This is a good piece of advice to follow in life, but it also has a special place in an interview setting. You want to be viewed as someone who understands what is necessary and can deliver the expected results – more than just in the interview room – and making
assumptions will not guarantee you will be viewed like this.
The easiest and best way to avoid assumptions is to ask for clarification. If a question is asked that is ambiguous or you really aren’t sure what they mean, ask them to explain it to you. Sometimes, without meaning to, an interviewer will use company jargon or acronyms in a question or in conversation. You can respond by saying, “I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with that term, could you explain it to me please?” Not only will this show that you are paying attention but it will also demonstrate that you have an interest in the company and what they are about.
When you are answering a question and you need to include company specific terminology, be sure to explain what you mean. In addition, you cannot assume that your interviewer will know what you are talking about either. Take a moment to either set up
your answer with the required information to understand what you are talking about or pause and explain certain phrases or words. Better yet, if you can use common terms in the place of company specific ones, it is the preferable way to go.
Lastly, don’t assume that the job is in the bag. No matter how confident you are that you are the most qualified person for the position – it isn’t yours until you have received a job offer. Make the best impression you have and keep the mindset that you are still
competing for the job and sell yourself accordingly.
This may seem obvious, but it happens way too often. No matter the reason, there is no excuse for it (besides an injury or family emergency and then kudos for you for showing up). Getting lost, bad traffic, or losing track of time doesn’t matter to an interviewer.
They are taking time away from their primary duties to sit down with you to try and give you a job. It is rude and disrespectful to not show up on time.
Here are a few tips to ensure this doesn’t happen:
* Do a dry run. If you are going to a city or a part of the city you are not familiar with drive there a few days before. Ideally you will do it during a week day at a similar time to your interview time to gauge the amount of time it takes to get there.
* Leave early. Not just 15 minutes early, you can plan to arrive 30-60 minutes before your interview time. Don’t go into the building though. Get into the area, find a coffee shop and relax while reading the paper or reviewing your resume. Not only will this ensure that you are on time it also gives you time to relax and calm yourself before walking into the building.
* Pay for parking. Don’t circle the block 12 times looking for cheap parking on the street. Pay the money to park in a parking garage. You do not want to waste valuable time looking for parking and start to stress yourself at the same time.
If you are running late (but really, you shouldn’t be), make sure you call. The interviewer may not have time to complete the interview if you are running late and you will save both of you the time if you let them know. You can try and salvage the faux pas by trying to book another appointment right away. And if you are lucky enough to
get a second chance, follow the tips above to arrive not only on time, but early.
It may be the reason you are looking for another job in the first place – you and your
current boss do not work well together. And good for you for taking charge of the
situation to find something that is a better fit for you. But how do you approach this
situation so it will not hinder your chances at a new company? There are a few steps you
should take first and you need to mind what you say during the interview.
A lot of interviews will contain at least one question about your working relationship
with your current boss. They can take many forms and you should prepare for a lot of
different types of questions that may be asked. No matter what the question, even if it is
one asking you to describe conflict with your boss, be positive and do not bash anyone in
Remove any emotions from the equation and explain the situation using the facts and
highlight all of the professional steps you have taken to rectify the situation. Don’t try
and make your boss sound like the bad guy, and try to de-emphasize the entire event. It
may seem like an opportunity to vent about the situation but if you do, your are cutting
off an avenue to escape the working relationship you want to get away from. Present the
facts, be neutral and highlight your problem-solving skills.
If you are concerned that your current boss will sabotage your efforts to find another job
during the reference check stage you can solve this in a couple of ways. If your boss is
reasonable and the two of you just don’t work well together, chances are you don’t have
to worry too much. Be sure to give him or her a heads up though. If you aren’t
comfortable with this, try and find another manager that you have worked for in the
company previously that you can pass on as a reference.
It is completely natural to feel nervous before a job interview but you can minimize pre- interview jitters with some preparation. Hopefully you have completed initial research on the company you applied for before being called in for an interview but you are going
to need to do more. You will never know exactly what is going to be asked of you (unless you have an inside source), but you can be ready for the questions by knowing your stuff.
Look up the company website and study the history, about us page, and the products and services that are offered. Even if you are pretty sure you are not going to be quizzed on how the company came to be, it will give you insight into how the company operates and their philosophy. By of these factors should influence how you answer your questions. If it is obvious they place high value on team players, you should brainstorm situations when you have displayed this trait.
If you are applying for a sales position, you can be prepared for any role playing questions because you have taken the time to learn the company’s products and services. It will be impressive to your interviewer that you have taken the time to research the
information. It shows a commitment to details and a true interest in the company.
Another way to prepare for an interview is to complete a practice run with a friend or family member. Have them ask you questions and answer them as if you were already in the interview, don’t break character during the role play either. There are many questions
that are asked in a typical interview (what are your strengths and weaknesses) don’t let them come as a surprise to you – practice so you can answer with confidence.
Procedures are a part of life, especially in the working world. Each company has their own set of policies and rules that they expect their employees to follow. An interviewer is going to ask questions to determine if you would do things they way they want (for
instance making a sale or handling a customer complaint). Without training, you will not know with any degree of certainty how the company would want you to handle different situations but there are ways to answer that can increase your chances of getting the job.
What an interviewer is looking for in an answer is your philosophy towards circumstances that occur in the company. Your natural instincts and personality is going to come through at some point no matter what you have been trained to do. Questions like, “How would you satisfy a customer if they wanted to return something after the return policy has expired?” can be tricky to answer. The best way to answer them is to begin with saying, “Of course, if hired I would abide by the company’s guidelines – but in this circumstance I would…”
By starting your answer with this phrase you are showing that you recognize a company is going to have its own policies and ways of doing things and that you are flexible enough to modify your way of doing things to align with those processes. Even role playing scenarios for are a test to see if your way of thinking is in line with the company’s. This genre of question can backfire on you though if your answer is completely opposite what the company is looking for. If you have done your research on the company prior to the interview you should have a good idea of how they handle
customers and sales in general.
There are going to be a lot of periods during an interview when there are going to be pauses in conversation or flat out silence. This can be initiated by you or the interviewer and in most cases either is not an indicator that something is amiss.
You can ask for a moment to think of an answer and during this time there is most likely going to be complete silence. This is fine and perfectly normal, don’t get distracted because no one is talking, use the time you have asked for wisely and think of the best answer or example you can give.
If the interviewer is taking notes (and most likely they are), be comfortable with the fact that there is going to be pauses in between questions and they try and write everything down. This is actually a good thing because it means they have liked what you have to say and want to remember it when they are later making a decision on who to hire. Don’t feel the need to fill this space, let them continue writing and wait for the next question.
If you have answered a question and it is met by silence and the interviewer is not writing anything done, you may be at a loss as to what you should do. It could signal that the interview is expecting more information or they are not satisfied with the answer. You
won’t know unless you ask, “Do you want me to elaborate on that?” If the answer is no, just patiently wait for the next question to be asked.
Don’t worry that the interviewer is not praising you on your answer to each question and continue onto the next one. They do not want to give you an indication of how you are doing during the interview and are trained to be neutral when responding to answers, if they respond at all.
The interview is over and you can’t help but sigh with relief. You made it through and it wasn’t as bad as you thought it would (or maybe it was, but hey it was a good experience). Now, you might think you are in the clear and all you have to do is wait. While it is true that waiting is the next step, it is not that easy. Some even find it more difficult between the time the interview has been completed to the time they hear back from the company on whether or not they received the position.
Unless you discover that you have given the interviewer misinformation, don’t continue to go over your answers again and again. If you look for flaws you will find them. It is unnecessary torture. Keep yourself busy and if you are on a serious job hunt, continue with your search and put the interview on the back burner until you hear back. If you did provide wrong information that would be crucial to a decision you may want to consider following up to correct the wrong depending on what it was. If it was for a driving job and they asked if you have had any speeding tickets in the past three years and you said yes but later discovered it happened four years ago – definitely call. If on the other hand, you were quoting sales results and underestimated the number of sales you made; it
would probably be best left as it was.
Keep yourself busy as you wait for an answer from your interview. And if it happens that you didn’t get the job use it as a learning experience. If there were questions you wished you would have answered differently at least you know that now for the next interview you attend.
You may think that it is best to follow-up with an interviewer to thank them for their time and keep your name in the forefront of their mind. While this may have that affect on them, it may not be in the positive way you are looking for. An interviewer takes time
out of their regular job to fill vacancies in a department. It is an extremely busy and stressful time for them and they do not want (nor have time to) take calls from everyone that they have completed interviews with.
But this is not to say that sending along a thank you is a bad idea, it’s not. The method that you thank your interviewer is going to make a difference. If you received a business card, send a quick e-mail to thank them for their time and that you are looking forward to
hearing from them. Quick and to the point and leave it at that. Do not expect a reply because you probably won’t get one and do not follow-up on your e-mail to make sure they received it – you will become an annoyance.
Second to sending a quick e-mail, you can send a short and professional thank you note (this means no scented stationary or something too cutesy). The message should be similar, thanking the interviewer for taking the time to sit down with you, express how
much you enjoyed speaking with them and learning more about the company. It is a nicety that while not necessary, can be an added touch to a strong interview.
It may not guarantee you the job, but thank you notes, if done the right way, may open doors for you in the future. If there are openings in the company at a later time, the interviewer may remember you and think of you before others.
Each interview has at least one, a question that you really don’t know the best way to answer. It is the one that you agonize over for days and keep going over it and over it in your head and you ask others how they would have answered. There is not way to avoid
these types of questions but you can answer them with confidence to give yourself peace of mind until you get a call back.
Do not feel that you have to answer immediately after you have been asked a question. You are not on a game show where the fastest contestant to answer wins. Your interviewers will appreciate that you have taken time to formulate your answer. If you are concerned by a prolonged silence – don’t be, it is normal. If you have been asked a question that you do not know exactly what to say, ask for a moment to think of an appropriate answer. This is preferable to taking a long time to answer without explaining what you are doing.
If you really can’t think of an answer off of the top of your head, ask if you can come back to the question in a moment – keep trying to think of an answer. Don’t think that if you get to the end of the interview and you haven’t answered the question that you are off
of the hook. Even if your interviewer doesn’t ask again, it has not gone unnoticed that you didn’t respond to a question. The best case scenario is for you to bring the topic back to the question and answer it accordingly. Thank your interviewer for giving you the extra time to come up with the right answer.
If it is a lengthy question that is broken into parts, break it down into, don’t try and answer it all at once – you can always ask for parts of the question to be repeated.