Interview Tips

Professional Candidate Interview Tips

  1. Screening Call: This is often the first step in obtaining an interview. This call could be made by HR or someone besides the hiring official who has reviewed your resume, and its purpose is to eliminate candidates. This interviewer will be verifying facts on your resume and to uncover exaggerations or false statements. Be sure to answer questions in a pleasant, up-beat tone, but concisely and with confidence. The most common mistake on these calls is “giving too much information,” or giving long, involved answers to simple questions.  Make sure you are in a quiet location without background noise, and focus on the interviewer’s questions without distractions.  Keep it brief and to the point!
  2. Planning for the Interview: Practice answering tough questions concisely and in a confident manner, research the organization and review the requirements of the position as best you can, get directions so you can be on time, and certainly be courteous and polite to everyone from the receptionist to the president.
  3. Face-to-Face Interview: In most cases, you’ll be interviewing with the hiring official who understands the technical nature of the position and is either going to be a peer or someone to whom you will report. These individuals are busy and often distracted, so they may forget to ask pertinent questions related to your background. For these, you can provide more information as it applies to the role. Ask what they believe it will take to succeed in the position, and then point out the important aspects of your background that match.  Also, your LISTENING skills cannot be underestimated.  Make sure you’re not speaking over or starting to speak, before the interviewer completes a sentence.
  4. Image is Everything: Did you know when people first meet you, they develop an opinion within seconds? If you expect to handle accounting or financial matters for an organization, you must look the part. It is typically always best to be over dressed (in a relatively conservative, but updated style of attire) than under dressed. Be sure to inspect every detail of your attire (indicating you pay attention to details), hair and accessories. Finally, don’t forget the “old fashioned” firm hand shake with eye contact, and go easy on the perfume or cologne.
  5. The Dine-Out Interview: This is a common interview technique designed to see how you conduct yourself in a social setting. Proper etiquette is vital for this one. Be sure to order a “medium-priced” entree off the menu as opposed to either extreme.
  6. Managing the Interview: If the interviewer starts talking completely off topic, seems bored or distracted or bounces around a lot with topics, this means you’re not doing well. Try to pull the interviewer back on track by asking them a question such as, “What do you believe it will take for someone to succeed, here, as the Director of Internal Audit?” Once they answer you, talk through your accomplishments and skills that match with their answer.
  7. How Did it Go? You can get a good idea of how an interview went by looking at your watch. Yes, the amount of time you spent with someone has a lot to do with whether you were successful. If you did well, some type of next step is usually discussed with you before you end the interview.