An interview is your first chance to make a good impression on your potential future employer. It is important for you to be fully prepared for your interview to allow you to best present yourself and your abilities. An interview is also a time for you to learn more about the opportunity to better decide if this is the right opportunity for you.
Some Guidelines for every interview:
- Know where you’re going in advance; be sure you have good directions
- Be 15 minutes early – leave extra time for the unexpected
- Dress appropriately. This is your only chance to make a good first impression.
- Check a mirror before you go in
- Bring a fresh copy of your resume, along with a folder containing questions to ask the interviewer and a list of references
- Be sure you know how to pronounce your interviewer’s name correctly
- Be polite to everyone you meet there – they all count
- Be personable as well as professional
- Turn off cell phones and pagers
- Fill out application completely, do not write “see resume” as a response to any question
Criteria for a Decision:
- How are you going to know when you have found the right opportunity? If the answer is “I will just know” then you do not have any decision criteria. Why are having decision criteria important? You will be making a very important decision in your life and it will likely be based on 1 to 3 meetings with a new employer. It is critical that in each visit you build on the information you need to make a decision on whether this is a good opportunity for you or not. The best way to do that is to have thought about the specifics of what you are looking for before your first interview.
Question & Answer:
Questions can typically be broken up into five groups. Below are the groups and suggestions on how to structure answers.
- Background / Experience Questions – When answering questions like this you want to focus on specifics in your background that are directly relevant to requirements for the job you are interviewing for as much as possible.
One of the most common questions here is "Tell me about yourself". When answering this question answer it from a professional viewpoint. Cover your education, work history (in chronological order) and your most recent position. After your initial response you can ask the following question to focus the remainder of your answer - "Tell me what is it you are looking to fill with this position? Lets compare my experience and see if there is a logical match."
- Personality Questions – It is important to answer questions with examples and ultimately benefits in the role being considered for.
- Motivation / Goal Questions – Answer positively in line with the needs they expect to fulfill with this position.
- Compensation – An interviewer may ask about compensation in 2 ways: 1) what you are currently making or 2) what you would like to or need to be making to make a job change. Candidates should answer question one by providing them with an accurate break down of their total compensation. We do not recommend answering the second quesiton in an initial interview. This can hurt you in a number of ways. First of all, it assumes that money is the main decision criteria for accepting a new position. This may be the case but often is not. Also you could either price yourself out of the position or below what a company believes you are worth. As an outside recruiter we are uniquely positioned to negotiate / facilitate the money discussion on both sides maximizing the ability to create overlap.