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Interview Tips

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For the applicant: A basic set of steps and important "rules" of interviewing for entry level positions and beyond.

For the applicant: A basic set of steps and important "rules" of interviewing for entry level positions and beyond.

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  • 1. Kym Hess Human Resource Consultant HRMAMM February 4, 2010
  • 2.
    • FIRST IMPRESSIONS . . . LAST
    • 93% of lasting impressions come in the first 4 minutes of meeting someone
    •   Communication is 55% appearance, 38% tone of voice, and only 7% verbal.
    • 11 Assumptions are made in the first 30 seconds after meeting someone:
    •  
        • Trustworthiness
        • Economic level
        • Education level
        • Social position
        • Level of sophistication
        • Economic heritage
        • Education heritage
        • Success
        • Moral character
        • Future potential
  • 3.
    • Be prepared to interview “on the spot”
    • Dress appropriately
    • Remove body jewelry
    • Seek perfect hygiene and grooming
    • Be sure to bring with you :
    • 2 pens
    • Resume
    • Names & phone numbers of past supervisors
    • LOBBY ETIQUETTE :
    • Don’t smoke or chew gum
    • Turn OFF cell phone
    • Arrive alone —YOU are the one applying
    • Be courteous to all employees
    • Request the name and job title of who will conduct the interview
  • 4.
    • Read and follow all directions carefully and completely
    • Be positive, but be honest
    • Print clearly, spell correctly
    • Indicate the specific position for which you are applying
    • Answer all questions. If something does not apply to you, write “N/A”
    • Be sure to read the Acknowledgment/Agreement section completely
    • Sign and date the application
  • 5.
    • Business or Business Casual
    • Dress with success in mind!
    NOT!!
  • 6.
    • Know your strengths/skills and several EXAMPLES of when you’ve used each one successfully.
    •  
    • Practice talking about those strengths/skills and the examples.
    • Know what days and hours you are available to work.
    • Know your transportation plan, and have 2 backup plans.
    • Obtain the job duties & qualifications (from a written job description, help wanted ad, on the internet, ask the person who scheduled the interview, ask someone who works there, or use the Dictionary of Occupational Titles).
    • Know what the company does, do they have multiple locations, what would you have to wear if you got the job, what are the typical hours and duties, and what is the usual pay range? (If you are not available or not
  • 7.
    • Be as flexible as possible when scheduling an interview time.
    •  
    • Ask the interview scheduler what was in your resume or application that caught his/her attention.
    • Ask who will be conducting the interview, how long you should expect the interview to last, and how he/she will expect you to dress.
    • Ask whether their interview process usually involves more than one interview or additional steps beyond the first interview. (Do they perform background checks, drug tests, will you need to take any tests?)
    • Get a good night’s sleep so you will be mentally alert.
    • Arrive about 10 minutes early. Do not bring anyone with you.
    • Be sure to treat every person you meet politely.
  • 8.
    • Know that nervousness is normal.
    • Be confident, use eye contact, SMILE! Express enthusiasm!
    • Don’t fuss and fidget. Be calm. Don’t slouch.
    • Be honest.
    • Speak clearly. (Do not chew gum or smoke.)
    • Think before you answer a question. Answer sincerely. If you don’t know, say so.
    • If you don’t understand a question, ask the interviewer to rephrase it.
    • Remember that every question is an opportunity to sell yourself. Tell brief stories which demonstrate your success.
    • Do your best; don’t try to over do it.
  • 9.
    • Don’t mention personal problems, health issues, etc. Stick to your qualifications for the position.
    • At the end of the interview, summarize your strengths.
    • When given the opportunity, ask at least one question about the position (but not about pay, benefits, vacation, etc.).
    • Ask what is the next step in the interview process.
    • Say “Thank you” with a firm handshake.
    • Follow up by mailing a Thank You Letter the very same day.
    •  
  • 10.
    • PREPARE BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
    • 1. Know your strengths/skills and several EXAMPLES of when you’ve used each
    • one successfully.
    • 2. Know what the company does, do they have multiple locations, what would you have
    • to wear if you got the job, what are the typical hours and duties, and what is the usual pay range?
    • 3. Get a good night’s sleep, so you will be mentally alert.
    • 4. Arrive about 10 minutes early. Do not bring anyone with you.
    •  
  • 11.
    • 1. Introduce yourself.
    • 2. State who you are scheduled to meet.
    • 3. Maintain eye contact and smile.
  • 12.
    • 1. Shake hands firmly.
    • 2. Remain standing until offered a seat. Don’t assume which seat is for you.
    • 3. Sit up straight in chair. Sit still.
    • 4. Maintain good eye contact. SMILE! Express enthusiasm!
    • 5. Use appropriate hand gestures, if any.
  • 13.
    • 1. Be honest.
    • 2. If you don’t understand a question, ask the interviewer to rephrase it.
    • 3. Answer questions in complete sentences. Use proper grammar.
    • 4. Keep answers professional and focused on your skills. Don’t mention personal issues,
    • family, medical concerns, etc.
    • 5. Use appropriate tone of voice. Speak clearly.
    • 6. Give examples, where the interviewer can PICTURE you being successful doing what
    • you are describing.
    • 7. Remember that every question is an opportunity to sell yourself. Tell brief stories which demonstrate your success.
  • 14.
    • 1. Ask questions that were not already covered in the interview.
    • 2. Ask appropriate questions. Don’t ask about money, benefits, or time off.
    • 3. Show you are listening to the interviewer.
    • 4. Ask open-ended questions (NOT “yes”/”no” questions).
    • See Samples
  • 15.
    • 1. Restate your strengths.
    • 2. Thank the interviewer, using the interviewer’s name.
    • 3. Shake hands firmly.
    • 4. State that you would like the job.
    • 5. Ask when you will hear from the interviewer.
  • 16.
    • PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES : are usually people you have “worked” for (supervisors, teachers, coaches, co-workers, the adults whose children you babysat, etc.). Employers will be asking your Professional References about your work habits, teamwork, attendance, ethics, attitude, etc.
    • PERSONAL REFERENCES : are usually people you have known for at least one year, but have not necessarily “worked” for them (next door neighbor, clergy, etc.). Employers will ask your Personal References about your character, honesty, dependability, etc.
  • 17.
    • Ask at least 3 adults (who are NOT related to you) if they would consider being a Professional Reference for you.
    • Ask at least 3 adults (who are NOT related to you) if they would consider being a Personal Reference for you.
    • For those who agree, write down their correctly spelled name, title, address, phone number, and email address.
    • Ask if they would like to write a letter about you that you could give to employers.
    • Thank each of your references, either in a letter or in person. Provide each of them with a copy of your resume.
    • Type up a “Reference List” with all the names, addresses, etc. of your references. 4-8 adults is plenty, but try to have both “Personal” and “Professional” References on your list
  • 18.
    • Send a thank you letter immediately after interviewing.
    • See sample letter
    • Follow-up with a phone call approx. 1 week, if appropriate, after the interview if you haven’t heard from the company.
    • Use professionalism. Don’t be a pest.
  • 19. Contact: Kym Hess [email_address]