Interview Prep

No two interviews are alike. Standard questions, which you should be prepared to answer include:

  • Why are you leaving your present job?
  • Tell me a little about yourself.
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your faults?
  • What is your present salary?
  • What are your salary requirements?
  • Honesty is the best policy in answering. Remember to focus as much as possible on the positive aspects of your background and experience. Instead of downgrading what you might consider a weakness, emphasize skills you have acquired to overcome it. Emphasize what you gained in each previous work environment

Your Attire

The clothing you wear and overall appearance makes an immediate impression. It is safe to say that 'business proper' is expected at most interviews. Dress conservatively even if the work environment is casual. Anything you bring with you (portfolios, etc..) should be practical and neat.

Interview Tips

  • Be on time.
  • Maintain eye contact at all times, both while listening and while talking.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Take what papers you need in a case. Bring extra resumes, or samples of your work when possible. Be able to pull out what you need quickly without riffling through a stack.
  • Speak with self-confidence. Answer the interviewer's questions fully. Let the interviewer lead you, so that you do not waste time on unsolicited information.
  • Do not hesitate to ask questions about the job, but remember that "what opportunities are here for career growth" will impress the interviewer far more than "How much vacation time do I get?" The later projects an attitude of greediness.
  • Don't discuss family except briefly if asked to.
  • Don't name drop.
  • Don't apologize for your lack of a particular skill. Instead, admit that you don't have it, but that you are a quick study and eager to learn.
  • Don't handle or touch things on the interviewer's desk. Don't read papers on the interviewer's desk.
  • Be courteous. Shake the interviewer's hand when you leave. Thank the interviewer for time spent and interest shown. Smile. Thank the interviewer's secretary on the way out.
  • After the interview write a thank you letter. Not only is this good manners, but it helps the interviewer keep you in mind immediately and when another opening appears.

Phone Screens / Interviews

Often interviews are preceded by phone screening. This happens on two levels. The first is interpersonal skills. The second is technical skills.

Remember, you can learn technical skills and be pleasant to work with. If you're unpleasant, the skills may not matter. The primary reason projects are not completed on time and on budget is poor group dynamics.

Be sure to be ready to accept the phone call. If it is a scheduled phone call, be prepared to use a phone in a quiet location where you are unlikely to be interrupted. Be sure to be there at the scheduled time, and that the phone is not in use. Do not take other phone calls or put the interviewer on hold.

Wait for an offer to be made before asking about salary and benefits, if your assumption has been all along that the range is within your expectations.

It is not inappropriate during a final interview to meet the people with whom you would be working. Remember that this is where you will be spending a considerable amount of time. It is just as important that you are clear about your expectations and conditions as it is to your potential employer that you meet their specifications.

After You Accept The Position

The first day at work, like the first day of anything else, is always the hardest. Do not, under any circumstances, begin every sentence by telling everyone how you did things at your old job.

When you are the interviewer, respond to all applicants promptly. Be sure to extend full courtesies during the interview - be prompt and well groomed. Shake the person's hand and let them know what to call you right away. At the end of each interview, always let the interviewee know when he or she will hear from you.