The Interview Process
Congratulations! You've made it to the interview, a time when both the company and you have the opportunity for mutual assessment. The key ingredients for a successful interview are preparation and performance.
- Do your homework. Research the company, the opportunity, and the interviewer.
- Review your work experience objectively and highlight your skills that are most critical for success.
- During the interview, make certain that you express the following qualities, with brief examples to support each trait.
- Strong Work Ethic
- Pleasant Nature
Generally, the candidate who shows the most enthusiasm for the job, the opportunity and the company is the one who gets the offer. If you desire this opportunity, convey a positive attitude, smile, maintain good eye contact, and express your genuine interest.
Be prepared to answer specific questions regarding your skills, knowledge, and experience. You can be persuasive as to why the employer should hire you by creating a vivid and detailed image of your achievements with supporting examples.
The following are a few examples of potential questions that you could be asked during the interview. You may want to practice your answers.
- Tell me about yourself. (Focus on recent events and hold your response to less than 2 minutes.)
- What do you know about our organization? (Its history) What do you know about our products and services?
- Why should we hire you?
- What can you do for us? (That someone else can't is implied here.)
- What are you looking for in a job?
- What skills and qualifications do you believe are essential for success in this position?
- How long would it take for you to make a meaningful contribution?
- How does this assignment fit into your overall career plan?
- Describe your management style.
- What, in your opinion, is the most difficult thing about managing others?
- How would your colleagues describe you?
- How would your boss describe you?
- How would you describe yourself?
- How do you feel about your present (or past) boss?
- What are the three most significant accomplishments in your last assignment?
- What are the three most significant accomplishments in your career so far?
- Do you work well under deadlines and pressure?
- What are your salary requirements?
- Have you kept up in your field with additional training?
- What other positions are you considering?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What are your career goals?
- What are your key strengths?
- What are your weak points?
- How did you do in school?
- What position do you expect to have in two to five years?
- If you take this job, what will you accomplish in the first year?
- What was wrong with your last position? (Or, what is wrong with your current position?)
- What hours are you used to working? What hours would you like to work?
- How do you deal with difficult people? (Provide an example and explain.)
- What are some of the best ideas you have initiated and sold to a superior? What was your approach?
- Describe any significant project ideas you have initiated or thought of in the past year. Were they used? Did they work?
- What are the most difficult decisions you have made in the last six months? How did you formulate these decisions?
- Give me an example of when you have worked the hardest... and felt the greatest sense of achievement.
- What are your standards for success in your job (or school)? What have you done to meet these standards?
- We have all had occasions when we were working on something that "just slipped through the cracks." Can you give me some examples of when this happened to you? What happened?
- In order to survive in the world, people have to bend a little. What is the farthest you have had to bend your standards in order to succeed?
- What do you do to manage stress?
- What were your objectives for last year? Were they achieved? How?
- How do you feel about working for a company of this size? What do you see as the benefits and drawbacks?
- Why did you choose this particular career?
- What is the greatest influence in your self-development?
- Describe the ideal organization for which you would like to work.
- How do you schedule your time? How far ahead can you schedule? Can you walk me through the last week and tell me how you planned the week's activities and how the schedule worked out?
The interview is a two-way process. A portion of the interview should be dedicated to questions which you might have about the company. These questions should be well thought-out and prepared ahead of the interview. Write them down if you feel the need to do so.
Questions to Ask the Interviewer
- Why is this position open?
- What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this position?
- What are some of the objectives you would like to see accomplished in this job?
- What is most pressing in the beginning? What would you like to have done within the next three months?
- What are some of the more difficult challenges one would have to face in this position? How do you think these could best be handled?
- How are work objectives, deadlines, and methods of measurement set?
- What advancement opportunities are available for the person who is successful in this position, and within what time frame?
- In what ways has this organization been most successful over the years in terms of products and services?
- What significant changes do you foresee in the near future?
- How is one evaluated in this position?
Always ask the interviewer for his/her business card. Send a thank you note immediately following the interview (e-mail is perfectly acceptable). Reiterate your interest in the opportunity in the thank you note and briefly state how you think you could contribute to the team.
Remember, with preparation and research you can have a successful job interview and an excellent chance at landing a great job opportunity.