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Being Interviewed - Reviewing The Basics                                         

Assessing Employers    Questions To Ask Potential Employers    Staying Focused In An Interview
Negotiating Compensation Effectively When Between Jobs           Body Language In An Interview
  • Always be exactly who you are, genuine character shines through.

  • Review your accomplishments, skills, abilities and aptitudes.

  • Decide what you want to draw attention to in the interview.

  • Mentally, then verbally rehearse your presentation.

  • Practice your presentation with a spouse, friend or colleague.

How do you set a proactive tone from the start?

  • Think about the skills you have developed; your talents, abilities and aptitudes.

  • How have you grown through your achievements in and outside of work?

  • Choose specific examples of your progress in developing new business, retaining or winning back unhappy customers;
    the improvements you made to existing processes; cost reductions achieved; profits boosted; shareholder value increased, etc.

  • Do research on the company, view the website, review applicable industry journals, Dun & Bradstreet assessments, Scott's Directories, Reference libraries for information.

  • When setting up meetings, offer before or after hours flexibility - many people do not think to do this. An early morning or after-hours
    meeting with a hiring manager allows for full attention on both sides without the interruptions of phone calls, customer issues and
    employees knocking on the door for instant decisions.

  • Select clothing that does not distract the interviewer. You cannot go wrong with basic business attire. The only exception would be
    perhaps with a very young internet oriented firm which encourages or insists on a very casual working environment.

  • Remember that your sense of self-control, enthusiasm, openness, maturity and self-confidence are all transmitted through body language;
    poise and power are conveyed through your movements, reactions, speech modulation and eye-contact. Moderation is the key word.

  • The quality of your handshake forms an impression; a limp grasp can be interpreted as passivity; an overly vigorous handshake as insecurity or aggression; offer your hand first, if possible, it denotes friendliness and approachability.

  • If you are offered a beverage, take it as it can be a very valuable interview prop, it allows you to pause and take a thoughtful or reflective sip
    when you want to take a few seconds to think about a question that has been asked of you and how best to answer it. Besides, sharing
    a drink also shows a willingness to be sociable.

  • Ask the interviewer how he/she would like to begin as this may determine the interviewer's agenda in the meeting, It may prompt the interviewer
    to reach for your resume and indicate that the discussion will begin with clarification of points noted on it. It may also move the interviewer
    to ask you a standard opening question or give you a verbal introduction to the position and why you have been asked to come in. Either way,
    asking this question is a more subtle way of gently directing the beginning of the discussion without appearing to take control.

  • Ask if you can take notes as this displays interest in the proceedings and is practical to record important aspects of the job which come under discussion. Having your pad open with questions that you had noted beforehand will communicate to the interviewer that at some point, you
    will have a few questions of your own. Hiring managers enjoy talking to someone who shows interest in the position and the company and who
    has the foresight to ask intelligent questions.

  • Use open-ended questions (ones which cannot be answered by a simple 'yes' or 'no') to create a flow of information; after answering a question, follow up with an open-ended one to obtain clarification or shift the discussion to areas you consider important to explore. See some of the
    links above and our Insider's Guide To Job Search Articles for more tips about open-ended questions.

  • Open-ended questions begin with 'who, what, where, when, why or how' or 'describe, explain, outline, clarify', etc.

  • Speak positively about past-employers; avoid being critical or defensive if you had a bad experience with a past/present employer; negativity leaves a lasting impression. Even a patently bad situation can have the edges smoothed off by taking the approach that this was a learning experience and
    that you have grown through and from that experience.

  • Don't assume that the interviewer knows what is in your resume, point out those achievements and skills which best tell the interviewer who you are and what you can do. A resume is an excellent tool to use as talking points about what you bring in the way of accomplishments, experience and
    proven skills to a position. Ensure that the points you note in your resume reflect these talking points.

  • Avoid being abrupt or rambling, stay on topic and answer questions directly. Rambling becomes especially dangerous when you are asked a
    question like: "Tell us about yourself", this type of question almost invites you to expound at length. Avoid the trap. Give the interviewer a
    concise and focused chronological summary of your experience which shouldn't exceed 2 minutes in length.

  • Be aware of what the interviewer's reactions are to what you have to say. Observe body language as we explain in more detail in the article
    on this subject -

  • Speak at a moderate pace (such as television announcers use), refuse to allow yourself to be rushed and maintain friendly eye-contact.

  • Have reasons why you are interested in the position and be ready to give them when asked.

  • When asked about compensation, avoid boxing yourself in to specific figures; outline what your current or immediate past earnings are/were and convey your interest in the opportunity under discussion; follow up with an open-ended question: "What range are you offering?", or a similar type of question.

  • Ask the time-frame involved in a final decision being made on the person being hired; you need to know if there are lengthy delays likely due to other people being involved in the hiring process.

  • Offer to leave a list of past employer references or copies of actual employer reference letters and ensure that their telephone numbers are updated.

  • Thank the interviewer for the opportunity to meet and reiterate your interest in the opportunity, if applicable.

  • Send a thank-you note after the interview, affirming your interest in the position


  • Always be yourself.

  • Review your accomplishments.

  • Choose examples of your progress.

  • View the employer's website.

  • Research the company in related journals/reference library.

  • Offer to meet before or after hours.

  • Be punctual and call if you are going to be late.

  • Offer a warm handshake.

  • Ask how the interviewer wants to begin.

  • Use open-ended questions to gather information.

  • Speak positively about your work-history.

  • Point out your achievements and skills.

  • Take notes of important details.

  • Offer to leave updated references.

  • Thank the interviewer for the opportunity to meet.

  • Follow up with a thank-you note or e-mail.

Most people do not interview for a living. Otherwise successful and competent people can find being interviewed to be stressful. Presenting yourself effectively and leaving a positive impression in the interviewer's mind requires focus, clarity, sincerity and preparation.

Following the above guidelines will help to ensure that the interview is both mutually enjoyable and a productive exchange of important information.

Employer Interviewing Styles:

Hiring managers employ various techniques when interviewing potential employees. The following are some of the methods and tactics in corporate use.

The Group: Used primarily for volume recruitment with two or more applicants interviewed together, answering open or rotating questions, to assist in determining applicant competitiveness.

The Co-workers: One or more future colleagues ask questions with their superior to assess team qualities and attitudes in prospective group members; interview roles and questions are established beforehand; allowing superiors to see group interaction skills of present and future staff.

The Behavioral: Applicants are tested on decision-making, problem-solving and attitudes and values; open probes are used to encourage the applicant to talk about specifics; examples of how applicants handled certain situations are asked for, indicating applicant's character, values and general maturity.

The Technical: Job knowledge is tested to qualify the applicant for further consideration; knowledge of procedures, processes and technical industry jargon is verified; typing tests or similar assessment tools may be administered on the spot; interviewer questions center on actual functions and daily duties.

The Aggressive: A challenging tone is established by interviewers) at the beginning; stress is created to see how applicants react under pressure; knowledge and performance may be questioned with a skeptical attitude; the applicant's poise and self-control are probed for weak points.

The Written: Applicants are required to provide written answers to questions; determines basic skills, aptitudes and work experience; provides interviewer with a record of responses and statements; indicates writing skills, grammar and spelling.

Common Interviewing Mistakes

Based on a survey conducted with 153 North American Executive Search Firms serving a broad range of industries.

  • Poor or casual personal appearance.

  • Lack of interest and enthusiasm: passive and indifferent.

  • Over-emphasis on money: interested only in best dollar offer, benefits, hours, vacation

  • Condemnation of past employers: bitterness.

  • Failure to look at the interviewer when conversing.

  • Limp, clammy handshake.

  • Late to interview.

  • Asks no questions about job or company.

  • Indefinite response to questions.

  • Over-bearing, over-aggressive and conceited attitude.

  • Know-it-all or arrogant demeanor.

  • Inability to express self clearly: poor diction and grammar.

  • Lack of planning for career: no purpose and/or goals.

  • Lack of confidence and poise: nervous and ill at ease.

  • Expects too much too soon: impatient and demanding.

  • Makes excuses, evasive: hedges on unfavorable factors in track record.

  • Lack of tact, diplomacy, courtesy: ill-mannered.

  • Lack of maturity.

  • Lack of vitality.

  • Indecision and hesitation: timidity.

  • Low moral standards, cynical, lazy.

  • Intolerant: has strong prejudices.

  • Inability to take criticism: volatile temper.

  • Incomplete, sloppy or illegible application

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