DURING THE INTERVIEW
- Sell yourself.
Though you may cringe at the
thought, you need to sell yourself during the interview. You
have a product (yourself) to offer this organization, and you must
make sure that the interviewer understands what you have to offer.
If you sit back and dutifully await the interviewer's questions, you
may never have the opportunity to mention your best skills and
This doesn't mean that you take over
the interview or ignore the interviewer's questions. It does mean
that you should enter the interview with an agenda - with a clear
idea of your key selling points and how to get those points across,
whether your interviewer asks the right leading questions or not.
While the interviewer controls the flow of the interview, you
control the content.
Be prepared to speak in
concise terms about relevant
experiences that reflect positively on your skills and your
- Know your audience.
To continue with the sales analogy -
a good salesman never walks into a sales opportunity without knowing
as much as possible about the company and its needs. Likewise, you
need to carefully research the company
and, if you are new to this career, get a solid grounding in this
- Be enthusiastic, but be
Enthusiasm is so important that
Anthony Medley devotes an entire chapter of his book, Sweaty
Palms (our favourite interview book), to the art of enthusiasm.
Medley, who worked as a corporate recruiter, once interviewed a law
student who was only interested in working where he could use his
proficiency in his Mandarin dialect of the Chinese language:
obvious to both of us that the interview would not result in a
job offer for him. But he was so enthusiastic about his training
in Chinese and his work in Panmunjom, Korea, that it resulted in
one of the longest interviews I've ever had. He was enthusiastic
about telling me about his interests, and I was enthusiastic to
learn more about him. As a result, even though the goal each of
us sought, a job offer, was not achieved, this interview stands
out as one of the most memorable ones I've ever had, and it was
solely because of his enthusiasm. I have recommended him to a
couple of corporations that had international departments, and I
still keep him in mind years later."
Enthusiasm is vital! Demonstrate
your interest in the job and in the company. Enthusiasm works best
when it is:
- Sincere - don't gush
over a job or a company that you couldn't give a hoot about. In
fact, why are you interviewing with this company if you're not
excited about the job?
- Based in your deep interests
- if you start your career and job search with an awareness of
your deepest, most compelling interests, then you should
eventually find yourself in interviews for jobs that you truly
are excited about.
- Listen carefully to the
If you don't listen well during the
interview, you are telling the interviewer that you may not listen
well to your coworkers and managers.
- Don't be afraid of silence
during the interview - it's better to think about a question for
a few moments, rather than jumping in with an answer that's
off-target or long and rambling.
- If the question seems ambiguous
or you need more clarification, ask the interviewer to elaborate
or restate the question. (But don't use this as a ruse to gain
- Don't display defensiveness
when a tough question has you stumped.
- Think about how you can set
yourself apart from other applicants.
Your interviewer may be bored to
tears from interviewing a series of cookie-cutter candidates who
speak in the same generalities about their qualifications: "I'm a
diligent worker, I'm a team player, I'm a quick learner."
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't
use those terms in describing yourself. But you should be able to
describe, in detail, previous situations in which you
demonstrated those qualities.
You may want to review:
- Keep the interviewer's
You can apply the same principles
that work in public speaking - vary the tone and tempo of your
voice; take your nervous energy and translate that into enthusiasm;
maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Where appropriate, ask
questions that will provide information about the job and the
Try to match the interviewer's
energy level. People like to hire others like themselves.
- Don't place blame on or be
negative about past employers.
Badmouthing a previous employer or
supervisor is the quickest way to lose a job offer. If you have
experienced a bad employer or an inept manager, find the positives
in your relationship and focus on those. If there were no positives,
and you must talk about the job, focus as much as possible on your
successes in that job and not on the conflicts.
arriving at least fifteen minutes before the interview. That
will help reduce your stress level, and you will ensure that traffic
or other delays don't make you late.
pen and notebook with you. If you wish to take a few notes during
your interview (to jot down your interviewer's responses to your
questions, for example), ask the interviewer if that's okay.
your interviewer by name, with a firm handshake and a smile. Until
your interviewer tells you otherwise, use the more formal "Mr.
(Smith)" or "Ms. (Johnson)."
the interviewer to sit down or invite you to sit down before seating
smoke or chew gum.
comfortably, maintain good body posture.
good eye contact.
carefully to what the interviewer is saying. Take a few seconds to
think about a difficult question before responding. Responding
quickly may convey that you're impulsive and don't take time to
think about your decisions.
make up answers to questions you don't know. Your interviewer will
conclude that you will do the same thing in the work place.
Enthusiasm is vital! Demonstrate your interest in the job and in the
interview on a positive note: indicate that the job looks like a
good fit and you feel you can make a contribution to the
organization; ask about any needed follow-up and when you can expect
to next hear from the company; and thank the interviewer for his or
you have the interviewer's business card, or at least the proper
spelling of their name, their title and their address and phone
Behavioural Interview Questions
Traditional Interview Questions
Case Interview Questions
Company / Job
Questions determining your Competence
Questions on Wages / Salaries
Your Community Involvement