Interviewing Strategy

Interview Strategy

  1. BE ON TIME . That means ten to fifteen minutes early. Sometimes, interviewers are ready before the appointed time.
  2. KNOW THE INTERVIEWER'S NAME and use it in the interview. Using a person's name personalizes the conversation and adds warmth. If you don't know the name, call the switchboard beforehand and ask. Also get the secretary's name so if you need to call back, you can use it. Secretaries can have some potent influence.
  3. BRING A SPARE COPY OF YOUR RESUME, just in case the one you sent isn't available. Demonstrates that you're prepared.
  4. EXPECT TO SPEND SOMETIME DEVELOPING RAPPORT. Don't jump right in and get down to business. Get comfortable with each other. Whatever time you invest will be repaid tenfold, for personal chemistry is a main ingredient in the hiring process. If they like you, the rest of the interview will go well.
  5. DON'T BE EMBARRASSED BY NERVOUSNESS. They are probably nervous too. In fact, nervousness can be a good sign-shows you are taking this seriously.
  6. DON'T EXAGGERATE. It will come back to haunt you.
  7. FOLLOW THE INTERVIEWER'S LEAD. Don't try to take over the interview. Stick to the subject at hand but don't dwell too long on one point.
  8. BE PREPARED FOR PERSONAL QUESTIONS, even some inappropriate ones. Very few interviewers know what they can and can't ask, legally. Anticipate how you will handle personal questions without blowing your cool.
  9. BE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION. Feel free to ask for clarification. Or, restate the question in your own words. Don't try to outsmart the employer.
  10. EMPHASIZE THE POSITIVE. Act natural, but dwell on the positive. Be frank and honest, but never apologize for lack of experience or weaknesses.
  11. WAIT FOR AN OFFER TO TALK ABOUT SALARY. Otherwise, don't ask unless the interviewer brings it up.
  12. EMPHASIZE WHAT YOU CAN DO (your transferable skills) more than what you are interested in. Of course employers want to know who you are and about your interests. But they are concerned with what you can do for them.
  13. TAKE A PEN AND PAPER, BUT DON'T TAKE NOTES during the interview. However, immediately following the interview, write down as much as you can remember.
  14. NEVER SLIGHT A FORMER EMPLOYER OR COLLEAGUE, or a teacher, an institution, or a friend. It only reflects on you.
  15. WATCH YOUR GRAMMAR. Employers are interested in candidates who can express themselves articulately and properly. Even if you have to go slow and correct yourself, accuracy is preferred over oratorical fluency.
  16. HAVE SOME QUESTIONS PREPARED. When asked for comments or questions, have some. There is nothing wrong with taking in a 3x5 card with a few prepared questions and thoughts - shows you're prepared.
  17. DON'T EXPECT AN OFFER ON THE SPOT. Offers usually follow the interview, sometimes tow or three weeks later.
  18. BE CAREFUL WITH THE CLOSING. More people blow an interview at the closing than any other time, except for the opening. If you are not good at closing conversations, don't linger. End quickly and courteously. All too many candidates try to flatter the interviewer, trip over their feet (or tongues) and make fools of themselves at the closing.
  19. NO INTERVIEW IS EVER COMPLETED until you follow-up with a personal thank-you note, also reaffirming your interest. Easy to forget- Don't.