Catherine's Career Corner
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December 14th, 2008
Hot Tips For Job Interviews

A Company Focused Interview

In an interview, it is almost always a mistake to disparage the company you are leaving. Instead, look at the company’s published information and pick out a few strengths that make valid reasons for wanting to make a change.

For example, you could talk about:
– how well it’s regarded in the industry
– its cutting edge technology
– what you hope to learn from the company
– the prospects for career development that are different from your old company
– changes in your life and career aspirations that make change a good option for you
– the location.

Unexpected Interview Questions

Some interviewers will ask strange questions that don’t seem to have relevance to the job. These questions are designed to see how well you think under pressure.

Feel free to pause, consider and even repeat the question before you answer. Be as creative with your answer as they were with the question. Incorporate your work-related qualities into your answer and avoid getting too personal.

To prepare for strange questions, consider the following:

1. If someone were to write your biography, what would it be titled?
2. If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be, and why?
3. If you could have dinner with anyone form history, who would it be, and why?

Prepare a Few Intelligent Questions

You will usually be asked at the end of the interview if you have any questions. The answer should be yes.

If the interviewer has repeatedly raised a concern during the interview, ask about that. For example, frequent questions about your long term plans with the company merit an inquiry about turnover rate.

If you can’t think of anything to ask on your own, use one or two of these questions.
– Is there room for advancement?
– Does the company support ongoing training or education for the employees?
– What is a typical day in this job like?
– What is the company’s/manager’s management style?
– What is the company’s mission statement?
– What’s the next step in the hiring process?

Save questions about salary and benefits until you have been offered the job. It is also wise to not ask the interviewer for a critique of your interview performance. This puts the interviewer on the spot and makes everyone uneasy.

The Successful Close

The last few minutes of your interview are almost as important as the first. Use these techniques to “close” your interview so that you leave them with a good impression.

1. Re-visit what your strong points. Remind them why they should hire you.
2. Let the interviewer know that you are interested in and excited about the position or opportunity.
3. Ask if there is anything else you can provide, such as references, documentation, or samples of your work.
4. Ask about the next step in the process. Will there be another round of interviews? Should you contact the employer? If so, how soon? When will you hear from them?
5. Ask how to contact the interviewer, or get a business card.

A Little Research Goes a Long Way

Research the companies you are interviewing for. Type the name of the company into a search engine and look for the following information:

1. What the company does, makes, or sells and how they compare to the competition.

2. How the company is organized.

3. What the salary range is for similar positions in the area.

4. Key words or phrases that are repeated on the company Web site.

5. Any newsworthy items about the company that you can ask about or mention during your interview.

Interview Dress for Success

Business suits are ideal for most interviews. Especially if you are interviewing for a professional position, it is important to look the part.

For jobs where casual attire will be the norm, it still makes sense to dress up. By putting in the extra effort to look good, you’ll show your interviewer that you care about the job and you want to make a good impression.

Five Seconds and Counting

You only have five seconds to make a first impression. In a job interview, these five seconds could determine how you spend a large portion of your life. To make the best first impression, follow these quidelines:

1. Make sure you are dressed appropriately and well groomed.
2. Keep jewelry conservative and cologne/perfume subtle.
3. Make eye contact.
4. Shake hands with a firm, full-handed grip.
5. Introduce yourself. The interviewer may have gone through several interviews already, and could lose track of where he left off.
6. Smile. A smile shows sincerity, caring, and interest.

Polite and Professional

Follow these guidelines when interviewing to present yourself in the best light.

1. Plan to arrive 10 minutes early for your interview. This shows you are respectful of the employer’s time and gives you some leeway in case you have difficulty getting there.

2. Let the interviewer lead the conversation. Although you want to talk about yourself, keep your responses focused on the job at hand instead of personal issues.

3. Come prepared with at least three questions to ask the interviewer about the company and the position you are applying for.

4. Always follow-up with a “thank you” note or letter.

5. Limit the amount of times you call the employer to check in on the status of the position.

6. If you didn’t get the job, send a letter thanking the employer for the opportunity to apply and asking for information on other open positions.

Courtesy of


Catherine Adenle
Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.
Catherine Adenle
Catherine Adenle

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