  5. Did I get the job? (Don’t be impatient. They’ll let you know.)