The interview is truly the most important step in the job search process. Many hiring decisions are made during the interview based on the interviewing skill of the candidate and not their qualifications. These guidelines for interviewing will help you put your best foot forward and show them the true depth of your potential.
GENERAL RULES FOR INTERVIEWING
- Review the company literature prior to interviewing and practice before you go in—make sure you are fully prepared.
- Listen, Listen, Listen.
- Show enthusiasm during the interview for your recent jobs and accomplishments, as well as the possibilities with this position. Hiring managers are looking for energetic employees who enjoy what they do for a living.
- Answer any technical questions as specifically as possible. If you feel the question is too broad or you are unsure of the direction of the question, ask the interviewer for clarification.
- Elaborate on the information in your resume and explain the function of your roles.
- Utilize personal examples from your past which validate your experience as it pertains to the qualifications needed for the position, and truly sell your capabilities to the interviewer.
- Answer any personal questions in a more general nature with short and concise answers.
- Be genuine about your strengths and your weaknesses.
- Be POSITIVE, POSITIVE, POSITIVE regarding your tenure with former employers; make a list of all the benefits you gained from them. Prospective companies are generally afraid of candidates who have negative comments about previous employers.
- When asked about your reasons for seeking new employment, use constructive phrasing, such as “I’m eager for more technical challenges” or “Our goals and directions have just diverged.”
- Ask questions that relate to the business of the company, such as market share, profit margin, add-on business, documentation, and support.
- Before the discussion ends, ask if you should clarify any points in the discussion.
- If you are interested, go after the job and send a Thank You Letter!
MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS DURING INTERVIEWS
- Why have you chosen this particular profession, and where do you think your interest in this career comes from?
- What challenges are you looking for in a position?
- What interests you about this job?
- What can you contribute to this company?
- What characteristics do you think are important for this position?
- Why do you feel that this company will be a career for you rather than a job?
- What motivates you?
- What turns you off?
- When you take on a project, do you like to approach it in a group or individually?
- Tell me about a team project of which you are particularly proud and your contribution.
- What type of work environment appeals to you most?
- Describe the type of manager you prefer. What characteristics are most important in a good manager?
- Name two management skills that you think you have.
- Describe a situation where you had to work with someone who was difficult. How did you handle it?
- What has been your greatest challenge?
- If I asked the people who know you well to describe you, what three words would they use?
- If I asked the people who know you for one reason why I shouldn’t hire you, what would they say?
- What industry besides this one are you looking into?
- With which other companies are you interviewing?
- Why did you choose this college and how did you arrive at this decision?
- What factors did you consider in choosing your major?
- Describe how your favorite course has contributed your career interests.
- Since you have been at college, what is it that you are most proud of?
- How have you changed personally since starting college?
- If you could change a decision you made while at college what would you change and why?
QUESTIONS FOR THE INTERVIEWER
Employers are impressed with candidates who bring their own set of questions to interviews, as it demonstrates their initiative and enthusiasm. Here are some items you could discuss with your interviewer when he or she asks you if you have any questions for them:
- Ask them specifics about the information you researched.
- Describe my job duties.
- Is this a newly created position?
- What are the company’s short- and long-term goals?
- What do you like most about working for this company?
- What is a typical day like for you?
- To whom would I report?
- Whom will I supervise?
- Tell me about the training program I will experience.
- What is the company’s promotional policy?
- With whom will I be working most closely?
- When can I expect to hear from you?
ENDING THE INTERVIEW
When it appears that the interviewer is about to end the interview, there are certain points you should make sure you have covered before you leave the room:
- Understand the rest of the interview process that will occur before a candidate is selected for the job (e.g., another interview in same/other location, meetings with other individuals in organization, etc.)
- Ask the interviewer when you can expect to hear about a decision or when you should make a follow-up inquiry.
- Express your interest in the position and thank them for interviewing you.
- Ask for a business card or ensure that you have the interviewer’s name, title, address so that you can send a thank-you letter. Make sure your letter arrives within 24 hours of the interview.
Employers usually have a formal rating sheet for a candidate’s performance in the interview that includes factors such as the following:
- Neat and clean overall appearance/poise/communicative skills
- Academic/work achievements (learning ability, standards of excellence)
- Special skills (technical, languages, creativity, management, analytic, negotiation)
- Personal characteristics (team player, enthusiasm, dependability, emotional stability, flexibility)
- Self-assessment, goals/ambitions
- Leisure-time activities, balance in life
- Reaction to job/organization
EVALUATING YOUR PERFORMANCE:
- It’s important to evaluate yourself on how well you did after each interview. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What points did I make that seemed to interest the employer?
- Did I present my qualifications in the best manner possible, giving appropriate examples as evidence?
- Did I pass up opportunities to sell myself, to demonstrate the work I do, and to show how profitably I could do it for both the organization and myself?
- Did I talk too much? Too little?
- Was I too tense? Passive? Aggressive?
- Did I find out enough about the employer and the job to help in making a knowledgeable decision?
All of this information may seem overwhelming at first, but with careful practice and preparation, it will quickly become second nature for you. Remember that a good recruiter will also help prepare you for each interview and make sure you are confident and ready to give your very best impression. With over 30 years in the insurance career consulting industry, J.L. Nixon Consulting can help you along your career path. Contact us today by calling (210) 446-0163.