Interview Techniques

Gaining employment job will more often than not include some type of interview process. Some employers may give a basic interview to verify the information you provided in your application, while others may have an extensive interview process involving two or three separate interviews with different people. In either case, you always want to be prepared and confident, because you are there to promote yourself by illuminating your positive qualities and recognizing any faults you may need to work on.

Below you will find some tips that you may find useful when preparing for your upcoming job interviews.

  1. Be prepared for the most common interview questions
    • Generally speaking, interviewers have a number of questions they will ask all applicants, or they have a pool of questions from which they pull five or six. “What is your best quality?”, “What is your worst quality?”, “Which areas do you think you need to improve upon?”, “What hours/days are you available?”, and “When can you start?” are examples of some of these questions. You should have an honest answer for all of them. Hint: never say you don’t have any bad qualities or that you don’t have any areas to improve upon–these are a sign that you will be difficult to get along with. Acknowledging any shortcomings exposes that you are self-aware and live in “reality”.
  2. Know about the industry and company you are applying for
    • Taking the time to research what the company you work for does is important, because it lets the interviewer know that you have a real interest in the position. The interviewer may even ask about how you see their company fitting in within the industry, who their primary competitors are, and/or what advantages they have over other companies. So it’s not just about learning about the company you are interviewing for, you also need to get an overview of the industry.
  3. Come up with questions to ask the interviewer
    • Invariably, toward the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. It is bad form to say “No” or ‘None that I can think of”. It tells the interviewer you have no curiosity about the company or no real desire to become a part of the team. For example, you can ask the interviewer what they think of the work atmosphere at the company, or what kind of benefits the company offers (asking about benefits implies to the interviewer that you want to stick around for a long time).Don’t be afraid to ask questions, just don’t get too personal and don’t ask an overwhelming number of questions. Moreover, avoid questions that the interviewer is not likely to have an answer for.
  4. Make the most of your interview from the start
    • People gain an impression of us within the first couple of minutes of meeting us. It is important to portray a sense of professionalism and confidence from the start. In those first few minutes, the interviewer has already made a check mark next to your name or not (figuratively speaking). If you make mistakes or stumble in the first few minutes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s over for you, but you will need to work hard to make up for it. Generally speaking, it takes 3 good minutes to make up for one bad minute.
  5. Look professional
    • Showing up to an interview in shorts and a t-shirt is never a good idea. This doesn’t mean that every interview requires a suit and tie, but slacks and a dress shirt for men, or a business suit or slacks/skirt and blouse for women, is a general rule. Men: tuck your shirt in! Make sure that you are clean and groomed as well. If you have hair, ensure it is is not messy.
    • Posture and facial expressions are important too. Sit up, even when you are waiting in the lobby to be called in to the interview, and if there are other applicants waiting, be friendly…you never know who’s watching. And always smile, but don’t look like a clown.
  6. You need to sell yourself
    • The employer is looking to hire a person to fill a position, and in most cases. If you don’t find a way to set yourself apart from the other applicants, you’re just a sheep among herd. If you are good at managing other people, make sure the interviewer knows it. Give examples if you need to. Details about your experience help sell you. “I have managed small office groups” is not as effective as “my past experiences have allowed me to manage small groups in order to meet the expectations and guidelines for a number of different projects”. However, don’t drag your stories out too long. Specifics aren’t necessary unless , only the overview.
  7. Be honest…no matter what
    • Chances are good that you’ve already been googled by your employer. They know a great deal about you before you are interviewed, especially if they are using an employment service. You may be asked questions to test your honesty and if you lie, they will know.
    • Employers are allowed to ask about your criminal history. Be honest. You do not need to give details, but it is important that you disclose a felony record so that it doesn’t come up as a surprise later. If you feel it may help in a given situation, let them know that you are a herd worker and you have something to prove–you can even tell them they may be eligible for tax breaks for hiring you.
  8. Bring your resume
    • Even if you’ve already sent your resume to the company, always bring a copy (or two) with you. It shows your employer a sense of readiness. Don’t use colored paper!
  9. Don’t be afraid to talk about failures
    • You may be asked to describe work experiences where you didn’t perform your job well. Many people answer these questions by stating that they cannot remember any such mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes and the interviewer knows this. The fact that you recognize a mistake as a mistake shows a potential employer that you have an understanding of areas where you need to learn and grow.
    • Behavior-based interviews rely heavily on you describing situations where your behavior directly affected a work project outcome. You may have many positive examples, but presenting one or two faults makes you look better in the employer’s eye
  10. Always think positive
    • Being positive rubs off on others. You may be the interviewer’s 10th interview of the day. They may be tired; and if they fore-went lunch, they may even be cranky. Your attitude and positivity will be reflected in the interviewer. And even when you are describing something that is potentially negative, keep a positive attitude. Your attitude and demeanor say a lot about you
    • Thinking positively will help you stay on track during the interview and help you maintain a sense of confidence that will be observed by the interviewer.
  11. Be assertive and strong during your interview
    • Many times, people who are naturally assertive will become passive during an interview in order to compensate for their personality. This is a huge mistake–politeness is not the same as passivity, and passivity is not seen as a good work characteristic. Overall, it is your responsibility to make sure the interviewer gets to know you. He may be asking the questions, but you can help drive the interview.
  12. Be ready to handle inappropriate or illegal questions
    • Interview questions about your race, age, gender, religion, marital status, and sexual orientation are inappropriate and in many areas illegal. Nevertheless, you may get one or more of them. If you do, you have a couple of options. You can simply answer with a question (“I’m not sure how that’s relevant to my application”), or you can try to answer “the question behind the question”: “I don’t know whether I’ll decide to have children in the near future, but if you’re wondering if I’ll be leaving my job for an extended period of time, I can say that I’m very committed to my career and frankly can’t imagine giving it up.”
  13. Have a strong closing
    • The end of an interview is an opportunity for you to say “hire me”. Not literally, but it is the last chance to prove to the interviewer that all the interviews he or she did before you were a waste of time and they don’t need to see anyone else. They’ve got their new employee right in front of them. If they’re convinced you fit in and want the job, you’re golden. If there are two equally good candidates at the end of the search – you and someone else – the interviewer will think you’re more likely to accept the offer, and thus may be more inclined to make an offer to you.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for the job.
  14. Don’t fret when things don’t go your way
    • You may need to go to a number of interviews before you are hired. With each passing interview you may feel more and more pessimistic about your future. Always stay positive. Always remember you can only win if you continue to try. When you don’t try, you don’t have  a chance.