Articles

I. Pre-Interview
An interviewer has just one objective: to decide whether or not to make you a job offer. While the interviewer will examine your work history and educational background, your strengths and accomplishments will also be important criterion. He or she is also interested in evaluating your level of motivation, values, attitude and personality. In other words, to find out if you're the right person for the job, what your potential is for promotion and whether or not you will fit into the company environment.

While it's true that an interview is an important screening tool for companies, it also allows you to learn those things you need to know about the position and the company so that you can make an intelligent decision about the job. Always approach an interview focused on your objective: Getting a job offer.

As with many situations, preparation is the key to success. The job market is very competitive and you probably will not be the only qualified candidate for a position. The deciding factor may simply be the way you present your skills and qualifications relevant to the position and how well you conduct yourself during the interview.

Know Yourself
Can you honestly visualize resigning from your current position?
What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
What are your short and long term goals?
Evaluate yourself in terms of the position you seek.
Formulate responses by asking the question: "Why should they hire me?".
Remember that you're there to sell yourself and secure a job offer.

Research the Company
Utilize the library to review annual reports, trade magazines and newspaper articles. The internet offers a wealth of company information and industry statistics.
Know the company's products and services.
Be prepared to tell the interviewer why their company is attractive to you.

Items to Bring to the Interview: References
Use three former supervisors who are familiar with your work. Include their name and company as well as home and work phone numbers. Always consult with your references for their approval and to ensure that their remarks will be positive.

Items to Bring to the Interview: Resume
Review your resume thoroughly and be prepared to discuss all points.
Always bring a resume copy identical to the one supplied to the interviewer.
Bring along samples of your work, if possible. Never discuss or show proprietary information.

Items to Bring to the Interview: Other Items
Bring a folder and pen to the interview to jot down notes.
Prepare and review your questions as well as specific responses.
Bring directions to the interview location as well as the interviewer's phone number in case you're running late. Bring along your recruiter's phone number to give immediate feedback after the interview.

Arrival at the Interview
Arrive no earlier than fifteen minutes before the interview (but no later than five minutes prior to the interview). Allow adequate time for traffic, parking, and a last minute appearance check. If possible, scout out the location the day before the interview to avoid last minute problems. Review your notes and go in with confidence. If asked, complete an application. Complete the application in full and leave no blanks. Do not write "See resume" as a response to any application question. Respond to "expected salary" questions as "open" and "current salary" questions truthfully. List references if requested. Your recruiter's name should be your response to any "referred by" questions.

Back to top of page

II. 12 Common & Critical Mistakes
1. Prenegotiating: do not Prenegotiate an offer you do not have!
The preemptive eagerness to inform a potential employer of your hiring "conditions", before an offer is even rendered, is a critical, major mistake in the interview process! A candidate must first impress a hiring authority of his/her sincerity in seeking an opportunity and a position within the company. During the phone and face-to-face interviews, your objective is to impress the hiring authority of your talent and attitude to come aboard seeking a better path for YOUR career and family's future as a valuable new asset for the company. Statements made too early by a candidate of his / her income aspirations, vacation needs, relocation benefit desires, hours of work and other job expectations will have a very high tendency of terminating the interview process immediately and eliminating "The Offer" in its tracks.

If the hiring authority asks you about money or income, it is fine to tell him / her your current income. When asked loaded questions such as “what do you want”, “what are your income expectations”, “what are you worth”, etc., if you choose to respond, only four possibilities will occur:

  • You shoot too high and they think they cannot afford you, which may stop the interview process and any potential offer.
  • You shoot too low and leave some income on the table, if an offer is made.
  • You accidentally hit the nail on the head.
  • You can add, “I don’t want to move backwards.” in order to encourage a good offer above your current income.

Your response should be, “I’m more interested in your opportunity, and / or your company and its future, and / or my ability to learn and grow in my profession, and the finances will take care of themselves. I know you will be fair.”

The offer and its negotiation will follow the completion of your success in the interview process.

2. Late to interview, not calling ahead to advise of tardiness (but do not be too early, absolutely no more than 15 minutes prior to the interview).
Call the recruiter immediately if late or no-show, no resume brought, nor pen and pad, and sloppy application entries.

3. Poor personal appearance
Lack of wearing appropriate attire for a successful interview and a limp, fishy handshake. Dress according to the recruiter’s direction. He / she knows the client and has years of experience in preparing you for a successful interview.

4. Failure to look at the interviewer when conversing
Poor eye contact, lack of confidence and poise - nervous, ill at ease.

5. Lack of interest and enthusiasm, low energy, passive and indifferent.
Potentially giving sense of merely shopping around or not particularly looking. Exhibiting your strong interest and enthusiasm in an interview opportunity is crucial in hopes of impressing the client. 99.9% of all clients in the nation want applicants / candidates to be alert, excited, and show a high energy that the opportunity to interview is appreciated, valuable and very important to his / her career. If you can reflect enthusiasm and high energy during an interview, your chances of success (even if other qualifications or talent is lacking) are much higher. Just to have strong qualifications, without excitement during the interview, will most likely lead to a failed interview.

6. Overbearing, over aggressive, or cocky, arrogant, playing hard to get
Conceited with superiority or "know it all complex." No matter how successful you have been in receiving offers in previous interviews, no matter how qualified you are for the position, no matter if you are the only candidate you are aware of that is interviewing, humility is absolutely the most successful attitude. Be confident and humble, but do not conduct yourself with a cocky attitude that will offset negatively all your qualifications and talent.

7. Providing too long, poor, negative reasons for currently considering a job change, or reasons for leaving previous employers
Condemnation of current or past employers, making excuses, evasive, hedging on unfavorable factors in work record (especially negative job changes one after the other, and even more especially when the job changes relate to only money reasons).

Explanations of a job change should be short and simple, just two or three sentences of why the job change occurred. Lengthy, controversial job departures, even when you may be totally without fault, will still tend to weigh down an interview.

Keep in mind that “over-talking” will lead to a poor interview result. Interviewers have questions they want to ask. If you give prolonged answers and tend to dominate the interview, even inadvertently, the interviewer will be frustrated and feel you may not be manageable as an employee. In addition, pauses between a question, an answer and the next question is ok. Let the interviewer set the pace of the interview.

Hiring authorities want to experience a positive, upbeat interview with an enthusiastic, high energy candidate. A candidate with a lot of negative, even very true, information will drag down an interview too low for a successful interview to survive. Keep the answers accurate, lower the negativity, and maintain enthusiasm.

8. Unclear or evasive about relocation or commute
Spouse or significant other may object. You must be confident in your responses and attitude toward relocation and / or a commute.

9. Overly concerned with hours of work
Raising sense of laziness or lack of dedication.

10. Over emphasis on money or other income items
Interested only in best dollar offer. If asked expectations or what you need to take the position, answer, "I'm sure you will make me a fair offer. I am interested first in your opportunity". An attempt to negotiate or influence potential income and / or benefits before an offer is actually tendered is a mistake.

11. Questions and clarity
Asking no questions, very few questions and questions not related to the specific job content are “show-stoppers” in the hiring authority’s perspective. The questions should relate to the job, not “global”, company issues. Express your answers and questions clearly – poor voice diction, grammar, talking too low with a lack of conviction, with low enthusiasm and with lack of clarity will hurt your chances of moving forward to a job offer and the next step in your career growth.

12. Lack of closing strong
Not asking for the job and expressing strong interest in moving forward, inquiring about next step, and failure to express appreciation for interviewer’s time.

As an example at the end of a phone interview, you should strongly consider closing by saying, "I really like what I hear about this opportunity. I would love to come and see you about it. I have next week (or some timeframe) in which I think I can get away. Could you see me on Friday (or another day)? Is that a possibility?

As an example at the end of a face-to-face interview, you should strongly consider closing by saying, “I am very excited about this opportunity with __________ (company name). I would do a great job for you. This would be an opportunity for my career to grow, to learn more and contribute. I want to move to the next step in your process. What is the next step? Enthusiasm and high energy must be present at the beginning, during and certainly at the close of the interview.

Back to top of page

III. Telephone Interview
A client may elect to begin their interview process with a telephone interview, prior to scheduling a face-to-face interview.

The telephone interview step is principally used by clients who are out-of-town and thus wish to gauge the candidate prospects prior to their travel to the interview city. The client wishes to select a minimum of two to three candidates to justify their travel cost and their aspiration that the travel will result in a "right-fit" selection and offer.

The telephone interview can be a challenging test for the candidate.

The candidate has only three tools to maximize in order to succeed in earning the "ticket" to the next interview process step, the face-to-face interview. These components are:

RESUME ~
A resume is needed that is rich in chronological detail exhibiting education and professional experience with job titles, dates and accomplishments in each job position. You are not limited to one page in the quest for clarity to those who wish to easily comprehend your talent and successes, and the client's ability to imagine how your previous successes can translate into the client's organizational future successes.

RECRUITER PRESENTATION ~
As with the resume, the recruiter's strong presentation will assist in presenting fully your strengths and "right-fit" qualities to the client. This targeted explanation will translate into the client's search for an impact "new hire" who will make the hiring authority and the company better for landing the best "player" (candidate).

CANDIDATE'S TELEPHONE SKILLS ~
The third critical component of the telephone interview is the candidate's telephone skills. Beyond answering and asking insightful questions to validate the resume and the recruiter's presentation, the candidate must sell the client through voice, sound-bite attention "getters", and an "ask-for-the-job" closing. The candidate does not have the luxury of visuals (his best tie, her best dress), body language, accentuating hand gestures, magnetic eye contact, a pleasing smile or sharp business-like appearance.

The candidate's strong voice inflection, exuberant tone, high-energy enthusiasm, optimism, "brimming to get-the-job-done" and "busting at the seams for a new opportunity" messages are the foremost ingredients in earning a face-to-face interview and eventually the job.

Even the best resume with "right-fit" job correlation and the greatest recruiter presentation can fail if the candidate uses a low-energy, short-answer responses, comatose voice inflection, "you (the client) would be lucky to get me" attitude, or a lack of enthusiasm.

Consider, if you were doing the hiring and two candidates were judged to have equal experience and skills, would you hire the most energetic, "just put me in the game, Coach", "I will prove I will be a significant contributor if hired" candidate, or the other candidate who you ask on the telephone to "speak-up" or "are you still on the line".

In summary, the "telephone interview" candidate must be professional, answer questions fully (not too short but not too wordy) and convince the client to schedule you for the face-to-face interview through:

  • Voice energy
  • Enthusiasm...
  •      Asking what the next step is
  • And closing...
  •      Stating "I can do this job"
         When can I have a face-to-face interview
         When do you need someone to start (or when do I start)

The chemistry the client feels the candidate will bring to his/her team is many times the deciding factor in the hiring decision. High-energy, enthusiasm and "closing hard" are your tools to maximize in earning a face-to-face interview and ultimately the next exciting era of your career.

Back to top of page

IV. Attire
Dress Code Suggestions for a Successful Interview

Dressy Business Casual: Men
  • Dark dress slacks
  • Dark shoes with dark socks
  • Long sleeve, button down oxford shirt or golf, pullover shirt
  • No tie
  • Windbreaker, sweater or sport coat, if cool weather
  • No jeans, khakis or dockers


Dressy Business Casual: Women
  • Skirt & blouse
  • Black or pin-striped pant suit
  • Quiet dress, no red, bright colors or loud patterns / plaids
  • No denim


Formal Interview: Men
  • Navy blue or dark suit is appropriate for most positions
  • White or pale shirt, freshly laundered and well pressed
  • Quiet tie with a subtle design and a hint of red
  • Shined shoes, over the calf dark socks
  • Minimal jewelry, and mild light fragrances only


Formal Interview: Women
  • Suit or tailored dress in basic navy or gray
  • Blouses should be tailored and color coordinated
  • Closed toe pump and natural colored nylons
  • Light colognes or avoid fragrances totally, minimal jewelry
  • For good posture cross legs at the ankles, not at the knees


Dress Code Rule of Thumb
  • Appearance and first impressions are critical in an interview
  • Conservative appearance is the rule
  • Is there any unusual or out of the ordinary item in your appearance---

  • Men: beards, unusual sideburns, earrings, visual body piercings, ponytails, tattoos, colored hair, poorly-fitted clothing or any appearance item that would draw attention away from your qualifications in your initial introduction to a potential new employer in the first moments of an interview?

    Women: tattoos, unusual, colored hair, oversized earrings, visual body piercings, unusually-fitted, loud or wrinkled dress/clothing, or any appearance item that would draw attention away in your introduction to a potential new employer in the first moments of an interview?

  • You want the interviewer to focus on your qualifications for a position, and also view your fit into the company’s culture. Lean on the side of a conservative look. If you can change an appearance item before an interview, you are advised to make the adjustment. If you cannot, inform the recruiter so he/she will know and perhaps let the interviewer know before the interview, so the interviewer will focus more on you and your qualifications and not be surprised if an unusual dress/appearance item exists.
  • Hiring authorities make hiring decisions heavily on the cultural fit, “will he/she fit in with the team?” as well as qualifications, so the first impression is very important to your success in obtaining an employment offer.

Back to top of page

V. Sequence of Events
Interview with personnel (general questions, review of the company and their benefits.)

Interview with the immediate supervisor and peers.

Interview with the hiring authority (manager, etc.)

Shake hands firmly and maintain eye contact with the interviewer.

Maintain a high energy level.

Sit up with back straight.

No coffee (to spill) and no smoking.

It is to your advantage if a subject of mutual interest arises, but do not fake knowledge.

Be yourself. Poise, confidence, and self-respect are of great importance.

If there is interest on both parties:

Testing (physical drug test, written test, and proof of employment eligibility).

Offer.

Personnel will usually provide company information and available benefits. Thorough review and questions concerning benefits should be addressed after the interview. Remember, the interviews are trying to see how you can contribute to the company.

Conduct yourself with confidence and determination to get the job. You have other options, of course, and your interviewer knows this, but wants to think that you want a job with this company. Don't play coy. Sell yourself. This is your first meeting and the position, as well as future promotions, may depend on your presentation. Are you going to sell them on the idea of hiring you, or will they sell you on the idea that this job is not for you? You must present a positive attitude to the prospective employer. You must NOT seem disinterested or appear to be job shopping.

The interview should be a two-way conversation. Ask questions of the interviewers. This shows your interest in the company and the position, and enables you to gather the right information to make an intelligent decision afterwards. The questions you have prepared can be asked to the different people you see.

Remember, the objective of the interview is to obtain an offer. During the interview, you must gather enough information concerning the position to make a decision.

You should give complete but brief and relaxed answers to questions. When possible use questions as a basis for developing information that you want to make sure is presented. Continue to sell yourself in a positive way.

Describe jobs in terms of duties and give indicators of good performance such as raises, sales volume, and promotions. Include short stories involving problems or challenges and how you were able to solve or overcome them. Describe the results you achieved.

Back to top of page

VI. Potential Questions - Clients
1. Exploring your Background Questions

Tell me about yourself.
Answer these questions in terms of the qualifications required of the position. Keep responses concise and brief and avoid being derogatory or negative about previous jobs and bosses. "Tell-me-about-yourself" means, "Tell me about your qualifications." Prepare a one to two minute discussion of your qualifications. Start with education and discuss your experiences. Describe your performance (in raises, promotions, innovation designs, sales volume, increased profits, etc.) What are your greatest strengths? Interviewers like to hear abstract qualities. Loyalty, willingness to work hard, eagerness, fast-learner, technical skills, politeness, and promptness, expressed in concrete terms are good examples. Avoid the simple generalization "I like people". It's not a good answer.

What are your greatest weaknesses?
Don't be intimidated. The interviewer probably wants reassurance that hiring you won't be a mistake. This is not the time to confess all of your imperfections. (Do not state "not being able to go to work on Mondays", or "coming in late", etc.). Present your weakness as professional strengths, (i.e., "Sometimes work too hard to make sure things are done accurately"). 2. Personality Questions

What do you do in your spare time?
Workaholics are not always the best employees. Present yourself as a well-rounded person. Your answer gives you dimension. Name some hobbies.

3. Motive Questions

Answer motive questions enthusiastically. Show the interviewer that you are interested in the position and that you want the job. Remember to maintain eye contact and be sincere.

How can you contribute to this company?
Be positive and sell! Bring strong technical skills, enthusiasm, and desire to complete projects correctly and efficiently are good responses.

Why should I hire you for this position?
Explain your qualifications and how they "fit" the available position. Address your interest in the job and the field and why its work that you enjoy. Emphasize your ability to successfully perform the duties required.

Why do you want to work for our firm?
Make a compliment about what the company does, it's location, or it's people. Other positive remarks might be about the company's product or service, content of the position or possibilities for growth or advancement. Research about the company is important here.

Where do you hope to be in five years?
Use conservative growth positions that clearly show you plan to be there in five years, and that their investment in you will pay. Be sure that you know what can and cannot be achieved by the ideal candidate in the position. Never tell the interviewer that you feel you'll be more successful than they are. But do show a strong desire for promotions.

What interests you most about this position?
Testing the interviewer with a truthful one or two-word answer such as "the challenge" or "the opportunity", will force them to ask you to explain. Here again, you have a choice to demonstrate your knowledge of the company.

How long do you plan to be with this company?
As with marriage, most employers expect a till-death-do-us-part attitude, but they can be equally attracted to the candidate with ambition and candor. "As long as I continue to learn and grow in my field", is a reasonable response.

What are your career goals?
Your answer should depend on a specific time frame:
Short term "I want to be the best in my current position, while learning additional responsibilities. This, in itself, will assure my commitment to the firm and raise me to the next level of responsibility and promotion. I see myself wanting to stay technical but learn the necessary skills to lead people and projects." Long term "After proving my abilities, I see myself in a firm with the possibility of moving into a level of management that allows me to keep my skills sharp."

What are you doing to achieve your goals?
"I look at continued learning as the key to success. I continue my education, as you see from my resume, by taking company educational courses, when offered, and college courses. I also read trade publications and magazines to keep me informed about the current and future directions in my field. When possible, I participate in professional organizations in my field."

4. Job Satisfaction Questions

Why did you leave your previous employer?
Never speak poorly about a former employer. Be pleasant, be positive and be honest. Your answer will probably be checked. Mention your desire to work for a more progressive company that offers more growth opportunities and recognition.

What did you like most about your previous job?
What did you like least about your previous job?

An employer can evaluate the type of worker you will be by the items you choose. Cite specifics. You are also providing clues about the environment you seek. What you like most can include a strong teamwork atmosphere, high-level of creativity, attainable deadlines. What you liked least should include any situations that you are unlikely to encounter in your new position.

Why are you looking for another job?
Again, be positive. I have to say that I have really enjoyed by years at ___________ Corporation. There are a lot of good people over there. But I am looking for a more progressive organization with greater opportunities for growth, and recognition. I am looking for a team to join where I can make real contributions and advance my career.

What do you think your employers obligations are to you?
Interviewers listen for employees who want a positive, enthusiastic, company atmosphere, with the opportunity to advance. Such a person, they surmise, has motivation and staying power.

Are you applying for any other jobs?
In your answer, show that your search is geared for similar positions. This demonstrates a well-defined, focused objective. Make it known that your talents are applicable to other businesses and that you have explored ways to maximize your potential and are serious about finding the perfect opportunity. Don't give an indication that you are just shopping.

5. Past Performance Questions
(To determine behavior based on past examples)

What kind of decisions are most difficult for you?
Again, be truthful and admit not everything comes easily. Be careful what you do admit so as not to instantly disqualify yourself. Explain that you try to gather as much information and advice as you can to make the best decision possible.

What causes you to lose your temper?
Everybody has a low boiling point on some particular issue. Pick one of yours; something safe and reasonable. People who are late to meetings, blame shifting, broken appointments and office "back stabbing" are suitable responses. Don't say that you never fly off the handle. You won't be believed.

What are your greatest accomplishments?
Be ready to recite one or two stories that demonstrate strong capabilities or achievements that will make you attractive to your new employer. A special project that you pioneered at your previous job, cutting department expenses, increasing productivity or receiving frequent promotions are a few examples.

How do you feel about a younger male / female boss?
A question like this usually means that your boss will either be younger or of the opposite sex or both. Be certain that if you register any concern, you will probably not be hired. Explain that their age or sex is of no importance to you. You are only interested in their capability and what you can learn from them.

What kind of worker are you?
Again, no one is perfect. Showing that you tackle every assignment with all of your energy and talents is admirable but mention that you also learn from your mistakes.

6. Salary Questions

Salary discussions should be avoided, if possible.

What type of salary do you have in mind?
Do not state a starting figure. A suitable reply: "I am looking for the right opportunity and I am confident that if you find me the best candidate for this position, you will extend me your best and most fair offer."

What is your current salary?
Answer truthfully. Remember that "salary" includes base, bonuses, commissions, benefits, and vacations as well as sick and personal days. Also, if you are due a raise in the next three months, state the approximate percentage you expect.

7. Other questions you should be prepared to answer truthfully:

Are you willing to relocate?
May we check your references?
May we verify your income?

Answer a question to the best of you ability and then relax. If there is a period of silence before the interviewer asks the next question, stay calm. Interviewers often use silence to see if you can handle stress and maintain poise.

Your interviews, however, should be a two-way conversation. You must ask questions and take an active role is the interview. This demonstrates the importance you place on your work and career. Asking questions gives you a chance to demonstrate your depth of knowledge in the field as well as to establish an easy flow of conversation and relaxed atmosphere between you and the interviewer. Building this kind of rapport is always a plus in an interview.

Remember, you are not just there for the interviewer to determine if you are right for the position but your questions can help you determine if this job is right for you. Some of your questions should evolve from research you've done on the company in preparing for the interview. Following are some guidelines for your questions as well as some examples.

Don't cross examine the employer.

Ask questions requiring an explanation. Questions which can be answered with a "yes" or "no" are conversation stoppers.

Don't interrupt when the employer is answering YOUR question.

Ask job-relevant questions. Focus on the job-the company, products, services, people.

Prior to the interview, write your list of Interest Questions and take them with you.

Ask about your potential peers, subordinates, and superiors. Take notes.

Ask the employer how he / she got where they are today.


8. Here is one list of sample behavioral-based job interview questions:

  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.

  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.

  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.

  • Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion.

  • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.

  • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.

  • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.

  • What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.

  • Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).

  • Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year.

  • Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed.

  • Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.

  • Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.

  • Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

  • Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.

  • Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.

  • Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.

  • Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.

  • Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.

  • Describe a time when you set your sights too high (or too low).


Back to top of page

VII. Potential Questions - Candidates
1. Interest Questions

Why do you want someone for this job?
Force the interviewer to explain why this job can't be done by one of his/her current employees. The answer may give you a valuable job description.

2. Job Satisfaction Questions

Ask questions that relate to the responsibilities, importance and authority of the position as well as those investigating the rewards for a job well done and the long range career opportunities.

3. Past Performance Questions

Why isn't this position being filled from within the company?
You may discover that nobody in this organization would accept it or that your future fellow employees are a weak lot.

How many people have held this job in the last five years?

Were they promoted or did they leave the company?
If the turnover has been high, you have the right to suspect that the job may leave something to be desired. Or it could mean that you can expect to be promoted quickly.

How did you get started in the company?
A good way to get to know the interviewer better and gain insight into the promotional path the company follows.

What are examples of the best results produced by people in this job?
Here you may discover you are overqualified or in a position to ask for considerable more money.

4. Additional Questions

  • What would my responsibilities and duties be?
  • What are the most difficult aspects of the position?
  • Describe a typical day on the job.
  • Describe the department's company's growth in the next 2 years.
  • What is the philosophy on training and development here?
  • Has there been downsizing within the company? How is it handled?
  • How do you think I'd fit into the job and into your organization?
  • What projects would I be involved in now? In the future?
  • Who would I be working for and with?
  • What is the person doing who used to hold this position?
  • When would you need me to start?
  • May I see my work area?
  • May I meet some of my future co-workers?

Back to top of page

VIII. Interview Exit
If you are sincerely interested in the position and are satisfied with the answers given, you should ask the interviewer if he / she feels that you are qualified for the position. This gives you another chance to review points that may need clarification. Illustrate confidence in your abilities and convince the interviewer that you are capable of handling the position successfully.

Ask for the job. Make a positive statement about the position. Emphasize that this is exactly the type of opportunity you've been looking for and would like to be offered this position. Ask when you should expect an answer. A typical conclusion might be:

"Thank you for this meeting, _______________. I like what I've heard today and I'd like to join your team. I know I'd be an asset to you/your department because you need someone who can _________, ___________, and ___________. As you know, I have (Match your qualifications with the employer's "hot buttons"). Before I leave, do you have any more questions about my background or qualifications or can I supply you with any more information? On a scale of 1 to 5, how do I compare to the other candidates you've interviewed? I can start as soon as you need me." The farewell should also include a smile, direct eye contact, a firm but gentle handshake.

Immediately following the interview, call your employment recruiter. It is very important to convey your impressions of the position and the company. Let the recruiter know whether you are interested in the position or not and if there were questions you forgot to ask at the interview, express them at this time. Only after we get your feedback about the interview and the company do we contact the employer for theirs. And finally, we follow up with you regarding the employer's thoughts.

Back to top of page

IX. Post Interview
A very professional and important, perhaps crucial to a hiring authority’s decision to hire, is your letter of appreciation to thank the employer or interviewer for the opportunity to interview and the person’s time. This is another occasion for you to reiterate your interest in the position and in the company, and also a forum to restate your qualifications and fit for the job profile that you have interviewed for. The "thank you" letter is another method to keep your name current in the interviewer’s mind. Some hiring managers use this effort (of the thank-you letter) as a tie-breaker if two candidates are close in vying for the final hiring decision. The "thank you" letter’s value and its potential to persuade the hiring authority far exceed the effort expended to prepare and send the letter.

If you wish to download a "pre-composed" post interview thank you letter, click HERE.

If you would like to download a "pre-composed" letter of resignation, click HERE.

The use of drug testing as part of a pre-employment physical examination is becoming more prevalent. It is predicted, that within five years, drug testing will become one more standard for getting a job. Some firms are testing for drug use as part of a pre-employment physical without telling the applicant that he/she is being tested for drugs.

Some over-the-counter products can produce a positive drug-test result. Among them: Alka-Seltzer Plus, Alterest, Bronkald, Contact, Donnagel, Nyquil, Primatane, Promiamine capsules, Sinutab, Sudafed and Triaminic. Poppy seeds in your food can also produce a positive drug-test result.

You should not take any medication 48 hours before your pre-employment physicals, but if you must, be sure to list all drugs taken and advise the examiner.

Back to top of page

X. Interview Learnings
Reasons Why They Don't Ask You Back

1. Poor attitude.
Many candidates come across as arrogant. While employers can afford to be self-centered, candidates cannot.

2. Appearance.
Many candidates do not consider their appearance as much as they should. First impressions are quickly made in the first three to five minutes. Review the appearance checklist.

3. Lack of research.
It's obvious when candidates haven't learned about the job, company or industry prior to the interview. Visit the library or use the internet to research the company, then talk with friends, peers and other professionals about the opportunity before each meeting.

4. Not having questions to ask.
Asking questions shows your interest in the company and the position. Prepare a list of intelligent questions in advance.

5. Not readily knowing the answers to interviewer's questions.
Anticipate and rehearse answers to tough questions about your background, such as a recent termination or an employment gap. Practicing with your spouse or a friend before the interview will help you to frame intelligent responses.

6. Relying too much on resumes.
Employers hire people, not paper. Although a resume can list qualifications and skills, it's the interview dialogue that will portray you as a committed, responsive team player.

7. Too much humility.
Being conditioned not to brag, candidates are sometime reluctant to describe their accomplishments. Explaining how you reach difficult or impressive goals helps employers understand what you can do for them.

8. Not relating skills to the employer's needs.
A list of startling accomplishments mean little if you can't relate them to a company's requirements. Reiterate your skills and convince the employers understand what you can do for them.

9. Handling salary issues ineptly.
Candidates often ask about salary and benefits too early. If they believe an employer is interested, they may demand inappropriate amounts and price themselves out of the jobs. Candidates who ask for too little undervalue themselves or appear desperate.

10. Lack of career direction.
Job hunters who aren't clear about their career goals can't spot or commit to appropriate opportunities. Not knowing what you want wastes everyone's time.

11. Job shopping.
Some applicants, particularly those in certain high-tech, sales and marketing fields, will admit they're just "shopping" for opportunities and have little intention of changing jobs. This wastes time and leaves a bad impression with employers they may need to contact in the future.

Back to top of page

XI. 10 Reasons for NOT accepting a Counter-Offer

  • You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From this day on, your loyalty will always be in question.

  • Consider the following ---------- an employer offers you a position - you accept – you resign – you turn down the counter offer – a few days later the new employer notifies you that they decided to retain or hire someone else for the position your were hired for, and that they will be rescinding the offer – did they create a blunder? How would you feel?

  • Consider the reverse, you have accepted the new employer’s offer, the new employer has announced your hiring or released the person you were going to replace, and you decide to accept a counter offer you said you wouldn’t ---------- did you create a blunder? How would you feel?

  • When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who is loyal and who is not.

  • When times get tough, your employer will begin the cutbacks with you. Accepting a counteroffer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride; you were bought.

  • Where is the money for the counteroffer coming from? All companies have wage and salary guidelines which must be followed. Is it your next raise early?

  • Your company will immediately start looking for a new person at a cheaper price.

  • The same circumstances that now cause you to consider a change will repeat themselves in the future, even if you accept a counteroffer.

  • Statistics show that if you accept a counteroffer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in six months or being let go in one year is extremely high.

  • What type of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they will give you what you are worth?

Back to top of page

XII. Credits
This article credits contributions from the following sources:

The Interview: A Guide To Obtaining a Job Offer
By Chuck Russell & Associates, Management Consultants, Houston Texas

Courier Journal & Times article: "Careers"
By Joyce Lain Kennedy

Win The Interview - Win The Job
By Theodore Pettus

Thank You Letter from: How to Turn an Interview into a Job
By Jeffrey G. Allen

Back to top of page