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Interview Tips

Preparing for the Interview
First things first - before you go on the interview you have to get the company interested enough to meet you. Take a look at our resume and cover letter sections to help you get your foot in the door. After your resume and cover letter convince them they must see you, find out exactly whom you will be meeting with, and what their job title is. Knowing about the company and the person you are meeting with is extremely helpful during any interview. The best places to do research on companies is the Internet, or the library, and within the company itself.

Hop on the Internet and check out the company's website and any articles you can find on them. If you don't have web access, go to the library and look up any and all info on that company. You can also ask the company receptionist for some info. Most companies have an information packet they use for potential clients or for press. Just explain that you are being considered for a position and you'd like to read up on the company, they should have no problem giving you the material.

After you know more about the company, formulate in a concise statement what marketable skills you would bring to the company. Then find evidence of these relevant skills in your resume. For instance, if you know that the company prides themselves on attention to detail, you can site specific instances in your resume that shows how important details are to you. You might also want to prepare an answer to the popular interview question "What is your biggest weakness?" This should be a statement that identifies your weakness in the best possible light and what you do to compensate for that weakness. However, making statements like "My biggest weakness is that I'm a perfectionist," usually comes off as sounding corny and rehearsed.

When you actually go to the interview make sure you come fully prepared. You should have a folder or attaché, with several copies of your resume on high quality paper, along with a list of verified references on the same type of paper. You'll also want a pad and a pen to take any important notes. Also make sure you have two pieces of identification, just in case you have to sign any tax forms. You might want to pick up some breath mints beforehand, just in case. Most importantly, leave yourself with more than enough time to get there!

How to dress
It makes sense to dress your best for the interview, regardless of the dress code at the organization. If you're in doubt about how to dress for an interview, it is best to err on the side of conservatism. You only have one chance to make a positive first impression.

Wear business-like attire, avoiding flashy colors, bold prints, logos and keep jewelry to a minimum. Wear clothes in which you feel comfortable. If it’s too tight, too loose, too short or too revealing – don’t wear it!

  • Solid color, conservative suit
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Moderate shoes
  • Limited jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Tan or light hosiery
  • Sparse make-up & perfume
  • Manicured nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase
  • Solid color, conservative suit
  • White long sleeve shirt
  • Conservative tie
  • Dark socks, professional shoes
  • Very limited jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Go easy on the aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

The Interview
Arrive at the interview with enough time to fill out any application paperwork they might require. If you have a cell phone or a beeper this is a good time to make sure it is turned off. You may be judged just as much during your wait in the lobby as you will during the interview so make sure to handle yourself professionally, and treat everyone there the way you would treat the interviewer. Most employers consult their assistants before making job-hiring decisions and this might be your only contact with them.

When greeted by your interviewer make sure to shake hands and introduce yourself and smile. Most people make a decision about a person within the few moments after meeting them, so make those few seconds count. Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time. It's also a good idea to make some small talk before the interview begins. Just make sure to keep it positive!

The interviewer might have a set of questions ready for you or might base the interview off your resume. Either way be ready to answer all questions honestly while still hitting your key strengths. Don't be afraid to ask for time to think if the interviewer asks you a difficult question. Be sure to refrain from any nervous habits like fidgeting with your clothes or hair or tapping your foot.

Do not bad mouth past jobs or bosses, no hiring manager wants to hear about your negative past experiences in jobs. Always keep it positive. Don't ask about the salary until after they have offered you the job. If they ask about what salary you are looking for try to remain vague and tell them you want a "competitive" salary. If you must give figures, give a wide range.

When the interview is wrapping up make sure you get business cards from everyone at the interview. It will help jog your memory when sending out thank you cards. Make sure to thank the interviewer for their time and shake their hand. Don't be afraid to ask when a decision will be made so that you can schedule a time to call and check in. On your way out, remember the interview is not over until you leave the building, so be on your best behavior until you are out of the building.

The Follow-up
Always follow up with a thank you card mailed or E-mailed within 24 hours of the interview. Not many people send thank you cards and it makes you look very professional and courteous. It also reminds them of who you are, in case they have a lot of applicants for the job. Please speak with your staffing specialist to confirm specific procedures for specific clients.


How Badly Do You Want That Job?
Below are common and not so common interviewing tips to land that dream job. Before goingon your interview, take a few moments to read through this.

It Will Help You Close That Dream Job!

Preparing for the Interview

  • Know the exact place and time of the interview, the interviewer's full name, the correct pronunciation and his or her title.
  • Learn pertinent facts about the company, find out if the company has a website and know what the company does.
  • Determine how the opportunity will impact your immediate and long-term career development.
  • An interview is a "two-way street."
  • Know what questions to ask during the interview.
  • The better you understand the opportunity, the more you will be able to communicate your interest in the position.
  • Always wear proper attire and greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and an enthusiastic smile.

The Interview

  • The "right match" means the individual interviewing is capable of performing the immediate challenges.
  • More importantly, your interviewer will hope you have the potential to be a future resource and asset to the firm.
  • Present yourself in the best possible light regardless of your interest in this position, the interviewer could have access to other opportunities unaware to the general public
  • Show them who you are, be yourself.

Interview Do's and Dont's - (At Least Read This Part!)

  • Plan to arrive a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
  • When presented with an application, FILL IT OUT NEATLY AND COMPLETELY.
  • Don't rely on your application or resume to do the selling for you. Interviewers will want you to speak for yourself.
  • Greet the interviewer by last name if you are sure of the pronunciation. If not, ask the employer to repeat it.
  • Give the appearance of energy as you walk.
  • Smile! Shake hands firmly. Be genuinely glad to meet the interviewer.
  • Wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright, look alert and interested at all times.
  • Be a good listener as well as a good communicator.
  • Look a prospective employer in the eye while speaking.
  • Mirror the interviewer's leads, but try to get the interviewer to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so that you can apply your background, skills and accomplishments to the position.
  • Make sure that your good points come across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner.
  • Conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on opportunity.
  • Show enthusiasm. If you are interested in the opportunity, enthusiastic feedback can enhance your chances of being further considered. If you are not interested, your responsiveness will still demonstrate your professionalism.
  • Bring several copies of your resume!
  • Don't smoke right before the interview and do not chew gum.
  • Do not answer with a simple "yes" or "no." Explain whenever possible. Describe those things about yourself, which relates to the situation.
  • Answer questions truthfully, frankly and succinctly.
  • Obviously, there were issues or else you would not have left a prior company or be looking to leave a present employer. When explaining your reasons for leaving, limit your comments to necessary to adequately communicate your rationale.
  • Do not over-answer questions.
  • Do not inquire about salary, vacations, bonuses, retirement, etc., on the initial interview.
  • If the interviewer asks what salary you want, indicate what you've earned but that you're more interested in opportunity than in a specific salary.

Be Prepared to Answer Such Questions As...

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Tell me about your background, accomplishments?
  • What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
  • How would you describe your most recent job performance?
  • What interests you about our company?
  • What outside activities are most significant to your personal development?
  • Don't let the interviewer catch you off-guard…it's a key factor in maintaining your composure during an interview.

AND, Be Prepared to ASK Such Questions As...

  • What would I be expected to accomplish in this position?
  • What are the greatest challenges in this position?
  • How do you think I fit the position?
  • Rehearse these questions and answers in your mind (or even out loud, if you can) in the days before the interview.
  • Remember a lack of questions may be mistaken as a lack of interest.

Factors Evaluated by An Interviewer

  • Personal appearance
  • Overbearing, overaggressive or egotistical behavior.
  • Lack of interest and enthusiasm -- passive and indifferent.
  • Lack of confidence and poise.
  • Nervousness.
  • Overemphasis on compensation.
  • Evasiveness - making excuses for unfavorable factors in work history.
  • Lack of tact, maturity and courtesy.
  • Condemnation of past employers, managers, projects or technologies.
  • Inability to maintain a conversation.
  • Lack of commitment to fill the position at hand.
  • Failure to ask questions about the position.
  • Persistent attitude of "What can you do for me?"
  • Lack of preparation for interview results in the inability to ask intelligent questions.

Closing the Interview

  • If you are interested in the position, let the interviewer know.
  • If you feel the position is attractive and you want it, be a good salesperson and say something like: "I'm very impressed with what I've seen here today; your company, its products and the people I've met. I am confident I could do an excellent job in the position you've described to me." The interviewer will be impressed with your enthusiasm.
  • Don't be too discouraged if no immediate commitment is made. The interviewer will probably want to communicate with other people in the company or possibly interview more candidates before making a decision.
  • If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected, don't let your discouragement show. Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested in you may seem to discourage you as a way of testing your reaction.
  • Thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration.
  • If you have answered the two questions - "Why are you interested in this position?" and "What can you offer?" You have done all you can.
Being a good interviewer is a mixture of professionalism, flexibility, communication and understanding. It will all be worth it when you have landed the job of your dreams!
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