When you go
into an interview arranged by Vertex Technology Recruiters, you can feel
confident that you are qualified for the position, because your
recruiter has carefully evaluated your suitability for the job and
the company. In addition, you have the advantage of knowing that
your recruiter is in communication with both you and the employer.
However, even if you are the perfect person for the position, a poor
interview could result in no offer being made. You must do a good
job of selling yourself to the company in the interviewing process.
Since most of us have actually been through very few interviews, we
have prepared the following guidelines and reminders to help you
provide the information needed by the interviewer in a concise,
persuasive manner, thereby increasing your chances of success.
As you prepare
for and participate in an interview, stay focused on the objective:
Getting the job offer. You must not give the impression that you are
merely shopping around. A "ho-hum" attitude has no place in a job
interview. It will reflect badly on you, and frankly, on us, too.
After the interview, you can decide whether to accept or reject an
offer; if you don’t act as though you want the job, you surely won’t
get an offer.
interviewers really looking for?
How well you
do in the interview depends on how well you meet the interviewer’s
criteria when compared to other candidates.
The interviewer looks first at your qualifications to ascertain that
you can handle the job. By the time of the interview, your overall
qualifications have been firmly established by your recruiter.
However, you can and should expand on your capabilities in terms of
the employer’s exact wants and needs. More than one candidate will
pass the qualifications test, so the final hiring decision will be
based on other factors, including the following:
optimistic and positive attitude.
Pessimism and negativism don’t win job offers. Concentrate on
topics that you can discuss enthusiastically. Don’t fake it, though,
because you will risk appearing phony and superficial.
interest in the company and the position.
If you like the employer’s products, the people he has already
hired, the location of the office, or anything else related to the
position, be sure to say so. Employers want someone who has a high
opinion of the company and the position.
Indications of longevity of service.
Employers look for long-term employees. However, interviewers
seldom ask direct questions about longevity. Instead, they ask: "Why
are you interested in another position?" or, "What are you looking
for in a new position?" These questions, or variations on them, are
probing for indicators of your commitment to the long term. Here is
a simple and effective way to answer them:
- Make a
positive statement about your former employer.
- Make a
short, positive, general statement about what you want in a new
"I’ve enjoyed my years with XYZ Corp. There are a lot of good
people there, but this looks like a more challenging
opportunity. I want to be part of a team where I can make a real
contribution to the work performed."
Preparing for the
several things that you should do in preparing for the interview
that can make the difference between receiving and not receiving the
out as much as you can about the company.
This not only makes you feel more comfortable during the interview,
it also demonstrates genuine interest in the company. Your RWR
recruiter will provide a lot of information, but you can also check
out financial publications like Dun and Bradstreet, Standard and
Poor’s, or Moody’s, all of which can acquaint you with the company’s
products, services, markets, sales volume, locations and
subsidiaries. The company’s annual report is also a good resource.
Your interviewer will be favorably impressed by your interest and
This may seem trivial, but you wouldn’t want to miss a job offer
simply because someone didn’t like your attire.
wear a conservative suit, white shirt, contrasting tie, shined
shoes, matching belt, and over-the-calf socks.
wear a skirted suit or dress with matching jacket, neutral-colored
sheer hose, simple pumps, and a minimum of make-up.
sufficient time for the interview.
More than likely, you will be interviewing with more than one person
during the interview cycle. You will not be at your best if you are
distracted by a conflicting appointment. It is a mistake to rush
your interviewers because you have made an error in scheduling your
Arrive for the interview fifteen minutes before your actual
appointment. A last-minute or late arrival might say something
negative to your potential employer. Why take a chance?
positive frame of mind.
Avoid talking about personal problems. If your interview begins on a
negative note, it might be difficult to get it back on track.
the interview alone.
The presence of a third party can be a negative distraction for both
you and the interviewer. If your spouse or a friend takes you to the
interview, have him or her wait for you elsewhere.
a list of questions.
Be prepared to ask the interviewer questions. He will know you have
taken the time to think seriously about working for them. Also, you
may gain invaluable insights about working for the firm. Your
recruiter may have informed you about company policies, the number
of employees, hours, travel, benefits, the review process, and more,
but you can still ask questions about any of these matters. Decide
ahead of time what questions you would like answered and pose them
politely when an opportunity arises. Your questions should cover the
opportunity, the company, its people, its products/services.
importance, responsibility, authority, recognition and career
potential of the job.
who previously held the position, their performance and where
they are today.
- The kind
of person the employer wants to hire in terms of education,
experience, future performance and personality.
questions that relate to salary, benefits, vacations and retirement.
Anatomy of a job
There is no
standard interview pattern, but there are recognizable steps or
stages within any interview sequence. It is up to you to recognize
each stage and to react appropriately.
Usually, the first person you meet is a receptionist, who directs
you to the proper place. The receptionist may or may not be
expecting you; explain who you are and who you have an appointment
Your initial contact may be with an employee from the
personnel department who will provide a preview of what to expect,
or it may be with a supervisor within the department offering the
job. In any case, your greeting should include a firm handshake and
an enthusiastic greeting, followed by a self-introduction.
is not at all uncommon for someone to begin an interview with a
friendly question intended to put you at your ease. Give polite and
brief answers, but don’t tell your life story. Respond with
enthusiastic and pleasant answers to remarks and questions no matter
how trivial they seem. This is your opportunity to get on a
first-name basis with the interviewer. After the ice breaker, if you
feel comfortable doing so, drop the "Mister Smith" and simply call
the interviewer by his first name.
Unless you do something about it, the interview can and probably
will be a chronological interview controlled entirely by the
interviewer. The chronological interview is a backward history of
positions held through the years. You should consider this as part
of the introductory phase; try to close the chronological interview
after five to seven minutes and introduce the “topical interview”
phase. Look for the first opportunity to ask the simple question:
will my first assignment be?"
The topical interview is your principle opportunity to learn
what the job entails and to prove that you can do it. In answer to
your initial question ("Bill, what will my first assignment be?"),
the interviewer will list activities or duties that you will be
expected to perform. Relate each activity to your experience, and
closely match your abilities to each position requirement. If you
have specific experience, be sure to mention it. If you are lacking
specific experience, relate your knowledge of the subject or
indicate an interest in learning about the subject. Relate a
previous learning experience, showing that you learn quickly and
thoroughly. Once the first assignment is covered, ask another
question, such as:
will I be expected to do?"
"what else" questions until all aspects of the job are covered.
During the topical interview, you should:
Compliment the interviewer’s approach to problems when it is
appropriate. This is a good way to let the interviewer know that
you admire his accomplishments and respect his ability.
that you expect to be with the company for the long term. The
interviewer will be looking for such indications.
- Speak and
act as if you already had the position. This means using "wills"
and "cans" rather than "would's" and "could's." ("What will be
expected of me?” rather than "What would be expected of me?")
positively. Avoid negative comments about anything.
to questions honestly and positively. Go beyond "yes" and "no"
answers to elaborate on points that seem to be important to the
interviewer, especially those topics about which you can be
positive and enthusiastic.
It should be
easy to determine when the interviewer is convinced of your
capabilities. When you recognize this, it is time to actively close
the interview by asking, "When can I expect to hear from you?" This
question signals the start of the interview close.
It is important to leave the interviewer with a positive impression
that sets you above other candidates for the position. During this
phase, make sure you do the following:
confidently that you can handle the position.
- Say that
you are very interested in the position and that you would like
to have an offer.
as you prepare to leave, tell the employer you would enjoy
working with him personally.
At this point,
you will be dismissed or taken to another interviewer. Handle all
following interviews in the same fashion, with a topical interview
and a strong, positive close. Assume each subsequent interviewer
knows nothing about you. You must convince all parties in the
interview cycle that you are the right person for the job.
Your exit from the interviewer’s office concludes the interview. Use
your exit as an additional opportunity to display a positive
attitude. At the door or the elevators, state again that you can do
the job and that you find the position very appealing.
When you have left the interview, take time to assess your feelings,
impressions, and reactions. Do you want to work for the firm? Were
there issues that bothered you? Be honest with yourself. Jot down
notes and review them later in the day to see if they still hold
true. Note any questions you want answered if a job offer is made.
And by all means, discuss the interview with your RWR recruiter for
feedback or more information. Finally, review your performance
before your next interview and work on a stronger presentation.
stand out as the ones most commonly made by candidates interviewing
for a position. In order of importance they are:
sight of the interview objective.
The objective is to get a job offer. Don't let preliminary
impressions of the company affect your interviewing technique and
Candidates, especially for key technical positions, tend to
understate their capabilities. This doesn't mean you should
exaggerate your qualifications; it does mean that you should make
the most of what you have. Don’t forget that knowledge of how to
solve a particular problem can be a strong qualification, even
though your knowledge may not have been applied directly in your job
experience. A little modesty is a good thing, but don't overdo it.
too many "me" questions
Don't ask questions about what the company can do for you. Emphasize
your ability to contribute to the company's goals. There will be a
time to ask "me" questions after you get an offer.
to "sell" your abilities.
There is no such thing as a token interview. It may be true that
some people you interview with have no power to hire you, but they
certainly have the power to keep you from getting the offer. You
should treat every interviewer as the person who will hire you.
Never depend on someone else to sell your abilities to others. Make
the strong and positive pitch yourself.
interview, prepare answers to difficult questions that are almost
sure to be asked. You should know what the interviewer is really
asking and respond in an honest; sincere and convincing manner. Some
typical tough questions are:
don't you begin by telling me about yourself?"
This is not an invitation for a long, biographical discourse. It's
the interviewer's way of starting the interview. Confine your answer
to three or four well-chosen sentences outlining your career
highlights. It might be an ideal time to begin the topical interview
by asking what will be expected of the person who gets the position.
have any questions?"
The temptation here is to ask "me" questions. Don’t. Ask only
questions that are job-related prior to the actual offer.
you willing to travel?"
Your response should indicate flexibility. If you do like to travel,
you should say so, but indicate that extensive travel is not a
primary consideration. If you do not like to travel, be clear,
perhaps indicating that occasional travel would not preclude your
acceptance of an offer. If you really are inflexible about travel,
though, be honest about it.
object to overtime work?"
The interviewer is not asking if you will work late every day; he
simply wants to know if you are the type who drops everything at
quitting time. A good answer might be: "I have always been flexible
when it comes to working beyond office hours. The fact is that I am
project-oriented, not clock-oriented. I do whatever is necessary to
finish the job."
If the job requires immediate relocation, your recruiter will have
made it clear. If you are unwilling to relocate in the future, say
so. If you would consider it, make that clear. Don’t let the
possibility of relocation dampen your enthusiasm. A good answer to
this question is: "I haven’t really considered moving out of town,
but for the right opportunity I would seriously consider the
you want to work for our company?"
This is a wide open question that gives you an opportunity to pay
the company a few compliments: perhaps you like what the company
does, perhaps you like its location, people, products, et cetera.
are you considering leaving your current position?"
Have a simple answer ready; don’t get into politics or negative
situations at your current employer. Whatever has attracted you to
this potential new employer should be emphasized at this time. This
question also seeks an indication of your commitment to staying with
an employer. If your resume shows that you’ve moved around quite a
bit, you can turn a negative into a positive by stating that
longevity in a job is one of your goals. Indicate that you are
looking for a place to make a real contribution: "If I’ve learned
anything during my past employment, it is the importance of finding
a long-term, permanent position. I enjoy my work with XYZ Company,
but I am interested in this position because it will allow me to
make contributions over the long term."
You and your RWR recruiter will have discussed the salary and
benefits of the position before the interview. Still, you should be
prepared for this kind of question: "What are you looking for in the
way of salary?" It is best to avoid being pinned down on salary
before an offer is made so you might answer this way: "Salary is
important, but I’m more interested in a company that wants to
utilize my skills and that I can really grow with over the long
run." If the employer is insistent, say something like, "My current
salary is $_______. Naturally, I would like to see a reasonable
General tips on interviewing
Following are some
"do’s and don’t's" that apply in any job interview:
Never tell jokes, especially risque, ethnic, or tasteless jokes.
discuss personal problems.
Keep the interview focused by discussing job-related topics.
Don’t waste time
with excessive small talk.
stay too long.
It is easy to detect when the interview is no longer producing
useful information. When this happens, take the initiative and
courteously begin your exit.
It’s your responsibility to convince the interviewer that you are
the person for the position by relating your accomplishments and
achievements in a strong, positive manner. Confidence always
contributes to interview success.
negatives into positives.
If your job history shows frequent job changes, for example,
indicate that you realize the value of a stable position, which is
why you are interested in the position. You can neutralize negatives
by bringing them up yourself, with logical and positive statements.
respect the role of personnel departments.
Although the personnel department does not make the offer, it is
responsible for screening candidates and can be an obstacle.
follow-up with a thank you note.
Enhance your impact by sending a follow-up letter thanking the
interviewer for his time. Use the letter to summarize any key points
of the interview that highlight the suitability of your skills and
experience. Express your enthusiasm about the position, the company
and the reasons for your interest. Limit the letter to a page and be
sure it is error-free.