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Interview Tips

Check Out the Company

Use LinkedIn

Use Your Contacts

Practice Interviewing
Interview Questions
Career
Interview Tips

These top interview tips will help you cover everything you need to know to successfully ace a job interview. From checking out the company to sending an interview thank you note, these job interview tips cover all the basics needed for interviewing success.

How much do you know about the company that just contacted you to schedule an interview? It should be plenty, and all the information you need is available online. Here are tips on how to research a company, get the inside scoop on the company culture, and use connections that can help you get an interview advantage.

Check Out the Company

Visit the company web site; review the company mission statement and company history, products and services, management, as well as information about the company culture. The information is usually available in the About Us section of the site.

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn company profiles are a good way to find, at glance, more information on a company you're interested in. You'll be able see your connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics. Take a look at your interviewer's profile to get insight into their job and their background. Visit the company's page on LinkedIn to see who you know who works or used to work at the company. Those connections may be able to refer you to the hiring manager or give you a recommendation that will help your candidacy. The easiest way to find the company page is to search LinkedIn's Companies section by company name or keyword.

Use Your Contacts

Who you know at the company you are interviewing with really does matter. Here's how to use your contacts and connections to get an insider advantage so you can ace the interview and impress the interviewer.

Practice Interviewing

Taking the time to review typical interview questions you will probably be asked during a job interview will help give you a framework for your responses and will help calm your frazzled nerves, because you won't be scrambling for an answer while you're in the interview hot seat. Practice interviewing with a friend or family member ahead of time and it will be much easier when you're actually in a job interview.

Job Interview Questions about You

  • What is your greatest weakness ?
  • What is your greatest strength ?
  • will your greatest strength help you perform ?
  • How would you describe yourself ?
  • Describe a typical work week.
  • Describe your work style.
  • Do you take work home with you ?
  • How many hours do you normally work ?
  • How would you describe the pace at which you work ?
  • How do you handle stress and pressure ?
  • What motivates you ?
  • Are you a self-motivator ?
  • What are your salary expectations ?
  • What do you find are the most difficult decisions to make ?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What has been the greatest disappointment in your life ?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are your pet peeves ?
  • What do people most often criticize about you ?
  • When was the last time you were angry? What happened ?
  • If you could relive the last 10 years of your life, what would you do differently ?
  • If the people who know you were asked why you should be hired, what would they say ?
  • Do you prefer to work independently or on a team ?
  • Give some examples of teamwork.
  • More teamwork interview questions.
  • What type of work environment do you prefer ?
  • How do you evaluate success ?
  • If you know your boss is 100% wrong about something how would you handle it ?

 

Know the Facts

I've been surprised when applicants weren't able to tell me their dates of employment or what they actually did on a day-to-day basis at their job. Review your work history - and make sure what you say matches what's on your resume. Take the time to learn about the company and about the job you're applying for.

What You Don't Say

What you don't say can - and will - be used against you in a job interview. If you come to an interview chewing gum or drinking coffee, you will already have one strike against you. Too much perfume or not enough deodorant won't help either. Not being dressed appropriately or having scuffed shoes will give you a second strike. Talking or texting on your cell phone or listening to an iPod while waiting to be called for the interview may be your final strike and you could be done with your candidacy before you even say a word.

What You Do Say

Your verbal communications are important. Don't use slang. Speak clearly and definitely. If you need to think about a response to an interview question, that's fine. It's better to think before you talk than to stumble over your words. Practice answering some interview questions so you're comfortable responding the basics.

Listen

It can be easy to get distracted during a job interview. It's stressful and you're in the hot seat when it comes to having to respond to questions. That said, if you do your best to listen to what the interviewer is asking, it will be easier to frame appropriate responses.

Prepare for a Phone Interview

While you're actively job searching, it's important to be prepared for a phone interview on a moment's notice. You never know when a recruiter or a networking contact might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk. Review these tips for advice on how to pull off your phone interview without a hitch.

During the Phone Interview :

DO's

  • Keep your resume in clear view, on the top of your desk, or tape it to the wall near the phone, so it's at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
  • Have a short list of your accomplishments available to review.
  • Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
  • Turn call-waiting off so your call isn't interrupted.
  • If the time isn't convenient, ask if you could talk at another time and suggest some alternatives.
  • Clear the room - evict the kids and the pets. Turn off the stereo and the TV. Close the door.
  • Unless you're sure your cell phone service is going to be perfect, consider using a landline rather than your cell phone to avoid a dropped call or static on the line.

Don'ts

  • Don't smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.
  • Do keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to wet your mouth.
  • Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.
  • Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
  • Use the person's title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.) Only use a first name if they ask you to.
  • Don't interrupt the interviewer.
  • Take your time - it's perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
  • Give short answers.
  • Remember your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview. After you thank the interviewer ask if it would be possible to meet in person.

Dress for Interview Success

The first impression you make on a potential employer can make a big difference. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That's why it's always important to dress professionally for a job interview.

How to Dress for an Interview :

Men's Interview Attire

  • Suit (solid color - navy or dark grey)
  • Long sleeve shirt (white or coordinated with the suit)
  • Belt
  • Tie
  • Dark socks, conservative leather shoes
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Limit the aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

Women's Interview Attire

  • Suit (navy, black or dark grey)
  • The suit skirt should be long enough so you can sit down comfortably
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Conservative shoes
  • Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets)
  • No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry
  • Professional hairstyle
  • Neutral pantyhose
  • Light make-up and perfume
  • Neatly manicured clean nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

What Not to Bring to the Interview

  • Gum
  • Cell phone
  • Ipod
  • Coffee or soda
  • If you have lots of piercings, leave some of your rings at home (earrings only, is a good rule)
  • Cover tattoos

Improve Your Interview Technique

A job interview gives you a chance to shine. What you say and what you do is going to either move you to the next round of consideration for employment or knock you out of contention.

Interview Attire Tips

  • Before you even think about going on an interview, make sure you have appropriate interview attire and everything fits correctly.
  • Get your clothes ready the night before, so you don't have to spend time getting them ready on the day of the interview.
  • If your clothes are dry clean only, take them to the cleaners after an interview, so they are ready for next time.
  • Polish your shoes.
  • Bring a breath mint and use it before you enter the building.

Connect With the Interviewers

Connect with the group as well as the individual interviewers. When one panelist asks a question, respond directly to him or her, but also make eye contact with the rest of the group as you're answering. The more engaged you are - with everyone - the better impression you'll make.

Pay attention to the group dynamics. How does everyone get along? What type of interaction do they have? Is it positive? You're interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you and it's important to see how you will fit in, if you're hired. If you're not comfortable with the synergy between the panelists, think about what it will be like to work with them when making a decision on accepting a job offer.

Follow Up after the Interview Ask for business cards and send a thank you note to everyone you interviewed with. If you don't get a chance to collect business cards, send a thank you note to the person who arranged the interview.

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