- Interview Preparation
Always remember, preparation always pays off. Both the face-to-face and phone interviews are equally important and deal-killer at the same time. There is a general misconception that phone interviews are less formal than face-to-face interviews, but in fact that is what lands you an opportunity for a face to face meeting.
The critical aspect of any phone interview is your phone etiquettes and your verbal skills. Before you walk into any interview, you can guess in advance what certain questions will be, and you can have on-target and well rehearsed answers for the same. You should be a good listener; the rule of the thumb for this is an 80/20 balance. You should never give an impression to the interviewer that you are trying to interrupt, or showing some sort of attitude.
Interviewers, generally feel very uncomfortable if the applicant starts talking about the salary, perks, office hours etc. After either interview (phone or the face-to-face) one should always make it a point to send a thank you note to the interviewer within 24 hours of the interview which leaves a mark about your professionalism and always follow-up at regular intervals. The basic idea is to go an extra mile in order to get the things done in the right manner.
If possible, you should check out the company website and fill yourself in with the information on what they do and what space they belong to. Go and visit their press/news room section to grab more information.
Make sure that you ask the interviewer any additional information that you could not find online on their site.
- Topics to be discussed with the interviewer.
- That the opening in question, whether this is a new opening or a replacement one
- Why is this position open
- How long has it been vacant
- Scope of responsibilities for this position
- Training programs being offered to the person in this position, if any
- What are your expectations/goals for the person in this position
- Any specific current concerns and challenges that the person in this position will need to address
- Performance Review and When will my first review take place
- Growth opportunities in next one year or in the next five years
- Expected Company Growth during the next 12 months
- Important Interview Questions to Expect
Since it is very hard to predict the exact questions that an interviewer will ask, but your recruiter should be able to give you a good idea of the hiring authority's personality, his or her typical interview demeanor and a few important questions that the employer is likely to ask. To prepare, think about how you would answer the following questions:
"Tell me about yourself."
Keep your answer professional. Review your past positions, your education and any other strengths that pertain to the job.
"What do you know about our organization?"
If you've done your research correctly, you should have no problem answering this one. Be positive, never criticize.
"What is your greatest weakness?"
I would say my greatest weakness has been my lack of proper planning in the past. I would over commit myself with too many variant tasks, then not be able to fully accomplish each as I would like. However, since I've come to recognize that weakness, I've taken steps to correct it. For example, I now carry a planning calendar in my pocket so that I can plan all of my appointments and "to do" items.
"Why are you interested in this position?"
Relate how you feel your qualifications really match the requirements of the job. Also, express your desire to work for that company.
"What have been your most significant career accomplishments?"
Be certain that you are prepared to talk about the accomplishments as well as how you were able to achieve them. Make certain these accomplishments are relevant to the position for which you are interviewing.
"How has your education prepared you for your career?"
As you will note on my resume, I've taken not only the required core classes in my field, I've also gone above and beyond. I've taken every class the college has to offer in the field and also completed an independent study project specifically in this area. But it's not just taking the classes to gain academic knowledge--I've taken each class, both inside and outside of my major, with this profession in mind. In addition, I've always tried to keep a practical view of how the information would apply to my job. Not just theory, but how it would actually apply.
"Describe a situation in which your work was criticized."
Focus on how you solved the situation, and let the interviewer know how that situation has further developed your skill sets. By all means, make certain that you don't say "I've never been criticized." We are all imperfect!
"What did you like least about your last position?"
Be certain to remain positive - never criticize your current or former employer.
"Are you a team player?"
Very much so. In fact, I've had opportunities in both athletics and academics to develop my skills as a team player. I always try to help others achieve their best. In academics, I've worked on several team projects, serving as both a member and team leader. I've seen the value of working together as a team to achieve a greater goal than any one of us could have achieved individually.
"Why are you leaving (or considering leaving) your present company?"
Make sure that you respond to this question based on facts; a seasoned interviewer can figure out whether you are giving a right answer or just framing it up.
"What do you think of your boss?"
Once again, remain positive. Even if you and your boss had a strained relationship, it is still possible to find something positive.
"Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?"
Yes, I have had conflicts in the past. Never major ones, but certainly there have been situations where there was a disagreement that needed to be resolved. I've found that when conflict occurs, it's because of a failure to see both sides of the situation. Therefore, I ask the other person to give me their perspective and at the same time ask that they allow me to fully explain my perspective. At that point, I would work with the person to find out if a compromise could be reached. If not, I would submit to their decision because they are my superior. In the end, you have to be willing to submit yourself to the directives of your superior, whether you're in full agreement or not.
"Have you ever terminated an employee? What was the situation and how did you handle it?"
You can explain this based on your managerial experience by citing an example if you remember.
"How do you cope when under pressure?"
The answer to this question will be based on your personal experience in accordance to one's own stress handling capabilities.
"Why should we hire you?"
Because I sincerely believe that I'm the best person for the job. I realize that there are many other college students who have the ability to do this job. I also have that ability. But I also bring an additional quality that makes me the very best person for the job--my attitude for excellence. Not just giving lip service to excellence, but putting every part of myself into achieving it.
"What salary range do you desire?"
This is one of the most dreaded questions by an interviewee. Do not sell yourself short - if you were making say X amount in your last position and the position you are interviewing for has the same basic responsibilities/requirements, then by all means you should seek a salary that is equal to if not more.
"What other companies are you considering?"
Don't disclose this if you are not comfortable disclosing this information. But be polite in your response.
"What are your career goals and aspirations?"
This answer needs to be answered as per your ambition in life is and try to be realistic and you can mention hoe far you have already through this and how you want to achieve the rest. Mention what hurdles you faced, how you were able to carve out a way, how different people helped you during this journey etc.
"Where do you see yourself in one year?" or "Five years?"
Peoples says the question is designed to help the interviewer know if the job seeker will be happy in that position, or if he or she wants to work in it only as long as it takes to find something "better."
"What qualities do you feel a successful manager should have?"
The key quality should be leadership--the ability to be the visionary for the people who are working under them. The person who can set the course and direction for subordinates. A manager should also be a positive role model for others to follow. The highest calling of a true leader is inspiring others to reach the highest of their abilities. I'd like to tell you about a person who I consider to be a true leader
- Must Do's and Don'ts of Interviewing
Do arrive 15 minutes early.
Always remember you are what you wear. You should always be in a formal dress when out for an interview. You should make your first impression a professional one.
Be aware of what your body language is saying. Smile, make eye contact, don\'t slouch and maintain your composure. Turn off your cell phone!
Be focused and be a good Listener.
Always be focused and attentive during an interview. Concentrate on everything the interviewer says as well as the tone of his or her voice and body language.
Discuss your qualifications and accomplishments
Stress the accomplishments that are most pertinent to the job.
Get the interviewer to describe the position and responsibilities early in the conversation.
This is so you can relate your skills and your background to the position throughout the interview.
Be well prepared for difficult questions.
Prepare in advance so you can turn apparent weaknesses into strengths.
State clear answers to the questions asked from you. Try and make sure that you are answering what is exactly asked.
Taking notes is also considered a good habit as you can consult your notes about your conversation with the interviewer, but only when it is your turn to ask questions. You may ask questions and clear your doubts if any.
Lie or Use foul language that could be misinterpreted.
Smoke, chew gum or answer your cell phone
Be overly familiar.
Make negative remarks about your present or former employers.
- Closing the Interview
You may have fared very well in an interview but it is very hard to figure out if you will be getting an second call (or the final call in case you have advanced few levels already) or not. By closing strongly and asking the right questions, you can eliminate the post-interview doubts that tend to plague most interviewees.
Towards the end of your interview, if you personally liked the company environment, work culture and job related responsibilities etc. and feel that your interview went well with each and every person you talked to and you would like to take the next step; pl. go ahead and express your interest to the hiring authority so that they also get a feel of your state of mind. You can try something like this:
"I like the company very much; after hearing more about your company, the position and the responsibilities at hand, I am certain that I possess the qualities that you are looking for. Based on our conversation and my qualifications, are there any issues or concerns that you have that would lead you to believe otherwise?"
This is a great closing question because it opens the door for the hiring authority to be honest with you about his or her feelings. You have a right to be assertive. This may be the final opportunity to dispel any concerns (if any), you should sell your strengths and end the interview on a positive note.
You should express thanks for the interviewer\'s time and consideration. Ask for the interviewer's business card so you can write a thank-you letter as soon as possible.
- Follow Up
This is the most important aspect of any interview process. Immediately after the interview you should think of the qualifications the employer is seeking and match your strengths to them. Follow-up at this stage is critical. Finally, a formal thank-you letter should reach the interviewer no later than 24 hours after the interview has ended.