Interview Advice & Tips

There are three keys to a successful job interview

1. You are a salesperson for yourself. Write down your success stories; these are a series of examples from your career that demonstrate how you have successfully applied your skills for previous employers. Practice telling them out loud. Every time you speak you should be trying to implant positive detailed imagery in the mind of the interviewer of you solving problems and creating specific benefits for your previous employers.

2. Focus totally on the interviewer’s needs. You can learn more about the interviewer’s problems if you ask open-ended questions. The interview is not the time to discuss your own needs.

3. You are a skilled professional and are good at what you do. Be confident. Always stay positive, upbeat, and on message.

Pre-Interview Checklist and Reminders

1. Make sure you know where you are going so you can arrive on time. If possible, drive to the location the day before so you know exactly how to get there and where to park. Plan to arrive an hour before your scheduled appointment and practice your success stories. Knowing where you are going and arriving early will make you more relaxed and confident. Make sure you have the phone number of the interviewer. Call ahead if you are delayed, and let them know when you will arrive.

2. Bring at least 3 spare copies of your resume printed on quality paper. Look organized. Bring a notebook, pen, and business cards if you have them.

3. References: Print your references on a sheet of paper and have them available to give out during/after the interview.

4. Try to obtain a written description of the job you are interviewing for. Review it prior to the interview keeping in mind what skills the employer thinks are important. Make sure you prepare specific success stories to show how you can solve the problems you might have already identified.

5. Know something about the company before you go in. Visit the website. Be sure to read the latest press releases. If it is a large public firm, research them at Hoover’s online. Look at a five year chart of their stock price. Search all the major search engines for more information. Find out who their main competitors are. Research those companies also.

6. Be single minded about your goal: to get a job offer. Don’t screen yourself out during the interview. If it appears as the interview unfolds that the job might not be the best match for you, don’t give up. Keep asking good questions and selling your skills to the need. Put yourself in a position to get the offer. Later you will have time to review the offer carefully and decide whether or not to accept it.

7. At some point during the interview they may ask if you have any questions. Don’t ask more than one or two questions.

8. Dress professionally: Even if you work in a casual environment and are interviewing in a casual office, most clients still expect formal attire from a job candidate. Be sure to groom yourself properly from head to toe. This is the time to look your absolute best.

9. Show good interpersonal skills: Smile. Make good eye contact. Shake hands firmly. Don’t interrupt anyone while they are talking. Don’t over-gesture with your hands while speaking. Be confident: You have professional skills and technical experience that are in demand and you have success stories prepared that prove your value beyond doubt. The client wants someone like you. Make sure you are confident, but don’t come off as conceited. You are also a team player who knows how to fit into an organization.

10. On your way home, while the interview is still fresh in your mind, compose a brief polite thank you note. It’s not necessary to bring up substantive issues in the note. Only do this if there is a specific subject that you feel a need to expound on. Send it to the manager or your recruiter the next day and ask them to forward it to them.

additional tips & resources

1. Don’t underestimate the power of networking. Network, network, network! Employers love hiring candidates that have been referred to them – those that are trusted friends or acquaintances. A personal connection is so important. Strive to make a certain amount of contacts per week. Go to networking events, and touch base with past colleagues and employers. Do research on a company you are interested in, and see if you have any connections to their employees. Be well-informed; while networking, always have specific questions in mind about the company. Make your networking purposeful. Remember to also ask who else they might know that would have additional insight.

2. Always upgrade your skills. Find out what skills are desired in candidates in your field and take appropriate training classes or obtain certifications.

3. Additional Resources: