Interview Preparation

Information Worksheet

Questions To Ask An Interviewer

Tips To A Better Interview

Keys To Good Listening

Job Interview Behavior

Dirty Dozen + 2

Taking Charge

Pointers For Questions You May Be Asked

Discussing Salary

Post Interview Evaluation

Interview Checklist

What Interviewers Look For

Nine Strategies To Help You Keep Your Job


Information Worksheet

Company Name ________________________________________________________ Address_______________________________________________________________

Interview Time__________________________________________________________

Names of the Interviewers_________________________________________________ Notes________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________

Information about the Company:

History and Growth:

Products and Services:

Financial Profile:

Other (Key personnel, competitors, etc.):

Questions to ask at the interview: (Don't ask if already addressed)

Decision will be made when? ___________________________

May I contact you?______How?_____________________________ _____________________________________________________________


Follow-up after interview:

o Thank you note to _________

o Thank you note to _________

o Call for decision _________

Bring to interview:

o Portfolio

o Application information

o Extra resumes

o Copies of references

Questions to Ask an Interviewer

o Why is this position open?

o Based on what we have discussed here today, do you have any concerns about my ability to succeed in this position?

o What have been the primary reasons for persons leaving?

o Why did the person who held this position most recently leave?

o What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this job? What are some of the objectives that you would like accomplished in this job?

o What is most pressing? What would you like to have done within the next two or three months?

o What are some of the long-term objectives that you would like completed? o What freedom would I have in determining my work objectives, deadlines and methods of measurement?

o What kind of support does this position receive in terms of people, finances, etc.?

o What are some of the more difficult problems that one would have to face in this position? How do you think these could be best handled?

o In what ways has this organization been most successful in terms of products and services over the years?

o What significant changes do you foresee in the near future?

o How is one's performance judged? What accounts for success?

o How would my department interface with yours?

o What are the priorities of this job?

o Who are the key players?

o Are there problem areas in the organization?

o What are your concerns in the area I would be working?

o Is information received verbally or in writing?

o How does the organization work, formally or informally?

o What duties are most important for this job? Least important?

o How is the job important to the company/department, how does it contribute?

o What are the company/department goals (short and long-term)?

o Who are the other people I'd be working with and what do they do?

o If the interview appears positive on both sides, you may want to ask:

What could I say or do to convince you to offer me this job? I want this job.

Could I have a 30-day trial period to prove myself?

Tips To A Better Interview

o Prepare Practice! Practice! Practice!

Anticipate possible questions and write out answers to each of them. Research and know something about the company before you go.

o Punctuality!


o Appearance!

Come to the interview neat and clean. Avoid being overly made-up. Dress conservatively and comfortably.

o Body Language!

When shaking hands, offer a firm handshake. Erect posture shows confidence. Sit down only after offered a chair. Lean forward in your chair and relax. Do not fidget.

o Portfolio!

Show the interviewer that you plan ahead. Bring all necessary information and more; resume, letters of recommendation and samples or photos of your work.

o Enthusiasm!

Bring a positive attitude into the interview without being too familiar. Avoid being negative. Find something you like about the interviewer. Sell yourself. Remember, the difference between bragging and self-confidence is enthusiasm.


At the end of the interview, thank the employer for his/her time. Follow-up with a thank you note reviewing various points brought up in the interview.

o Smile!

Keys To Good Listening

o Limit Your Own Talking You can't talk and listen at the same time.

o Think Like The Interviewer The interviewer's comments and needs are important.

o Ask Questions If you don't understand something or feel you may have missed a point, clear it up now before it embarrasses you later.

o Don't Interrupt A pause, even a long pause, doesn't always mean the interviewer has finished saying everything he or she wants to.

o Concentrate Focus your mind on what is being said. Practice shutting out distractions.

o Take Notes Notes will help you remember important points, but be selective. Trying to write down everything that is said can result in being left far behind or in retaining irrelevant details.

Job Interview Behavior

o Greet the interviewer by name. o If he/she offers to shake hands use a firm grip, but not too firm.

o Wait until he/she asks you to sit down before you do so.

o Sit up straight and look alert and interested.

o Be polite. Speak clearly. Avoid the use of slang.

o Look the interviewer in the eye.

o Don't chew gum.

o Don't smoke unless the interviewer tells you it's all right to do so. It is preferable that you do not smoke during an interview.

o Always tell the truth. o Don't answer questions with simply "yes" or "no".

o Stick to the point. Talk about those things that relate to the job. Don't tell the interviewer about your personal problems.

o Try not to show any nervousness you may have. Don't fidget with things like pencils. or keys.

o Don't criticize former employers.

o Listen. Ask intelligent and pertinent questions.

o Be confident, but not over confident.

o Be specific about what job you want and what your occupational goal is.

o If salary is discussed, don't ask for more or less than the job usually pays.

o Leave the interview at the proper time. Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time.

o If you don't get the job, don't be discouraged! From each interview you will learn something which will help you the next time.

Dirty Dozen + 2

A wide variety of questions may be asked during interviews. Most of them can be anticipated. Some you are sure to be asked. The following list contains the twelve most common interview questions. On another sheet of paper, prepare answers to these questions, and review your responses periodically.

1. Tell me about yourself.

2a. What are your greatest strengths?

2b. What are your greatest weaknesses?

3. Why did you leave your last job?

4. Why do you want to work for us?

5. How did you like your old job?

6. What kind of salary are you looking for?

7. What do you know about our company?

8. Why should we hire you?

9. What did you think of your old boss?

10. What are your long-range goals?

11. Do you like to work overtime?

12. You seem over-qualified (or under-qualified).

13. Are you willing to travel?

14. Are you willing to relocate?

Taking Charge

o Close the Interview

o Ask any questions prepared before the interview plus any you jotted down during the interview.

o Remember, an interview is a two way street You are interviewing them as well.

o Restate your accomplishments and qualifications, and why they would benefit by employing you. (A modified 60 second me?)

o Find out what the next step in the interviewing process is. Will you be calling me? Can I call you? When? (Establish a date and time.)

o Ask for everyone's business card.

o If you want the job, now is the time to say so! This is where you utilize your DIEstatement. Desire, Interest and Enthusiasm.

o Thank them for seeing you.

After the Interview

o Send a thank you note to each interviewer. (Name and title from business card.)

o If you do not get the job, send a thank you note for their rejection. You may be candidate #2 and candidate #1 turns the job down.

o When you get the job, keep it.

Discussing Salary

o Never discuss your salary needs before you are offered the job! This is a cardinal rule of interviewing!

o There are many benefits to a job besides the starting salary:

Opportunities for advancement and training, benefits, good working conditions, good hours and so on. Wait until you find out about those things and are offered the job before you answer questions about salary.

o If an employer asks you about the minimum salary you will accept, don't give a figure!

Here's why: No matter what amount you say, you will either be too high or too low.

o If you're too high, he or she will assume that you won't accept the job, or that you are overqualified.

o If you are too low, you might get the job, but at a much lower salary than you could have gotten. This little mistake could cost you thousands of dollars!

o Here are some ways you can answer:

"I'm really interested in long term growth and advancement. Right now I'm willing to discuss whatever your company pays people like myself." "I'm primarily interested in a career with your company, and not just a job."

o If the interviewer offers a figure, just nod your head and let him or her go on. He or she might be offering you the job. Make sure one way or another before you say anything!

o In any event let the interviewer bring up the issue of salary. Don't appear greedy or overanxious. Remember, you don't have an offer yet!

Post Interview Evaluation

o Was my personal appearance at its best?

o Was I punctual, courteous, and enthusiastic?

o Did I make a good first impression?

o Did I pay attention to the person who interviewed me?

o Did I talk too much or too little?

o Was I really prepared for the interview?

o Did I clear up any doubts about my qualifications?

o Did I give specific reasons for wanting to be affiliated with this company?

o Did I sell myself, as worthwhile, throughout the interview?

o Did I end the interview positively?

o What am I going to do now? Call? Write? Return?

o What did I learn?

Interview Checklist


o Research the employer or company.

o Fill out the application carefully, neatly (print).

o REREAD your resume.

o Be rested. Wear comfortable clothing. During: Positive, positive, positive!!

o Never answer just "yes" or "no". Make a statement.

o Watch for negative body activity. Yours and theirs.

o Look them in the eye, but don't stare.

o Sit erect. You'll appear interested and think more clearly.

o Be direct and positive.

o Sell yourself, but do not oversell.

o Do not crowd the interviewer(s).

o Ask for the job.


o Analyze your performance.

o Send a thank you letter.

o Ask for a candid appraisal.

What Interviewers Look For

o Competence Actual experiences in the field for which you are applying. Inferred competence from other experiences (transferable skills).

o Success Stories Evidence of accomplishments told through mini-stories.

o Motivation/Commitment/Enthusiasm Depth of the individuals drive to do well in this field and stay with it for a considerable period of time.

o Upbeat…No Negatives A positive attitude across the board. Minimize focus upon any negative experiences

o Team Player Evidence that you are willing to subordinate your individual needs to the overall goals of the organization.

o Non-Verbal Factors Dress, eye contact, hand gestures, body posture, handshake, ease with oneself and the ability to communicate.

o Poise/Maturity Can handle difficult interview questions. This may reflect your ability to work comfortably under pressure.

Nine Strategies To Help You Keep Your Job

If you think being helpful, prompt, loyal, honest, and competent are all it takes to keep your job, you may find yourself unemployed. As economic troubles and belt-tightening continue, employee's performances are coming under greater scrutiny. Increasingly, they're being evaluated according to their contributions to the bottom line.

To improve your job security and advance your career, review the following ways to increase your value to your employer.

· Display a sense of urgency. Act as if you own the business and learn to think like the CEO. Employers are concerned about one thing: a constant flow of customers. With customers comes sales, and with sales come profits. If an employer believes you're apethetic about the business' well-being, the employer likely will be apethetic about your job.

· Make sure your efforts give a positive effect on the company's bottom line. In the new business environment, employment benefits the company. During the past decade, many emplouers created thousands of jobs in "support services". However, some employees took this to mean "a great place to hide where there's little pressure and accountability". Now, support services are suffering the deepest cuts. · Do more than you ever have before. Employees who only do what's expected of thenm jeopardize their job security. Now's the time to take on new responsibilities. If necessary, volunteer to work extra hours. Taking the initiative makes a positive impact . If your boss is constantly asking if you've completed an assignment, the end is near.

· Develop skills that are unique in your organization. Don't rely only on your present skills. Even though you may have been doing a good job, past performance isn't your key to security. Check to see what needs to be done. Acquire useful skills your company is missing through seminars and courses. Act quickly. Demonstrate that without you, there will be a big hole.

· Look for better, more efficient methods. Since cost-cutting and savings are in, be perceived as a person who knows how to reduce costs. When you make a recommendation, be sure to clarify how it will benefit your company. If your idea isn't well-conceived or presented, management will view it as a new expense rather than a long-term savings.

· Keep your employer informed about your value to the company. Smart employees realize that they need to continually inform management about their contributions. Shaping perception is the best way to influence opinion about a product, service or company.

· Never think that you can't be replaced. No one is indespensable, yet many of us believe otherwise. Certain experience and skills are in short supply in a tight labor market. Thus, some employees assume that they're so valuable that their employers will do anything to keep them, including letting them "write their own ticket" regarding performance, compensation and behavior. In today's market, though, employers often can find a more experienced replacement at a lower price.

· Avoid " I-deserve-it" thinking. It can destroy a career faster that incompetence. Here are a couple of obvious examples: "Gee, I haven't had a day off for a couple of months. I'm going to call in sick tomorrow". Or "I get in early most of the time, so I'm entitled to leave a couple of hours early". Or "Since I do a better job than he does, I should be paid more".

· Show a little gratitude. Just as employees need to know their work is appreciated, employers like to know their employees are happy. If you are, make it obvious. However, this doesn't mean being artificial or obsequious, which repulse and degrade employees and their bosses.