Tips For The Job Interview

Author: Mel Otero

As part of  the process of writing your resume, you thoroughly researched the company and the job description.  Review your notes on this research and you will have some basic company information freshly planted in your memory bank.  Be familiar with the company services, products and needs.  Be prepared to tell the interviewer how you can successfully meet those needs.  In general, during the interview:

Keep your answers brief
Be sure your responses are honest
Never bad mouth a former boss (you may be talking to a sister, uncle)

As part of preparation, it will be helpful to get a good book with typical, and not so typical, interview questions.  This is an excellent investment in your job search.  Write down your responses to a mix of these questions and then rehearse with someone you trust.  First, role play as the applicant and repeat the process as the interviewer.  Time your answers to be sure each answer is about two to three minutes long.  You should also be prepared to ask questions when the interviewer gives you that opening.  Again, if you have prepared and rehearsed, you can quickly and confidently pose good questions.

Depending on the interviewer, you may only be asked very straightforward questions but without preparation and rehearsal, even direct questions can be daunting.  A few of the most common questions and example answers:

1)  Tell me about yourself. 
Provide a concise answer that targets the job position.  This is not the time to provide your personal autobiography.  This is your opportunity to briefly cite some experience, skills and/or education relevant to the open position.

Example answer:  My past experience (or education) in_________has prepared me for your position.

2)  What are your weaknesses?
One of the best ways to respond is to describe a former area of weakness and explain how you have made improvement.

Example answer:  There was a time when I had a problem delegating some of the work load to others.  I now understand that it is more effective to use the strengths of everyone on the team.  The results are faster and it builds team spirit.

3)  Why should I hire you?
This is your time to sell yourself.  Speak with confidence, make eye contact and point out your very best assets.

Example answer:  I’m sure there may be other applicants that have the ability to do the job.  But, along with ability, I am motivated to provide excellence.  In every position I’ve held, my personal drive for excellence has resulted in achievement.  I have the qualities you are looking for in an employee.

Each question should be viewed as an opportunity to sell your product – you.  Remember that when you discuss your accomplishments, you are providing facts.  Short honest answers are important.

Most interviewers will give you the opportunity to ask questions.  Be prepared with a few intelligent questions.

It is unwise to simply say you have no questions.  Here are a few ideas:

1)  What will be my biggest challenge if I’m hired?
2)  What do you expect me to accomplish if I’m hired?
3)  What advancement opportunities can I expect?
4)  When can I expect to hear back with your decision?

Get a good book and you’ll find other great questions to ask the interviewer.

There may be things you want to know, but the interview may not be the appropriate time to ask.  The following questions may give you a laugh, but keep in mind that these are VERY BAD questions.

Some examples of VERY BAD questions:

1)  What are your psychiatric benefits?
2)  Would anyone notice if I came in late and left early?
3)  What is the zodiac sign of my immediate supervisor?
4)  How am I doing?
5)  Are you going to hire me?

Believe it or not, these questions and others equally bad or worse have actually been asked in interviews.

Intelligent questions will keep the spotlight shining on you and, hopefully, help you “seal the deal”.  Bad questions in an interview will guarantee your spot in the unemployment line.  Again, preparation and rehearsal are big keys to success.

After the interview, be sure you send a brief thank you note.

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About the Author

Mel Otero, author, worked in management in the mortgage banking industry and title insurance industry for over 25 years. She has been mystery shopping part time for over five years. She has started web sites and written articles to provide information, resources and inspiration during this difficult economy. She loves to write, learn, and share information.