We’ve had thousands of candidates interview with a wide array of clients ranging from Fortune 500 Companies to small businesses. Regardless of the opportunity, there is always one constant: each candidate must interview well to get the job. Knowing this, we have put together the following list of interview tips based upon years of experience meeting with candidates, as well as the feedback from our clients themselves:
Read the company’s web site thoroughly:
- Learn as much as you can about the firm AND the person/people who will be conducting the interview. TIP: Try searching Linkedin.
- Be sure to read the press releases and other important recent announcements. Look for a key quote or strategic opinions from the CEO or President.
- Find out who the company’s competitors are and learn about them.
- Understand who the current and potential customers are for the company.
Prepare well thought-out questions, technical or otherwise, in advance:
- Write them down.
- Bring a notebook with you to the interview. This shows you’re prepared.
Review your own resume in advance:
- Know what’s on it and be prepared to answer questions on every detail.
- Anticipate and prepare for what will be asked of you based on your resume and the job itself.
- Think of how you will articulate the goals of the individual projects that you worked on and be ready to precisely define your role with them.
Wear a business suit:
- Although the company you are meeting with may be business causal, suits are a must with all interviews.
- Wear business suits neutral in color and be conservative in your use of fragrance, cosmetics and jewelry.
- Remember, you only receive one chance to make a first impression!
- Know the exact location of the interview and travel time to ensure you arrive promptly. Test-drive the commute.
- Have your attire, briefcase and portfolio ready the night before to avoid any delays.
- Arrive a healthy 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to give you time to collect your thoughts and review your notes.
Waiting in the lobby:
- Be respectful to everyone you meet: Remember, it’s not just the interviewer who is evaluating you – anyone you encounter from the moment you enter the building could have a say in hiring you.
- Try to avoid sitting down in the lobby. When the interviewer comes out to meet you, he/she will see that you’re ready to go.
- Stand up when shake hands if you happen to be sitting down when the interviewer comes out to meet you.
- Firm handshake, yet don’t be a bone cruncher.
Maintain strong eye contact:
- It’s important to maintain good eye contact with the interviewer, but be sure not to fixate yourself on the person.
- Smile often and present an upbeat attitude. Watch your posture. Don’t fidget. Offer a firm handshake at the beginning and end of your time with each person you meet.
- Your tone should be confident and sharp. However, don’t be too loud or overbearing and certainly don’t come across as too confident so it borders cockiness.
Take notes during interview:
- This shows preparedness and attention to detail.
- If you don’t ask questions, it can easily be inferred that you’re not interested in the company.
- Know what questions not to ask. For example, don’t inquire about salary, bonuses, vacation time, benefits or your office space. These questions are appropriate only after there is serious interest in hiring you. If you’re asked what salary you want, give a range based on your research, but indicate that you’re more interested in the opportunity itself.
Be prepared to answer questions such as:
- “Tell me about yourself.” Prepare a brief “sound bite” — two to three sentences — describing your professional achievements, qualifications and career goals.
- “Tell me about your career.” Explain what’s made you effective in your work, your range of talents and why you want this job.
- “What are your strengths?” Talk about projects you’ve handled that show your ability to do this job.
- “What are your weaknesses?” Be honest — address a skill that you’re developing but would like to improve. However, do not overstate any lack of knowledge. Nor should you proclaim that you have no weaknesses.
- “What interests you about our firm?” Discuss why you would like to work there and how your qualifications match the position. State your interest in taking on new challenges and assignments.
- “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “In ten years?” Discuss your long-term career goals, such as growth in responsibility or management positions.
When answering questions:
- Use “I” NOT “we”. You want to be clear to the interviewer that you handled these responsibilities directly and it was not a “team” effort where you may have had little direct input.
- Give in-depth answers. One of the most common reasons why candidates are not hired is because, according to our clients, the individual “was not able to articulate in depth what they had done.” Do not assume they will understand your background based on just the resume.
- When you have finished answering a question, at times, you might want to ask, “Have I answered the question thoroughly?” “Would you like me to go into more detail?” This assures you that you have note left out any details the interviewer might be looking for.
- Always speak positively about past employers and have references ready (Full name, title, phone number) for all previous employers going back at least 5 years.
- Don’t be cliché with your answers. What it means: “I’m just one of the crowd.”
- Do not use inappropriate language.
Take interest in the interviewer:
- Also, try to match their demeanor. If they are in a relaxed mood, try not to come across as overly serious. The point here is to give the impression that you will fit in with the organization. Fifty percent of what is being evaluated in an interview is personality.
For consulting positions always refer back to AVID if questions on rate arise:
- Often times you can hurt your chances for a higher compensation if you disclose your desired rate to the client directly.
Close the interview strongly:
- Say something positive like, “I feel I’d be a great match for this opportunity.”
- Ask them something similar to this: “Do you feel there are any skills or attributes that I lack, which would not allow me to be successful in this role?”
- Thank the interviewer for his/her time.
As soon as you return home from the interview, compose a brief “Thank You” Note:
- Sending an immediate follow up reflects your motivation and interest.
- Please send this thank you note to your AVID technical recruiter and they will make sure to pass it along to the manager that you met with. Some clients may be offended for being contacted directly.