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How to Interview

How to Interview

Prepared by ASPIRE at SHS

January 2018

 

a)     Preparation:

·       Keep up with the news. In our globalized economy, many employers will expect you to have a worldly perspective. Spend a few minutes a day checking out the key headlines and stories.


·       Take the time to learn about the company to which you have applied, and prepare some good questions to ask in the interview. This is critical: if you want the job, find out about the company and its services or products. Do this whether you are applying for the lowest position or the highest position in the company.


·       Here are some common questions you may be asked; think about the answers you want to give:

o   Why do you want this job?

o   Describe your career path

o   What do you want to be doing in 5 to 10 years?

o   How long do you plan to stay in this job?

o   Describe a past mistake or failure and what you learned from it

o   Describe a past success or accomplishment

o   What do you do when conflict arises in the workplace?

o   Why are you leaving (or did you leave) your current position?

o   What is important to you about the environment in which you work?

o   How do you deal with conflict at work?


·       Dress well: it is better to “dress up” than to “dress down.” Show respect for the company and the interviewers with what you wear.


·       If you must cancel or postpone your interview, give as much notice as possible, be respectful, state the reason (and it should be a valid one, such as illness; a suddenly arranged ski trip is not a valid reason) and ask if it would be possible to reschedule. Be prepared to indicate when your schedule would permit a new meeting time.


·       Arrive early: Not too early, but certainly a few minutes ahead of your appointment. If you are late, no matter what the reason, you interview will be over before it begins.


·       Be friendly and respectful of all whom you encounter, including (perhaps especially) the receptionist.

 

b)     The interview


·       Pay attention to your body language:

o   sit up straight, look the interviewer in the eye, and stay focused;

o    do not cross your arms over your chest; do not play with your hair, ears, clothes, etc.

 

·       Try to mentally record the names of the interviewers, so you can address them by name during the interview and as a part of your follow-up.


·       Don’t ramble. Answer questions clearly and directly.


·       Show that you are interested in the company, its mission, and how you fit in.


·       Demonstrate with your questions and answers that hiring you will benefit the company. Here are some good questions to ask:

o   What is the management style of the person who will be my supervisor?

o   Why did you join this company, and what has been your experience here?

o   What are the qualities you are seeking in an employee for this position?

o   What are the challenges of this position?

o   How will you determine the success of the person you hire?


·       DO NOT look at your cell phone. It should be turned off during the interview! If you check a text message or take a phone call, your chances of getting the job will immediately fall to near zero.


·       DO NOT ask questions about salary, benefits, vacations, etc. in the early stages of the process. There will be time for these questions if the company indicates you are a finalist. Such questions, asked too soon, will signal that you would rather know how the job benefits you, rather than how you can benefit the company.


·       DO NOT say bad or critical things about a previous employer or boss.


·       When it is your turn to ask questions, ask good ones based on your research. DO NOT ask questions if the answers are readily available on the company web site.


·       Try to speak to your ability to work as a member of a team. Most jobs today involve teamwork.

 

c)     Follow-up


·       Before leaving, ask the interviewer what steps are next in the process. Express your interest in the company as well as your enthusiasm for the job.


·       Be sure to shake the hand of each interviewer, and if possible address each one by name. Thank your interviewers for their time.


·       Once you are back in your car, write down some information: the names of the interviewers (and even the receptionist), important facts about the company and the job that you learned about in the interview, and any other information you may have picked up (such as, maybe your interviewer has children or pets, plays golf, or just returned from a trip to Outer Mongolia).


·       Write a letter to the interviewer, expressing your appreciation for the interview and your interest in the job. You may wish to make it personal (as in “thanks for showing me the photos of your pet rhinoceros,” or “I hope you have a great vacation with your family next week.”). Do not procrastinate; this letter should be in the mail within 24 hours of your interview!


·       Follow up with a phone call in a reasonable amount of time (whether it’s a week or a few weeks depends on what you learned about the timetable). Call to ask the status of the process and express your interest in the job, but don’t put any pressure on the company unless you are actually considering other offers, in which case it’s OK to let the company know that. 

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