The short time you spend at a job interview could have
a dramatic effect on YOUR career prospects. It is therefore
important that you perform well because no matter how
good your career record is to-date, the employment interview
remains an important step towards fulfillment of your
ambitions. These hints, combined with the guidance provided
by our consultants, will equip you with valuable information
on how to conduct yourself during interviews with prospective
Be prepared to answer questions like:
Why did you choose this particular role? What
do you really want to do in your next career move?
Why would you like to work for our organization?
What do you want to be doing in your career five
years from now? Why?
What was the size of your last salary review/bonus?
What style of management gets the best from you?
What interests you about our products or services?
Can you get recommendations from previous employers?
What would they say about you?
What have you learned from some of the jobs you
have held? Which did you enjoy most? Why?
What have you done that shows initiative in your
What is your major weakness? What have you done
What do you think determines a person’s
progress in a good company?
Are you willing to relocate?
How do you spend your spare time? What are your
What does “teamwork” mean to you?
Have you saved any money? What entrepreneurial
activities have you been engaged in?
What type of books do you read? What was the last
Negative factors to watch for:
During the course of an interview, the employer will be
evaluating your negative factors as well as your positive
attributes. Listed below are negative factors frequently
evaluated during the course of an interview and those
that most often lead to rejection.
Poor personal appearance.
Overbearing - aggressive - conceited “superiority
complex” - “know-it-all”.
Inability to express thoughts clearly - poor diction
Lack of planning for career - no purpose or goals.
Lack of interest and enthusiasm - passive and indifferent.
Lack of confidence - nervousness.
Over-emphasis on money - interested only in remuneration.
Evasive - makes excuses for unfavorable factors
Lack of tact/maturity/courtesy.
Condemnation of past employers.
Failure to look interviewer in the eye.
Limp, fishy handshake.
Lack of appreciation of the value of experience.
Failure to ask good questions about the job and
company. This is most important!
Persistent attitude of “What can you do for
Lack of preparation for interview - failure to
get information about the company, resulting in
inability to ask intelligent questions.
Preparation for the Interview:
Preparation is the first essential step towards a successful
interview. Company interviewers are continually amazed
at the number of applicants who drift into their offices
without any apparent preparation and only a vague idea
of what they are going to say. Thus, it is important
Know the exact place and time of the interview,
the interviewer’s full name and title and
the correct pronunciation.
Find out specific facts about the company - where
its plants, offices or stores are located; what
its products and services are; what its growth has
been; and what its growth potential is for the future.
Most companies have information about their corporate
history on the internet.
All are available in the public library. A brokerage
office or your bank may also be able to supply you
with pertinent information.
Refresh your memory on the facts and figures of
your PRESENT/FORMER employer. You will be expected
to know a lot about a company that you have previously
Prepare the questions you will ask during the interview.
Remember that an interview is a “two-way street”.
The employer will try to determine, through questioning,
if you have the qualifications necessary to do the
job. You must determine, through questioning, whether
the company will give you the opportunity for the
growth and development you seek.
Probing questions you might ask:
A detailed description of the position?
Reason the position is available?
Culture of company?
Anticipated induction and training program?
What sort of people have done well?
Advance training program available for those who
demonstrate outstanding ability?
Earnings of those successful people in their third
to fifth year?
Company growth plans?
Best-selling products or services?
The next step?
Dress conservatively and preferably in darker colors.
Pay attention to all facets of your dress and grooming.
You are being interviewed because the interviewer wants
to hire somebody - not because he/she wants to trip
you up or embarrass you. Through the interaction which
will take place during the interview, he/she will be
searching out your strong and weak points, evaluating
you on your qualifications, skills and intellectual
qualities and he/she will probably probe deeply to determine
your attitudes, aptitudes, stability, motivation and
Some “do's” and “don'ts”
concerning the interview....
DO plan to arrive on
time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a
job interview is never excusable.
If presented with an application, DO
fill it out neatly and completely. If you have a
personal resume, be sure the person you release
it to is the person who will actually do the hiring.
DO greet the interviewer
by his/her surname if you are sure of the pronunciation.
If you are not, ask them to repeat their name.
DO shake hands firmly.
DO wait until you are
offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your
chair, look alert and interested at all times. Be
a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile.
DO look a prospective
employer in the eye while you talk to him/her.
DO follow the interviewer’s
leads but try to get the interviewer to describe
the position and the duties to you early in the
interview so that you can relate your background
and skills to the position.
DO make sure that your
good points get across to the interviewer in a factual,
sincere manner. Keep in mind that you alone can
sell yourself to an interviewer. Make him/her realize
the need for you in his/her organization. Smile.
DO be prepared to answer
typical questions like:
What kind of job are you looking for?
What are your strengths?
What are you really good at?
What are your weaknesses?
What have you done about addressing them?
What do you know about our company?
Why did you choose your particular career?
What are your qualifications? Smile.
DO always conduct yourself
as if you are determined to get the job you are
discussing. Never close the door on opportunity.
It is better to be in the position where you can
choose from a number of jobs rather than only one.
DON'T smoke even if
the interviewer smokes and offers you a cigarette.
DON'T answer questions
with a simple “yes” or “no”.
Explain whenever possible. Tell those things about
yourself which relate to the position.
DON'T lie. Answer questions
truthfully, frankly and as to the point as possible.
DON'T ever make derogatory
remarks about your present or former employers or
DON'T "over answer"
a question. The interviewer may steer the conversation
into politics or economics. Since this can be ticklish,
it is best to answer the questions honestly, and
try not to say more than is necessary.
DON'T inquire about
SALARY, HOLIDAYS, BONUSES, etc. at the initial interview
unless you are positive the employer is interested
in hiring you and raises the issue first. However
you should know your market value and be prepared
to specify your required salary or range.
Closing the Interview:
If you are interested in the position, ask for
it. Ask for the next interview if the situation
demands. If he/she offers the position to you, and
you want it, accept on the spot. If you wish some
time to think it over, be courteous and tactful
in asking for that time. Set a definite date when
you can provide an answer.
Don’t be too discouraged if no definite offer
is made or specific salary discussed. The interviewer
will probably want to communicate with his/her colleague
first or interview more applicants before making
If you get the impression that the interview is
not going well and that you have already been rejected,
don’t let your discouragement show. Once in
a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested
in your possibilities may seem to discourage you
in order to test your reaction.
Thank the interviewer for his/her time and consideration
of you. If you have answered the two questions uppermost
in his/her mind, i.e.:
- Why are you interested in the job and the company?
- What can you offer and can you do the job?
then you have done all you can. Smile.
After the Interview:
Last, and most important, call the consultant at Executive
Connections who referred you to the position immediately
after the interview and explain what happened. He/She
will want to talk with you before the interviewer calls
him/her back. If you are interested in progressing further
it will assist if your feelings towards the position
are known, together with your perception of what the
client’s reaction is likely to be.
It is a good idea to send a note of thanks to the interviewer
for the interview opportunity concisely noting what
your interest and ability to do the job would be.