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Interview Tips

Corporate Search Associates

501 Executive Center Blvd., Suite 201, El Paso, TX 79902

Phone 915-534-2583   FAX 915-534-2585

Before the interview...

  1. You will feel more confident and poised by adequately preparing yourself.  A well-organized resume which you are thoroughly familiar with will help you feel more comfortable.  Good grooming and proper dress also contributes to a feeling of confidence and poise. Prepare yourself to fill out applications, do some test taking, and to talk about your accomplishments at each company you worked at. 

  2. Do Your Homework.  Learn as much as possible about the company which you are interviewing. Brush up on any skills and/or knowledge that you may need to demonstrate or discuss.

During the interview...

  1. Arrive on time.  Any excuse for lateness to an interview, even a valid one, starts you off on the wrong foot.

  2. Be energetic, full of life. In brief, be a person of interest.

  3. Be prepared to explain your qualifications—to discuss how you could be a valuable employee. Yet, never brag

  4. Sell yourself. Try to get every employer you interview with to offer you a job. Many excellent jobs may not at first appear to be so—never sell yourself or a job short—until you have the offer.

  5. Exhibit a willingness to work diligently and prove your worth to the company.  Avoid giving the impression of deserving a GUARANTEED FUTURE.

  6. Don’t give excuses for past failures.  Answer all questions honestly and show how you have actually benefited by some of your previous mistakes and  emphasize what you are doing presently to correct them. 

  7. Pay attention to the interviewer’s reactions to you.  Be aware of how you are being received and adjust your pace and temperament to that of the interviewer.

  8. Don’t try to "forecast" your interviews. Be natural; don’t present a pre-rehearsed appearance.

  9. Express yourself clearly, in voice, diction, and grammar.  Listen to the question asked.  Do not tell an interviewer you cannot do something that is not asked.

  10. Discussing Salary or Benefits 
    *  Let the company representative mention salary and benefits first. 
    *  Try not to commit yourself to a definite salary.  Instead, tactfully defer the matter.  Ask about the duties and responsibilities entailed in the position you are applying for.  You may name a salary that is too low, in which case you’re actually underselling yourself and your true worth.  On the other hand, if the salary you name is too high, you may price yourself out of the picture.
    *  It is more expedient to mention the final salary of your last job or your highest salary and use that as a reference for the job under consideration.

  11. Be as courteous and as polished as you know how in personal manners.  Your general attitude and behavior are indicative of your personality and character.  Good personal attributes are in many ways as important as technical proficiency.  Some say they are even more so. 

  12. Look the interviewer in the eye.  Make the interviewer the center of your interest and attention.

  13. Don't discuss uncomfortable topics.  Don't badmouth companies or people.  If an experience was bad put a positive spin on the situation.  On the same token, don't bring up topics that may be embarrassing for the company such as past lawsuits, etc.

  14. Interviewers watch for symptoms of instability in the applicant’s job history.   If you have had a succession of short-duration jobs, it would seem to indicate that you do not know what type of work you want to do, that you lack persistence, or worse still, that you might have been dismissed from the multiple jobs you have held.  If, by chance or choice, you have had a number of short-duration jobs, don’t elaborate on this phase of your work experience record and erroneously identify yourself as a chronic job-hopper.

  15. It is one of the interviewer’s responsibilities to the employer to screen-out the cynical applicant.  A cynic can easily become a malcontent, and that is one step away from a troublemaker.  Obviously such a person is no asset to any company.  Take the chip off your shoulder when you go for a job interview.

  16. There are times on the job when you may be subject to criticism (sometimes even unjustly) by your superiors or co-workers.  The ability to take criticism and benefit by it, is a desirable attribute.  To test that ability an interviewer may try to throw you off guard by some remark deliberately intended to rub you the wrong way.   This tactic usually comes near the end of an interview when you become comfortable and least expect it.  Don’t let a discussion turn into an argument, even if you are right.

Questions to consider...

What are your future career plans?
Try to show how the job you are presently applying for fits in with your long-range career goal.  Also discuss plans you have or are willing to make in preparation for professional advancement in your field.  Allude to courses you are now taking or hope to take.  You’re professional affiliations and in-service training for which you hope to qualify.  Don't tell perspective employers that you want your own business.

How do you spend your spare time?
How a person spends his/her spare time can serve as a clue to his/her character and personality.  Your interviewer would want to know something about the kinds of books you enjoy reading, sports, and hobbies you are interested in, or your professional and civic affiliations.  If possible, link your spare-time activities and cultural pursuits with the job you are being interviewed for.

PRACTICE QUESTIONS

  1. Tell me something about yourself.

  2. At school, what courses did you like best; which ones did you like least?

  3. What one person had the greatest influence on your life, and why?

  4. How did you finance yourself through school?

  5. How did you rate scholastically in your senior year?

  6. Where do you hope to be five years from now—and ten years from now?     

  7. What is your ultimate professional goal?

  8. How do you feel about your family—and about marriage?

  9. How many dependents do you have?

  10. What, in your estimation, is the key to professional   success?

  11. What is your concept of the ideal boss?

  12. Do you have friends or relatives working for our company?

  13. Are you free to travel?  Would you be willing to relocate?

  14. What books or magazines do you read?

  15. Have you ever been fired from a job? If so, why?

  16. Do you have any outstanding debts?

  17. Do you think that this is the field of work you want to stay in?

  18. How is your memory for names and faces?

  19. Do you belong to any professional organizations?

  20. Are other members of your family in the same line of work?

  21. Who are our competitors in the field?

  22. Have you ever been in business for yourself?

  23. Have you ever-supervised people before?  If so,  how many?

  24. Do you aspire to start your own business some day?

  25. What, in your opinion, is the value of a college education?

  26. What foreign languages do you speak?

  27. How would you react to working under the directions of a younger person?

  28. What do you hope to do when you retire?

  29. How do you spend your vacations?

  30. What sports do you excel in?

  31. What, in your estimation, is the most outstanding achievement in your life?

Supplement this list with question of your own, the kind YOU would ask the job applicant if you were the interviewer.

QUESTIONS YOU MAY ASK THE INTERVIEWER

  1. Working day – Ask the company representative what an average workday is like in the position of which you are interviewing.

  2. Training programs – Ask if the training program is formal or on the job.

  3. Flexibility – Does the company have vertical and horizontal growth?

  4. Future – What is the expected growth of the company and how will you fit into their future plans for the company?  What is the policy of the company in regard to promotion from within the ranks?

Ending an interview...
Your final words in an interview will leave the most lasting impression in the interviewer’s memory. However you choose to make your departure, remember to do so on a positive note.

  1. Sense when the interview is over.  You’ll get the cue when the interviewer rises as if ready to escort you to the door, or starts thanking you for "coming in" or begins to shuffle through some papers as if ready to resume some prior, unfinished business.  Don’t overstay your welcome.  Leave while you’re ahead!

  2. Leave a copy of your resume with the interviewer, even if you are not specifically requested to do so.

  3. Thank the interviewer in person as well as with a follow-up note.   It is advisable to forward a brief, but well worded thank-you note for the courtesy extended to you during the interview.  It also affords you the opportunity to allude to some favorable aspect of your discussion and helps to reinforce the good impression you have made.

  4. If appropriate, ask for the job, give three reasons why you want a position.  If it does not seem appropriate, ask for the next meeting.

Final Words of Wisdom
Listed below are some actual situations that have eliminated one of our candidates out of contention for a position.  It is NOT a good idea to...

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Dress and act too relaxed during the interview, or "buddy up" too much.

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Drift off topic, wind up talking about buffalo hunting when the question for the interviewer was about SPC implementation. 

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Over do expenses for an out of town interview.  One candidate actually took his wife along without notice and charged all of her expenses to the interviewing company.

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Tell any untruths about your education, specific ability, past or current salary, lengths of employment, job titles, and linguistic abilities.

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Make an unreasonable salary request. A candidate making 45k should not be asking for 70k. Always let the company come up with a number based on your current or past salary.

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Not notify CSA or the interviewing companies that you are delayed or can’t make the interview.  Not make the second try for any reason.

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Be too passive during the interview.... Not asking any questions.

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Be too aggressive during the interview.... Not giving the interviewer a chance to ask his/her question.

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Moan, groan, or whine about current or past employers. Never say anything bad about current or past companies or individuals.

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Talk about benefits or salary during first interview.

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Emphasize your strengths in the wrong area.  If you’ve had experience in both Quality and Production and are interviewing for a Production job, be careful how much time you spend talking about Quality.  You may find that your time is up and all that you’ve talked about is Quality.

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Not adjust to different personalities during a multi-person interview process.  One person may have a sense of humor the next may not.