Tips For A Successful Interview

An interview is the best opportunity you will have to gather information and sell yourself to a prospective employer. Investing a few minutes to read this will help you prepare for this critical step.

Purpose of the Interview

An interview is a two way conversation, during which both you and the interviewer have several objectives to accomplish.

Your Objectives
Frequently, you will go through more than one interview with a company before you are offered a position. Your primary goal during an interview is to get a job offer, or at least an additional interview. Do not reject a position before you get an offer!

The Interviewer’s Objectives
While a certain amount of information about an individual is gained through a resume, employment application, or testing, many questions remain unanswered. Interviewers want to know how you will fit in the organization’s environment, what your work style is like, what motivates you, and if your experience and training are relevant to the specific position. The more you know about an organization before you arrive at the interview, the better you will be able to respond to the interviewer’s concerns.


Clarify you professional short and long term goals. Be able to articulate them clearly. Professional goals do not always mean getting to the top of a corporation in a short time frame. They may include: attaining specific levels of achievement or production, creating a desirable work situation, or having a business of one’s own. Short and long term goals should be consistent.

Remember all the details and chronology of your work history. Interviewers will frequently use your resume to help them formulate questions. In addition to being familiar with the information on your resume, be ready to expand on any portion of it, and be able to relate it to the needs of the person interviewing you.

Learn as much as possible about an organization before you arrive at the interview. Good sources are the Internet, annual reports, industry catalogs, the chamber of commerce, and your Recruiter. Knowledge of the basic information impresses the interviewer with your interest, and enables you to ask more detailed questions about the company and position.

Be prepared for the standard questions. Keep your answers specific! Use examples to illustrate major points, and be positive.

Standard Questions

Why do you want to leave your current company
What are your long term and short term career goals?
Tell me about your work experience.
What do you look for in a job?
Why should we hire you?
What is your biggest strength?
What is your biggest weakness?
What has been your most important accomplishment?
What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
What salary are you looking for?
(The best answer to this question is not to, but tell the interviewer that you are looking for opportunity, first and foremost.
Share with them your current compensation and stress that you are opportunity and not salary driven.)


Initial Impressions

Your Appearance

Dress appropriately and professionally for the interview. Avoid loud colors, faddish styles, and anything that will be distracting. It is better to be too conservative in dress than not enough. (Suitable attire includes white shirts, dark suits, etc.) Check the details of your grooming including: neatly combed and trimmed hair, clean manicured fingernails, wrinkle-free clothing, and polished shoes.

Your Actions

Actions do speak louder than words. Be aware of yours.

Be five to ten minutes early for your appointment. Use extra time to compose yourself, and to read any available material on the organization. If you cannot make the interview on time, call before the scheduled appointment.
Be polite, alert, and relaxed. Indicate a genuine interest in the interviewer through eye contact, a firm handshake and by using his or her name throughout the interview. Do not forget to smile!
Sit up straight, avoid nervous habits, smoking, or chewing gum. Slouching, leaning on the interviewer’s desk, and moving about constantly are all irritants.
Enthusiasm is contagious, and one of the most frequently cited reasons for hire! Do not be afraid to express your genuine interest and excitement about the position, the company, and their goals.
Project self confidence by speaking positively about your abilities, experience, and willingness to acquire new skills.



Answer all questions in an articulate and organized manner. Speak slowly, and be sure you use emphasis and inflection where appropriate.
Listen carefully, and be as concise as possible in your answers. If you are not sure how much detail is wanted, ask. For example, if the interviewer says: “Tell me about the XYZ project,” you might ask: “Are you more interested in the technical aspects or the final results?”
Always speak positively about former employers and experiences. It is a fatal mistake to complain about a previous supervisor or situation during an interview. Look for the educational value in your negative experiences and speak from that viewpoint.
Relate your work experience directly to the needs of the organization. Examples of past accomplishments effectively demonstrate your abilities.
If you are asked questions about your personal life, use them as opportunities to emphasize how well you balance your personal and professional life. Always keep your answers job related.
Save your questions on benefits, vacation, sick leave, etc. for the discussion after you have received an offer. Initially, focus your questions on the company and the position. Asking appropriate thoughtful questions is an effective selling tool. Prepare a mental list before the interview.


Closing the Interview

When the interviewer ends your meeting, do not attempt to prolong it. Briefly express you strong interest in the company and the position, thank the interviewer for his or her time, and leave on a positive note. Be sure to ask what is the next step. Let them know you will make yourself available.


After the Interview

If you are working with a Recruiter, call him or her immediately. He or she will be getting feedback from both you and the company, and will want to discuss it with you.

Send a thank you note by the following day. Keep it brief and to the point. Thank the interviewer again for his or her time, restate your qualifications in terms of what you can do for the company, and express your interest in the position.



An interview is an important part of the hiring process. Remember:

Prepare for it like you would for any important meeting or presentation.
During the interview, present yourself and your qualifications confidently.
Listen carefully, and ask appropriate questions.
Close the interview on a positive note.
Send a thank you note by the following day.
Work closely with your Recruiter throughout the process.