During the Interview Session: Some Do’s and Don’ts
Employers have four main concerns when hiring a new employee:
1. Do you have the skills and experience to do the job?
2. What kind of person are you?
3. Will you fit in at the company and benefit us?
4. What will you cost us?
When asked, “Why do you think you are a fit for this job?”, answer with:
• I have the potential to benefit the company in two areas. (Mention two areas where you are sure you can add value.)
• I can answer that positively for two reasons. (Mention two examples or facts as proof.)
• My three strongest qualifications for this job are ______, ______ and ______. (Always emphasize your skills!)
• Based on the information you have shared with me today, I can say that I have the potential as well as the enthusiasm and persistence that you expect from someone working for your company. (Give examples.)
• I have encountered situations and challenges in my previous jobs that are similar to those involved with this position and I have a successful track record. (Elaborate on one.)
Keep in mind that you are selling yourself to everyone you meet. This means the receptionist, the assistant, people you pass in walking, people in the elevator. If everything goes well, you will be working with these people! The more people you leave with a good impression, the better your chances are of being remembered. Project yourself as someone who is pleasant, thoughtful, helpful, and prepared.
• Be ready to demonstrate these qualities. Employers are interested in applicants who:
o Are goal-directed and have a good sense of what interests them based on their strengths;
o Have some knowledge of the organization and why they want to work there;
o Are confident of their potential to contribute to the organization; and
o Can discuss past experiences that demonstrate the skills and abilities that are important to the employer.
• Do not be late. If possible, arrive 15-20 minutes early for the interview. Find a place to gather yourself and check your appearance, make sure your tie/clothes are straight and not wrinkled; your paperwork is in order and get your thoughts together. Turn off cell phones and other electronic devices before the interview.
• Do not bring anyone with you. If you are sharing a ride with someone, they must wait in the car.
• Introduce yourself with a confident handshake and a smile! First impressions go a long way, make it a great one! First impressions are made in the first eight seconds and hiring decisions are made in the first 35 seconds. That is why it is so important to get off on the right foot and build instant rapport with the interviewer. When you have rapport with the interviewer, it enhances your ability to connect with them at a deeper level. You may even create feelings of trust and friendship.
• Maintain positive body language. Sit up straight and look interested.
• Maintain eye contact with your interviewer. If you are being interviewed by more than on person at a time, be sure to maintain eye contact with all parties. Keep your focus and intensity level high throughout the interview.
• Listen closely to your interviewer. Rephrase the questions your interviewer asks and use them as the beginning of your answer. This saves you from wasting your interviewer’s time, and shows that you are a careful listener. Answer questions specifically, briefly and to the point. Make sure you give them the information they need to assess that you are the right fit for the job. Do not ramble on and on. Remember, no one has ever listened themselves out of a job!
• If you do not understand the interviewer’s question, ask for clarification. Do not start rambling to cover up the fact that you did not understand.
• Ask questions. Asking the right questions show that you can think strategically, and help you decide if the position is right for you. If it has not come up already, end the interview with this question: “What are you looking for in a candidate to fill this role?” If the answer does not match your expectations, then you need to speak up. Keep in mind the interview is also for you to decide if the job is right for you too!
• When the interviewer refers to your resume, focus on your accomplishments, not just your job duties.
• Do not be intimidated by the interviewer. They do not want you to fail; they want you to show them why you will succeed with their company. The sooner they hire you, the sooner their (and your) search can end.
• Do not be intimidated by any questions your interviewer asks. The ability to think on your feet is an important asset, so show your interviewer you can do that. Be confident with your responses!
• Never curse or swear during an interview, even if the interviewer does. Be the true professional!
• Do not give any negative answers or speak badly about current or past employers, managers or experiences. When an interviewer asks specific questions about your current/past employer and tries to trick you into giving negative answers, do not fall for it! Behavioral questions are designed to make you sweat and turn negative. Be positive and consistent with your responses to all types of questions. Always prepare positive answers beforehand (see the silver lining in everything).
• When asked, “What are your weaknesses?” answer it by stating where you fit and were you may not fit in the organization as it relates to your skills.
• Do not worry about being nervous, it is a natural response. Use that nervous energy to your advantage and be enthusiastic, but be careful not to overstate answers or talk too much.
• Never ask the company about salary or benefits packages until after you receive the job offer.
• Never try to close too soon, for negotiation time may be long.
• If you really want this job, do not leave without expressing you genuine interest in getting this job.