The best way to be prepared for the actual job interview is to plan ahead for questions and practice your answers. Questions you may be asked include:
- How did you learn about this job?
- Why are you interested in this job?
- Have you ever worked as a (job title) before?
- Tell me about yourself.
The Secret to Impressing an Interviewer
Impressing an interviewer isn't as hard as you might think. How can you make a positive impression? Turn the table on the interviewer and ask interested, sincere questions. This is where your research into the company can make a difference. The more you know about the company, the better questions you can ask. Click here for a list of sample questions.
- What qualifications do you consider most important for this job?
- What would a typical first assignment be like?
- How long has my predecessor held this position?
- What type of training will I receive? Could you tell me more about the duties of this position?
- Why did the person who last held this job leave?
Know What the Boss Wants
Potential employers are usually listening for answers to three ultimate - usually unasked - questions:
- Can you do the job?
- How can you contribute to the company's overall success?
- How can you make life easier for your boss?
If he or she thinks you offer the best solution to these three questions, the job is yours. However, remember to sell your positives - link your past experience to the needs of your potential employer.
Be On Your Guard: Questions You Don't Have To Answer
Federal laws minimizing employment discrimination practices have mandated that there are several questions that are off limits for discussion during job interviews. The best way to handle these questions is to ask how they relate to the specific position you are interviewing for. Questions to be on your guard for are anything related to:
- race, religion, politics and marital status
- age, unless it is related to the job
- non-work-related disability
- any arrest record
- your children or plans for children
- details of military discharge
Take Care of the Details
Once you get an interview, there are several steps you must take before meeting the person who may be your next boss. Like it or not, employers make judgments based on appearance.
- Dress conservatively, but try to dress one step above what you think employees wear to work everyday. Go easy on the cologne and jewelry. Be noticed for your businesslike appearance.
- Grooming and hygiene are required. Take a bath or shower. Brush your teeth. Polish your shoes. If you wear glasses, make sure they are clean. Even the nicest clothes won't hide poor habits.
- Present yourself with confidence, but don't be boastful. Try to relax, but don't be casual. Be natural and positive. Use proper grammar. Organize your thoughts before you speak and address questions directly.
- Be honest, sincere and courteous. Remember, no matter how much you want or need a job, be honest about what you can do. If you think finding a job is tough now, try doing it with a reputation for dishonesty.
It's OK to Discuss Salary
There is an art to discussing salary. You should have an idea of what you need to meet your monthly expenses. Try to avoid being cornered into stating your minimum salary requirement. If you are pressured to do so, ask some questions first:
- Will there be any travel or relocation expense?
- Will there be any special purchases?
- Do you have to pay for parking out of your own pocket?
It's best to steer clear of questions about vacation or other benefits during the first interview unless the employer brings it up.
Organize Your Thoughts:
The Interview Checklist
Think of a job interview as having four distinct parts:
Part One: The Introduction
- A warm greeting
- Establishing rapport
- Maintaining eye contact
- Trying to relax
Part Two: The Background
- Past work experience
Part Three: The Goals & Objectives
- How you can help the employer (this is the heart of the interview)
- Listening carefully to what is being asked
- Thinking carefully about your answers
- Answering the questions honestly
- Not rambling or repeating yourself.
Part Four: The Closing
- What the next step is
- If they will call you or if you should call them
- If they need additional information