If you are like most people, you don’t participate in interviews every day. This means that everyone’s interviewing skills tend to become rusty. Here are some things to review before your interview.

A proven fact is that the more you prepare, the stronger the possibility you will receive an offer. This guide has been designed to provide you with a simple step-by-step process when preparing for interviews. It is recommended that you begin your preparation as early as possible in your search.

The Interview

Your interview meetings are your opportunity to sell your product, and that product is you!

By Telephone

Pick a quiet room where you will not be interrupted during the telephone interview.
Have your notes and questions in front of you and use them as needed during the conversation. It is also a good idea to have a pen and paper to take notes.

Additional details on key “dos and don’ts” can be found the following section on a face-to-face interview.

Face-to-Face Interview

Take your 15 to 20 questions, several copies of your resume and references, and a notepad and pen to the interview. Samples of your work (such as Cad drawings for a Designer or Drafter) can come in handy to show them what you can do. Place these in a professional looking binder or notebook; avoid taking a briefcase since they tend to be awkward and cumbersome.

Turn off your cell phone and/or pager before entering the building; do not turn it back on until you have left the building.

If you smoke, keep in mind that some people are critical of this habit and may even be offended if they smell it on your clothes. Please refrain from smoking before and most importantly during the interview.

Arrive in the lobby of the company 10 to 15 minutes early. In addition to showing your punctuality, this will give you the opportunity to relax and read any literature or brochures they may have available.

You may be asked to complete an application in addition to providing copies of your resume (in some states this is required by law). Use blue or black ink only and be sure to neatly complete every question. In the section asking for work history, fill this out in detail (do not write “see resume”). If the form asks for the amount of compensation you require, it is strongly recommended to write “open.”

Do not chew gum during the interview.

First impressions are critical! Many experienced interviewers have shared that their decisions are often based upon the first minute of contact with the candidate. When you greet the interviewer, smile, shake their hand firmly, and be enthusiastic in your introduction.

Without taking control of the interview, try to get the interviewer to give specific details regarding the responsibilities of the position. Doing so will allow you to point out the parts of your background and experience that will contribute directly to the needs of the company.

Write down the names or get a business card from each person whom you meet during the interview.

Avoid making any negative comments about current or previous employers, managers, and co-workers. Positive comments on all subjects make a much stronger impression.

Pay careful attention to what the interviewer says and the questions that are asked.
Relate your answers directly to the job, unless specifically asked a personal question.

Always tell the truth! Keep your comments and answers to questions brief and to the point (but not so brief that all your responses are simply yes or no).

If the interview involves a meal, do not order alcoholic beverages. Select food that will allow you to maintain a professional appearance (in other works, stay away from messy foods like ribs or oversized sandwiches).

Be confident! Companies like to hire confident (not cocky) people. Try to show the interviewer why you would be an asset to their organization and how you would be able to contribute starting the first day.

If during the interview you become aware of any in areas in which you lack knowledge or expertise, give specific examples from your past of how you were able to learn new things quickly and easily.

At the close of the interview, always ask a question or make a statement that shows interest, such as “I am very interested in this opportunity” or “What is the next step in the interview process?” The ideal position to be in is to have them wanting you. Then the choice is yours!

Follow Up

Contact your Recruiter immediately after the interview. It is critical that they speak with you prior to contacting the client.