Prepping for the Interview with Your Recruiter
Before you walk into any interview, you should know as much about the company
and the position as you possibly can. lf you found the position through a recruiter,
he or she should be able to provide that information for you. You should also research the company website and their competitors. In today's world of mass communication, there's no
excuse for lack of research.
After you have studied the company, write out a list of questions to ask the
Sample questions follow:
- Why is this position available?
- What are your goals for this position?
- What obstacles must be overcome for the person in this position to succeed?
- How will my performance be evaluated?
- What opportunities are there for growth in the next 12 months? Two years? Five years?
- What growth do you anticipate for your firm in the next 12 months?
Interview Questions to be Prepared For
No one can predict the exact questions that an interviewer will ask, but your
recruiter should be able to give you a good idea of the hiring authority's
personality, his or her typical interview demeanor, and a few important questions
that the employer is likely to ask. To prepare, think about how you would answer
the following questions:
- Tell me about yourself. Keep your answer in the professional realm only.
Review your past positions, education and other strengths.
- What do you know about our organization. lf you've done your research correctly, you should have no problem answering this one. Be positive.
- Why are you interested in this position? Relate how you feel your qualifications really match the requirements of the job. Also, express your desire to work for that company. .
- What are the most significant accomplishments in your career so far? Pick recent accomplishments that relate to this position and its requirements. Be specific.
- Describe a situation in which your work was criticized. Focus on how you solved the situation and how you became a better person because of it.
- How would others describe you?
- How do you perform under pressure?
- What have you done to improve yourself over the past year?
- What did you like least about your last position?
- Are you leaving (did you leave) your present last company?
- What is your ideal working environment?
- How would your go-workers describe you?
- What do you think of your boss?
- Have you ever fired anyone? What was the situation and how did you handle it?
- Are you creative?
- What are your goals in your career?
- Where do you see yourself in two years?
- Why should we hire you?
- What kind of salary are you looking for?
- What other types of jobs/companies are you considering?
Do's and Don'ts of Interviewing
- Arrive 15 minutes early. Late attendance is never excusable.
- Clarify questions. Be sure you answered the questions the employer really asked.
- Get the interviewer to describe the position and responsibilities early in the conversation so you can relate your skills and background to the position throughout the interview.
- Have the interviewer talking 60%-70% of the time by having a list of probing questions pertaining to job responsibilities, division and company goals, company culture, etc. Answer questions with a question. For example, answer the interviewers question fully and ask "is this what you are looking for?" Another example, "If you have two candidates with almost identical backgrounds, what quality or qualities would make you choose one over the other?".
- Be Energetic.
- Indicate your major accomplishments in the last 5-10 years. This is a good time to share what you can do for the interviewers company.
- Being a team player is important but don't minimize your personal skills and abilities.
- Here's a very tough interview question, "tell me about yourself". Best answer, "I'd be happy to. Where would you like me to begin?" This gives you a point of reference.
- Stay positive even if you decide the position is not right for you. Communicate this to your recruiter after the interview.
- At the conclusion indicate your interest in being part of the team and ask "Where do we go from here or what is the next step?" This is very IMPORTANT! Another strong finishing question, "If you were to hire me for this position what could i do immediately to help lighten your workload?"
- Have a list of available professional and personal references, a copy of your college diploma(s) and a DDZ14 if you ever served in the US military.
- Bring 5 additional copies of your resume. You may also want to bring a copy of your most recent performance review and examples of your work (if applicable).
- Call your recruiter immediately after the interview to discuss your impressions. Be prepared to discuss your "gut reaction". If you'd like to receive an offer and be hired be honest about your salary range expectations. Your recruiter is on your side and it benefits him/her to negotiate the highest possible salary and benefits package. Your recruiter has a good idea of the company limits and can help you be realistic. If you don't want the job don't be afraid to say no. We'll find something else for you.
- Mail or email a thank you note to your interviewer and briefly re-emphasize your strengths and desire to work for the company. Don't forget to copy your recruiter on email correspondence.
- Conduct yourself professionally. Be aware of what your body language is saying. Smile, make eye contact, don't slouch and maintain composure.
- Anticipate tough questions. Prepare in advance so you can turn apparent weaknesses into strengths.
- Dress appropriately. Make your first impression a professional one.
- Ask questions throughout the interview. An interview should be a mutual exchange of information, not a one-sided conversation.
- Listen. This is probably the most important ability of all. By concentrating not only on the employer's words, but also on the tone of voice and body language, you will be able to pick up on the employer's style.Once you understand how a hiring authority thinks, pattern your answers accordingly and you will be able to better relate to him or her.
- Don't answer vague questions. Rather than answering questions you think you hear, get the employer to be more specific and then respond.
- Never interrupt the employer. If you don't have time to listen, neither does the employer.
- Don't smoke, chew gum or place anything on the employer's desk.
- Don't be overly familiar, even if the employer is doing all of these things.
- Don't wear heavy perfume or cologne.
- Don't ramble. Long answers often make the speaker sound apologetic or indecisive.
- On the other hand, don't answer questions with a simple ''yes'' or ''no.''
- Explain whenever possible.
- Do not lie. Answer questions as truthfully as possible.
- Don's ask about salary or benefits unless the interviewer brings up the topic. If the interviewer asks your current compensation; be honest and tell them. Let them know that compensation is extremely important but it is also important to understand what you can offer to their company and what the future will hold.
- Do not make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies.
Closing the Interview
Too many people second-guess themselves after an interview. By closing strongly and asking the right questions, you can eliminate the post-interview doubts that tend to plague most interviewees.
If you feel that the interview went well and you would like to take the next step, express your interest to the hiring authority and turn the tables a bit. Try something like the following:
''After hearing more about your company, the position and the responsibilities at hand, I am certain that I possess the qualities that you are looking for in the (title) position. Based on our conversation and my qualifications, are there any issues or concerns that you have that would lead you to believe otherwise?''
You have a right to be assertive. This is a great closing question because it opens the door for the hiring authority to be honest with you about his or her feelings. If concerns do exist, this is a great opportunity to overcome them. You have one final chance to dispel the concerns, sell your strengths and end the interview on positive note.
A few things to remember during the closing process:
- Don't be discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific salary
discussed. The interviewer will probably want to communicate with the
office first, or interview other applicants, before making a decision.
- Make sure you answer the following two questions: ''why are you
interested in the company?'', and ''what can you offer?.''
- Express thanks for the interviewer's time and consideration.
- Ask for the interview's business card so you can write a thank you letter as
soon as possible.
When you get in your car, immediately write down key issues uncovered in the interview. Think of the qualifications the employer is looking for and match your strengths to them. Call your recruiter! Follow-up now is critical.
A ''thank you'' letter should be written no later than 24 hours after the interview.