INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES AND TIPS

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1 INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES AND TIPS PRE-INTERVIEW Research! Research! Research! Gather information about the organization. Confirm the time, date, and location of the interview. Know the name(s) of the interviewer(s). Preparation Prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions. Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer(s). Decide the night before the interview what to wear. Always dress professionally. Be well groomed and well rested. Wear deodorant, little or no perfume/cologne, have fresh breath, neat hair, and don t smoke or chew gum! Bring additional copies of your resume, a list of three references, and letters of recommendation if applicable. Bring paper and a pen, for notes. Arrive early. Try to relax. INTERVIEW Greet the interviewer with a smile and a handshake. Sit where indicated. Maintain positive body language. Don t slouch and maintain eye contact. Be yourself. Don t use vocabulary that you don t understand or pretend to be someone you re not. Stay on the topic and address the question that is being asked. If you don t understand the question, ask for clarification. Think before you speak. Answer each question clearly and use specific examples rather than general statements. Provide information about education, skills and work experience. Ask questions from your prepared list that may not have already been answered during the interview. Confirm, if already noted, their response date. Shake hands if appropriate and express your thanks for the interview. POST-INTERVIEW Immediately following the interview write down your thoughts, what types of questions were asked and how you responded. Keep these notes as a guide for future interviews. Send a brief follow-up/thank you letter a day after the interview. Make a follow-up call once the letter has been received.

2 TELEPHONE INTERVIEW TIPS 1. Remember, telephone interviews can happen at anytime and may not be scheduled calls. 2. Always make sure you conduct a telephone interview in a suitable environment. 3. The telephone interview is sometimes used as a pre-screening tool to ensure that you are serious about the position. 4. Listen carefully to the questions and ask the interviewer to repeat anything you don t understand. 5. Your voice is the most important tool as the interviewer is unable to judge your body language in making a decision to hire you. 6. Use a clear voice and be enthusiastic. 7. Be comfortable with using the telephone for interview purposes. 8. Avoid using the hands free or speaker option. VIDEO INTERVIEW TIPS 1. Treat this type of interview as you would a traditional face-to-face interview. 2. Dress professionally. Don t wear white, striped, or plaid clothing; instead wear color which will show up better on the screen. Don t wear large or reflective jewelry. 3. Stay stationary in front of the camera and avoid chairs that rock or spin. 4. Address you answers to the camera (interviewer), not the display screen. 5. Listen carefully to the questions and instructions asking the interviewer to repeat anything you don t understand. FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEWS 1. ONE-TO-ONE: As the name suggests, this meeting is between the candidate and the one interviewer. Try to develop a rapport between yourself and the interviewer. 2. SEQUENTIAL INTERVIEWS: In this case you have several interviews with different interviewers. Usually each interviewer asks different questions to test different competencies. However, you may find yourself answering the same questions over and over. If this does happen, answer each one as fully as the time before. 3. PANEL INTERVIEWS: In this type of interview you are questioned by several people sitting on a panel. The actual number of interviewers may vary, but there is usually a chairperson who coordinates the questions, a specialist who knows about the technical aspects of the job, and a human resources person.

3 TYPES OF INTERVIEWS The type of interview depends on who conducts it. For example, a person from the Human Resources department may ask different questions than the Chief Engineer. Since there are many different types of interviews, it helps to know in advance what type of interview you should expect. Screening Interview Companies use screening tools to ensure that candidates meet minimum qualification requirements. Computer programs are among tools used to screen out applicants. Sometimes human resource professionals are screening interviewers. They often have honed skills to determine whether there is anything that might disqualify you for the position. Here are some tips for maintaining confidence during the screening interview. Highlight your accomplishments and qualifications Be straightforward. Answer questions directly and succinctly. Be tactful about addressing income requirements and avoid giving specifics by replying, I am willing to consider your best offer. Informational Interview The informational interview is a meeting that you initiate and is one of the most underutilized but highly effective networking techniques. Job seekers secure a meeting in order to seek the advice of someone who is currently working in the field. As well, it is beneficial to ask for a referral to others who may lend insight. Employers like to stay apprised of the available talent pool even if they do not have current openings to fill. Employers are often flattered by your interest and like to share their knowledge with you. During an informational interview the employer and job seeker exchange information and get to know each other better without reference to a specific job opening. This takes the pressure off both parties. Once the informational interview is arranged, arrive prepared with thoughtful questions about the company and the field. Gain references to other professionals who you may contact and ask for permission to use the employer s name. Give the interviewer your card, contact information and resume. Write a thank-you letter to the interviewer.

4 The Directive Style Interview In this style of interview, the interviewer has a clear agenda that he or she will follow. This rigid format ensures parity between interviews, when each candidate is asked the same series of questions. Directive interviewers may rely upon their own questions and methods to discover what they wish to know about you. You may feel limited in what you want to say. Follow the interviewers lead. Be flexible with the interviewer. Do not lose control of the interview. If the interviewer does not ask you for information that you feel is important, politely interject to prove your superiority as a candidate. The Meandering Style Inexperienced interviewers often use this style of interview. The interviewer is relying on you to lead the discussion. The interviewer may ask broad, open-ended questions. This style allows you to guide the discussion in a way that best highlights your skills and abilities. Come to the interview prepared with highlights of your skills and qualifications. Use examples of your experiences. Remain respectful of the interviewers role, even if you feel as if you are in the drivers seat. Ask well placed questions. Don t risk missing important information about the company or their needs. The Stress Interview Aren t all interviews stressful? Well yes but this style of interview will take stress to a new level. You may face cold interviewers who seem to take extended pauses between questions. You may be asked to perform a task to prove your competencies. These types of tactics are designed so that the interviewer can determine if you have the ability to withstand stress. Remember, this is part of the process. It is not personal. Prepare and know your main message before walking through the door to begin the interview. If you are well prepared you are less likely to crush under pressure. Remain calm and tactful. Never admit out loud that you are nervous or stressed.

5 Behavioural Interviews Many companies conduct behavioural interviews where your previous behaviour is used as an indicator of your future performance. In these types of interviews, employers use standardized methods to gain information relevant to your competency in a particular area or position. You may be asked to describe a time that required problem solving skills, adaptability, leadership, conflict resolution, multi-tasking, initiative or stress management. You will be asked how you dealt with the situation. Anticipate the transferable skills you have that will be required for the job. Review your resume. Any skills you have listed may evoke questions from the employer. Reflect on your own personal, volunteer and educational experience. Develop answers that highlight stories that describe situations where you utilized competencies required for the position. The Tag Team Interview Expecting to meet with Mr. Fowler, you may find yourself in a room with two more interviewers. Companies often want to gain the insights of various people when interviewing candidates. This style is very attractive to companies who hire Marine Institute students and graduates. Usually the panel will include a human resources professional, a technical person, and a supervisor/manager. In some cases you will not face a panel at once but will proceed through a series of on-on-one interviews. Treat each interviewer equally. Make eye contact with each person. At the beginning of the interview, during the introductions, jot each person s name on a piece of paper for reference during the interview. Each interviewer has a different role in the company and a unique perspective. Be ready to illustrate your main message in a variety of ways to ensure each person understands your message clearly. Be alert. Stay focused and adjustable. The Mealtime Interview Interviewing over a meal may sound like a catastrophe, however, when your job requires interpersonal activity, companies want to know what you are like in a social setting. Companies what to know if you are relaxed and charming or awkward and evasive. Remember to answer your questions as you would in a boardroom but keep in mind these simple tips: Treat your host, other guests and the serving staff well. Take cues from your host remembering that you are the guest. Do not sit until your host does. Order something less extravagant that your host. If he asks you to try a particular dish oblige him. If he recommends an appetizer order one. Do not begin eating until he does. If he orders desert, order one as well. Choose Manageable foods. Practice eating and discussing something simultaneously. Avoid alcohol. Thank the interviewer for the meal. If you are unsure about table settings and what to do, check with the Placement Office in advance and we are happy to provide tips on table etiquette.

6 INTERVIEW DO S AND DON TS Do research the company. Do prepare questions to ask. Do practice your answers. Do bring a pen and paper. Do take good notes. Do bring extra resumes and references. Do be on time. Do dress appropriately. Do maintain eye contact. Do wait to be seated. Do be positive. Do be honest. Do show you are a team player. Do use time wisely. Do send a follow-up letter. Do follow-up by telephone. Do ask about the next step. Don t neglect appearance. Don t give up limp handshakes. Don t neglect posture. Don t lack energy. Don t be rude. Don t be too familiar. Don t give vague answers. Don t emphasize money. Don t be indecisive. Don t be unprepared. Don t criticize anyone. Don t name drop. Don t make excuses. Don t be too aggressive. Don t talk too much.

7 12 Most Commonly Asked Interview Questions 1. Tell me about yourself. 2. What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses? 3. Why did you leave your last job? 4. Why do you want to work with us? 5. How did you like you last job? 6. What kind of salary are you looking for? 7. What do you know about our company? 8. Why should we hire you? 9. What did you think of your last boss? 10. Where do you see yourself in five years? 11. Do you like to work overtime? 12. You seem overqualified/under-qualified.

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