A Guide to Effective Interviewing

Interviews are important for making the right impression. Up until then, staffing agencies and hiring managers only know you from your resume and any social profiles or portfolios you’ve included in your application. To make the right impression, you may need to spend time preparing yourself.

You should assume all the candidates being interviewed are qualified for the job. Now they are looking for the ‘right fit’; for the applicant who stands out as having the most to contribute.

Before anything else, research the company. Try to find out as much as you can about their mission, culture, products and structure. They may ask what you know about their business. It looks good if you have something to say. Know why you want to work for them. What is it about their business that you find exciting? Prepare your answer.

Know what you have to offer the job and the business as a whole. Relate past work experience to the new job. You may be asked about personal strengths and weaknesses. Make sure your weaknesses can also be seen as strength. i.e. “I sometimes get told I am a little impatient because I like to get things done.”

Prepare relevant documentation including: resume, school records, social security card, work records, licenses, names of professional and personal references (Get their approval before you submit details). If you have a portfolio of work, take that with you. One easy mistake to avoid is to make sure you know where you are going. Write down directions and contact names and be sure to take them with you. Based on the industry, position, and time of year, plan what you will wear.

Interview Questions

Here are some standard questions that you should prepare answers before any interview. This is a chance to show any research you have done and stand out from the other applicants.

1. What do you know about our company?
2. Tell me about yourself.
3. Why do you want to work for our company?
4. What was your favorite/least favorite part of your last job?
5. Where do you see yourself in 3 years time?
6. What is your greatest strength/weakness?

Questions To Ask Your Interviewer

The questions you ask show the interviewer how interested you are in the position and how well you might have listened to them.

Some ideas might be:

What do you consider the 3 most important day to day responsibilities for this job?
What does the department hope to achieve in the next 3 years?
What is the timetable for filling this position?

Interview Tips

  • Allow plenty of time to get there. Arrive 15 minutes early so you can use the bathroom and catch your breath.
  • Don’t take anyone with you to the interview.
  • Be yourself. When you walk in the room or are greeted, shake hands, smile and look your interviewer in the eye.
  • Answer questions clearly. When asked about former employment ALWAYS be positive. Never criticize former colleagues or places of employment. It reflects badly on you. Talk about what you enjoyed and learned.

If the employer doesn’t offer you the job there and then, ask what the next steps are and when you might hear. If they ask you to contact them, be sure to take down the details of who to call, when and at what number. If the salary is not advertised, you can ask this question at the end of the interview. Don’t try to negotiate until you have been successful at interview.

Ask for the job. If you want it say so! Looking indifferent never won anyone a job.