HomeResourcesInterview Tactics


By John N. Quagliani


By John N. Quagliani

Overview of the Interview Process

Job InterviewYou have written an informational attention grabbing cover letter and enclosed it with your appointment generating resume. You have received the call from the potential employer and they want to speak with you in reference to your new career. Your journey to capturing the job is about halfway. Much needs to be accomplished before you present your case to the hiring manager.

Types of interviews

Each company uses a specific interview type they feel will best get the results they want. Job interviewing never seems to get easy, no matter how many you have completed. The main purpose of the interview process is to show the interviewer your strength and weaknesses. The greater majority of interviews will be conducted at the facility you will be employed or by phone. Since there are various forms of employment we also have different types of interviews designed to give the potential employer the desired results.

Be aware of the potential interview approaches. The approaches that you may find yourself can be; phone interviews, job site interviews, group interviews, dining interviews and campus location interviews. Looking at each of these at this time will help you.

Phone Interview

Since you are unsure of how the potential employer would want to contact you the first order of business is to have a professional recording on your home phone. I do not recommend giving out your cell number with your resume, this was covered in the cover letter booklet. You do not want to take the chance of a dropped call or static on the line. You may get an unexpected call for an interview you are not prepared to give. With your recorded message you want to maintain your privacy yet give information that signals the caller they have reached the correct person. My recommendation is to leave something simple and to the point. You have reached John, please leave a message or you have reached the Carters, please leave a message or you have reached 323-555-1212, please leave a message. You need to determine what is comfortable for you. Music in the back ground or silly message is not the first contact you want your potential employer to hear. While in the interview process don’t change your message.
If you have roommates, housemates, a spouse, or children it’s important to review the proper way of message taking. This can be challenging to other members of the house and the wrong message can be given, taken or not taken. The best option might be to invest in a voice box for each person. This application can be added to your phone system from the local phone company.

You miss the call, what must I do?

Return the call as soon as possible. A few issues to cover before you return the call. Have a note pad and pen at the ready along with your resume. Review information you have gathered on the company. Make sure you are in a quite location and will not be disturbed for some time. When you return the call give all your contact information and indicate you are returning a call regarding a specific position.

Many times the call received was hours ago and now several hours have passed. If you receive the messages after 5pm call and leave a voice message. Leave all your contact information and the specific position you are applying. Prepare to talk with the recruiter the next day by getting all your data arranged. If the recruiter is still at the office he may want to have an interview on the spot. Be ready!

Oh no! I’m at home and the phone rings. It’s a recruiter from one of the companies I responded for a job. They want to have a complete qualifying 10-60 minute interview, what do I do? When you answer the phone think quick, who is the company and what position did I apply? Because this will happen have a folder containing your job search material. Be honest if you feel unsure or rushed don’t do the interview because you will blow it. You want to be relaxed, composed and in control of your surroundings. Try this approach; it can keep you from making a major mistake.”I’m very happy you called. I was on my way to another interview. I have about five minutes, would that be enough time or can I call you back later today?” This shows the interviewer your time is valuable, you are very interested in the position and will be happy to give him all the time he needs for the phone interview. Everyone wins.

When you do call back remember it’s an interview not a one sided conversation. Respond to questions and in return ask questions. It’s important to have your notes and resume in front of you along with pen and pad to take notes. They called you because you qualify for the job however they are ready to dump you if you come across unprepared. Before the call ends you will need to ask at least one appointment generating question. Here is an example: During this call we have covered a lot of material. Your company is the place I would like to start my new career. With this in mind when can I come in for further evaluation? Would Thursday of this week or would Monday next be better? Be quiet and let them answer. At this point they may not set a date for you to continue the process, they may call later. In the interview process you want to be on the attack without being overly aggressive. Notice how the question was prefaced with data and a statement about the position.

Now What? The Call Has Ended.

Follow up is the most important task. If you were able to secure the email address of the recruiter compose a brief email otherwise write a short thank you note to mail. Keep the note brief and to the point, you want to have an onsite interview. Here is a sample note: “Thank you for the time you invested in me on the phone talking about the open position. I enjoyed the conversation and look forward to the opportunity you presented. I would be interested in an on site interview to further discuss my candidacy.”

Opportunity to Check You Out

The phone interview serves two purposes. The interviewer can evaluate whether you are as good as you sound on paper. When you are prepared you will come across as the outstanding candidate they have on paper. Because you are on the phone act like it’s an on site interview. Keep a smile on your face it will come across during the interview. Do not smoke, eat or drink, however it will be best to keep a glass of water handy. While speaking with the interviewer take your time and speak slowly and enunciate clearly. Ask permission to use the person’s first name, other wise use the person’s title. The second aspect of the phone interview serves a way to narrow down the pool to finalist and semifinalist. Your objective is to set up a face to face or on site interview. A successful phone interview will get you to the next stage in the hiring process.

There are a few key advantages with your phone interview. You don’t have to worry about how to dress, and you will not get lost. The primary advantage, you can look at your notes and resume while on the phone. Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for a regular interview.

Forms of Phone Interview

Phone interviews are given in two forms

In almost all cases the phone interview is the first contact and used to screen out second tier applicants.

1.   Expected — This will always work out to your advantage when you are properly prepared.
Have all your notes and facts at the ready. Have key questions you want answered and you want to ask. The advantages to the company are several.

* The cost is less
* The list of questions can be standardized
* The interview can be delegated to a lower level (cheaper) employee
* It can be done quickly

If you don’t pass the phone interview you don’t get the job. Preparation for the interview is 2/3 the battle. Unlike the screening phone interviews of years past, the current economy mandates that many full qualifying interviews be conducted via phone. The interviewer may come across friendly and confident, don’t drop your guard. Remember this is a job interview, not your buddy or chum. As you talk with the interviewer you are selling the interviewer on you, you are selling a product and you are the product.

2.   Unexpected (extemporaneous) — This call will start off with a statement like this. “Is this a good time?” This unscheduled call is welcomed because it’s an interview yet can put you in a position to blow the interview. If you are caught at an inopportune time, speak up or risk making an impression that is less than desired.  As mentioned earlier try this approach.  “I’m very happy you called.  I was on my way to another inter- view.  I have about five minutes, would that be enough time or can I call you back later today”?


On-Site interviews

Your objective is to secure an on-site interview. Prepare yourself and project yourself working at your desired place of employment. The primary objective of the interviewer is to determine if you would be a good fit with their company. They want answers to many question, however the two main questions that will be ever present are. Why should we hire you? Would you be a good fit for our company? When you answer any question keep these questions in mind at all times. The onsite interview will be more formal and the questions will be more focused. You have reached the semifinals or finals.

Ready Set Go

Take the time to have mock interviews. The interview process is going to be stressful and may give you butterflies. Mock interviews will enable you to relax and get a better picture of the entire interview. Take the time to review typical interview questions. This will give you a framework for your responses and will help calm your nerves. With practice and review the interview process will go much smoother and most likely no scrambling for an answer while you’re in the hot seat. When you take the time to practice interviewing with a friend or family member ahead of time, the process will be much easier when you’re actually in the interview.

Negative factors that will cost you the job


  1. Poor personal appearance, best to dress conservative with clean attire etc.
  2. Limp, fishy handshake, have a firm handshake and greet with a smile.
  3. Ask no questions about the job; don’t let the interviewer control the interview by one sided conversation.
  4. Want job only for a short time. Tell them you look forward to being with the company for sometime. Such as I hope I am still with this organization in a position of increased responsibility.
  5. Fail to look the interviewer in the eyes, during the interview have a normal conversation.
  6. Don’t express yourself. The best interview is when you are having a conversation with the interviewer.
  7. When ever talking about former employers or employees, don’t talk negative about them.
  8. Do not treat the receptionist rudely; she is the one who will introduce you.
  9. Do not show up late for your scheduled interview.
  10. Asking about benefits, vacation time or salary to soon.
  11. Not prepared for the interview.
  12. Too much eye contact.
  13. Believing you’re the most qualified person.
  14. Focus on only one or two aspects of the interview. Stay tuned in for the complete interview.
  15. Answering questions quickly. Repeat the question and proceed. This will give you  time to think about the question and slow up the process thus keeping you calm.
  16. Taking detail notes. Many professionals differ on this point. I believe you can take short quick notes such as a key word that represents a topic. You can still focus on the interview and will show active participation.
  17. Long winded ramble about yourself. Provide a concise two or three minute narrative on your personal and professional background and how they relate to the job at hand.
  18. Gaps or returning to work can be a killer to your being hired. Talk in terms of what you have been doing. You will talk about volunteering or consulting work you can prove.
  19. Lack of response or interest in questions the interviewer ask. To help you with this we have made a list of several questions to consider.
  20. Don’t ask for the job. Always go for the close. Remember you are the product and you want to sell the product. Ask what is the next step?
  21. No follow up. Please be quick about this either email or send out snail mail to all people you spoke with.

Questions You may Be Asked

Questions Questions Questions: What are the three main issues in any interview? This list
can be a book into itself. During the interview process relax and stay as calm as possible. Below are a few questions that will help get you thru the interview process.

Describe a time you failed?
What has been the greatest disappointment in your life?
What things frustrate you the most? How do you usually cope with them? What motivates you?
Tell me how you deal with pressure? Are you willing to travel?
What do you dislike about work? What are your salary expectations? Why would you want to work here?
What was the one thing you dislike about your last employer? Have you ever changed someone’s mind?
Why should we hire you?
What is your greatest weakness? What is your greatest strength? Are you qualified for this job?
What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
Do you take work home?
Why are you leaving your job?
If you were a tree what kind would you be? What are you looking for in your next job?
In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our company? Describe a time when you defended a position?
What do you expect from a supervisor? How do you allocate your time?
How do you determine or evaluate success? Have you ever been fired?
If you could be a car what color would you be? Why? Name a time you were unhappy with your results? What were your responsibilities at your last job?
What did you like or dislike about your last job?
When were you most proud of your accomplishments at work? Have you ever had to deliver bad news?
With all the open positions out their why select our company? Tell me about yourself?
Do you have any special interest after work? What is your favorite sport?
Do you play political games at the office?
What two or three things are most important to you in your job? Give a time you took on more than you could handle?
Have you ever had to give negative feedback?
Where do you visualize yourself in three to five years? Why are you interested in our company?
What was the smartest thing you have ever done?
What accomplishments did you achieve in you last position?

Some Key Question You Will Want Answers.

Why is this position open?
How long has this position been open?
How often has it been filled in the past few years?
Will you be the person I will be reporting?
Where does the company fit in your industry?
Does the company have plans for expansion?
What are the opportunities for advancement with your company?
What would be a typical day for me?
Why do you enjoy working at this company?
Have you ever felt you want to quit this job?
What are some of the long term objectives you would like to see completed?
What would you like to have done in the next 3 months?
Ask if you can meet some of the people you will be working with.
Ask to see where you will be working.
Ask to have a tour of the facility.
What assets do I have that will be best used at this position?
What is the most pressing issue?
What are some of the more difficult problems one would have to face in this position?
Ask three or four question that directly relate to your specific job.
Ask for the job.
What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this position?
You are selling a product and you want to bring it home with a sale. Close out the interview on an up note. This is your last opportunity to give the interviewer a positive impression. Insure the employer knows you want the job. Get the business cards of all the people you have interviewed with. Ask for the job! Besides you; who else must I speak with for final approval? Can I meet with the final decision maker today to formalize my employment? Can we set up the next interview date? What will be the next step in this process?

Follow up To an On-Site Interview:

Just like the phone interview your follow up must be quick and to the point. If you have the email address send a thank you note the moment you get home. If this is not possible because you do not have the interviewers email address, write out a note. While in the interview process it will always work to your advantage to have blank paper and number 10 envelopes in your car. On note paper summarize the interview meeting. Give him all the points he liked about you and remind him you look forward to joining his team. Put your brief note in the envelope and write the interviewers full name and title on the envelope. This note must be hand delivered. Give
the sealed envelope to the receptionist to pass along to the interviewer. Do not make any effort to hand this note to the interviewer. This simple step in the interview process can secure the job you want. It will act as your silent salesman when you have left the employers office. This
little bit of professionalism will put you ahead of the other applicants.

Group Interview

A good number of companies use this interview style because the final choices have generally worked out better than selections based on a single interview format. The group interview can take many forms. In its basic form the group interview consists of a presentation to the applicants about the company and open position with role playing. The group interview allows the interviewers to see how the applicant will fit into the organization.

Group interviews usually will last a few hours to a complete day. The process is grueling. Because there are so many people, the interviewers have guidelines to follow simply to manage the people. Most likely you will not have one on one time with the interviewer yet you will be under observation from the moment you enter the room. Group interviews are intended to be intimidating.

As with any job interviews you need to stand out or you will get lost in the group crowd. Don’t show up in a clown outfit or color your hair green. The stand out formula will be creative, you
should think about how you can impress the interviewers. Because of the crowd and cattle type of group it will be easy to get spooked at a group interview. Look at all the applicants as an unqualified job seeker. Focus on your qualifications, skills and experiences. Most of all be yourself, relax and focus on the task at hand.

Points the interviewers will notice:

  1. How you interact with others in the group.
  2. How well you handle stress.
  3. If you are a good listener.
  4. How well you work in group settings.
  5. How strong your communication skills are.
  6. Your skill at influencing and persuading the rest of your team.
  7. How you enter the room.
  8. Where you sit.

Additional points:

Once the other applicants start entering the room, start introduce yourself. This will be noted by the interviewers. You want the interviewers to see you as an active player in this group interview. This is just another step to have the interviewers take notice of your involvement. While interacting with the interviewers and fellow applicants take criticism and give feedback constructively. Your silent non-verbal messages will be noted by all in the group interview. Be aware of your body language. This is something that will help you and be carefully noted. So be aware of the interviewers so you can give positive non verbal messages.

Tell Me About Yourself

In the group interview you will be asked to tell the group about yourself.  This will be your first opportunity to start creating a great impression. Be confident, maintain eye contact, and speak in a clear voice. Understand the moment you walked into the room you are being assessed. The interviewer will take notice of your manner to what you are wearing. While talking about yourself don’t copy what other applicants are saying. Don’t talk to just the interviewer, spread your eye contact around the room. Talk to the other applicants. When you are telling your story tell it to the entire room. Stand out and mention items that make you a unique individual. Speak slowly to give yourself time to process the data you will be relaying to the interviewer.
By the end of the group interviews the interviewers often have a short list of applicants in whom they are interested. If they use role playing this will mark you as a follower, leader or complainer.
Role playing

Because you are an unknown person to the interviewer they need to determine if you will be a positive fit for the company. The best way to see how people respond and react to the unknown is to see how well you can perform under pressure. Role playing or group activities are used to generate stress. Will you be the cooperative problem solving person? Will you naturally gravitate to the leadership position? Will you see problems and create issue for the group? Overall voice your concerns and support the group.

Make an effort to connect with the interviewer. Keep your winning smile no matter how uncomfortable you feel. A phrase I started using many years ago and now it’s natural “fake it till you make it” this enabled me to succeed when others didn’t do so well. Maintain a relaxed facial expression and keep your voice at an even tone.

What about questions

In the group interview several applicants can be questioned at once. Any time a group of people get together the group will naturally stratify into leaders and followers. In addition to this information the interviewer will also learn whether you are a team player. Your main focus is to act naturally. Don’t try and be something you are not.

The most effective way to get thru a group interview is to demonstrate a composed, professional manner. When given an opportunity to answer questions act as if it’s just you and the interviewer in the room. Repeat the question for clarification for your understanding then proceed. Each time you repeat a question you are gaining time to focus and gather your ideas. You can also buy some time by asking a question yourself, such as asking the interviewer to repeat or clarify the question.

Prepare For The Group Interview

Many aspect of the group interview are similar to a one on one interview. Here are a few pointers to help you to be the winner at the group interview.

  1. Research the company on the internet. Points to look for are news articles about the company and what others are saying about the company. A good internet search will yield you lots of data.
  2. Read the job description in detail. Think about how your skills and assets fit into the job. That will be a natural question for the interviewer to ask.
  3. As a professional salesman I followed many rules. My main rule was to always be early for my appointment. Always gave me time to review my approach or have a brief but rewarding conversation with the receptionist. In this case I strongly urge you to arrive early for the group interview. This may give you an advantage over the others in the group, you may meet the interviewer.
  4. Since you arrived early you will have an opportunity to introduce yourself to all the interviewers before the group interview starts.
  5. Be on your toes, alerts and ready for anything. The group interview is very interactive.
  6. Since you will be given an opportunity to make a brief statement about yourself, be prepared. Prepare a short 60 to 120 second introduction summarizing your experience, your career, objectives and how this position will fit into your future plans.
  7. Ninety percent of a conversation is your ability to listen. Need we say this, listen with focus. Do not pay attention to what is going on around you while the interviewers are relaying information.
  8. Do not be a bull in a china shop. While in the group don’t be the loud mouth or most animated. As a person who has been in the leadership role for sometime a good point to consider is to ask key questions. One method I have used and proved to be very effective: Ask the people in the group if it’s o.k. to take a vote. “Shall we take a vote?” You have assumed the leadership role without being overly aggressive.
  9. Eye contact is important while interacting with each interviewer and fellow group member. Be an actor on stage and give everyone some of your attention. Don’t get a friend and give that person all your attention.
  10. Follow up is always important to the final step in this process. Like all interviews you need to show the interviewers you are not one of the group but a stand out. Time is always of the essence when it comes to bagging the job in the job hunt process. Do not mail a letter. Use the hand written note process mentioned earlier in the one on one interview.


Dining Interviews

This interview can be a great opportunity as well as a hazard. The meal setting makes everyone more comfortable and sociable, and some of the awkwardness of the traditional office interview can be alleviated by the fact everyone is attending to the “business” of eating.  Because of this you must be on your guard.

All right I’m going to get a free meal out of this.  Don’t celebrate they will be evaluating you on many levels because of the job description.  Employers prefer to take potential employees out for a dinning interview when there will be a lot of client interaction. The main focus will be how you interact when it will be necessary to entertain clients or prospective clients.  In addition your new employer will be looking closely at your social skills and how you handle yourself under pressure.  At meal time while under fire it can be easy to make mistakes and blow a simple question.  After all you will be eating and expressing confidence while answering a variety of questions that are designed to increase your stress.

Whenever I was scheduled for an onsite interview I always drove to the location ahead of time to evaluate traffic, location and the overall environment of the area. This always gave me a better feel and understanding of the potential employer.  As with an onsite interview it is best to check out the designated restaurant ahead of time.  If you have the time and opportunity have lunch or dinner at the selected restaurant.  With this in mind you will know exactly what’s on the menu, what you might want to order and most important where the rest rooms are located.
When you are invited for a meal don’t assume that since they are treating me that the job is yours.  On the contrary the real interview has just begun.  Many times the meal is the second interview.  This will be an important screening method because of the job description.  Good etiquette most likely will not get you the job, however bad etiquette will cost you the job.

The dinning interview is more important than the onsite interview.  The reason I say this; it will be the decision on your selection or not.  Just like the onsite interview turn your cell phone off. If you do take a call, the interview has ended for you so enjoy the meal.  You just lost the job. Conversation during a dinning interview can be difficult.  Before the meal arrives, use this time to interact and have a brief conversation with the interviewer.

The dining interview comes with its own sand traps and hazards; you have to remain focused on responding professionally throughout the entire process.  Most importantly, stay focused on the task at hand; getting hired.  Don’t let the good food and relaxed atmosphere take you off guard. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from your primary objective – getting hired.

Additional tips:

Keep in mind they will be evaluating your social skills.  You are not hanging out with your friends or family, keep on your guard.

  1. Be polite.  Say please and thank you to your server and host.
  2. When it comes to which utensil to use start from the outside and work your way in.
  3. Your water glass will be on the right and if your salad is not in front of you it will be on your left.  These two simple items can get you off on the wrong foot if you take the wrong water or salad.  Your bread plate will be on your left.
  4. Watch as each person is seated; once everyone is seated place your napkin on your lap.
  5. Additional simple rules.  Sit up straight, keep your elbows off the table and don’t talk with your mouth full.

While Eating:

All interviews are important and stressful.  This is not a social event; do not add any alcohol to your meal.  You want to maintain your balance and focus.  So be wise stay with water, soft drink, tea or coffee.  Since you had the opportunity review the menu.  The potential employer may mention several items that are especially good and what he usually orders. These are clues for you to evaluate.  Below are some tips to consider when ordering at a dinning interview.

  1. Stay away from pasta, ribs, chicken and large sandwiches.
  2. I know it’s a free meal, do not order the most expensive item on the menu, be reasonable with your order.
  3. Order something simple to cut or eat.
  4. Don’t start eating until everyone’s meal has been served.
  5. Don’t complain about the food or send it back.  This is an interview not a food critique.
  6. Be careful with soup.  The polite and best way to eat soup in this situation is to eat soup by spooning it away from you.  This way you will not spill any soup on your lap.
  7. If you need to leave the table, leave the napkin on your seat.
  8. When you have completed your meal place your utensils on your plate.  The server will know you are done and remove your plate.
  9. With everything going on do your best to relax, listen and carry on a two sided conversation.
  10. You were not there for the food, don’t ask for a takeout bag.
  11. If you believe there is something stuck between your teeth, excuse yourself and go to the rest room to remove any stuck food particles.  All fine restaurants will have tooth picks available.
  12. After the meal, let the employer pick up the tab and leave the tip.  You are the guest.
  13. The purpose of the dinning interview is to get to know you.  Your social skills and how you would be interacting with clients or potential clients will be judged.  Your meal was secondary to the conversation.
  14. Be confident in your ability and what you bring to the new employer.
  15. Don’t make a poor impression with your social skills or improper use of utensils.  This could be an embarrassment to clients and potential clients and cost you the job.

Mind Your Manners:

Any interview is an exercise to see how you will fit into their organization.  With the dining interview they want to see how you will present yourself to potential and existing clients.  With this in mind make sure your behavior and comportment during the meal is fully befitting a professional.  This is where your moms teaching will come into play.  Be mindful of all her rules– keep your elbows off the table, place your napkin on your lap, and chew with your mouth closed. Sometimes the meal setting will be at a high end establishment, you may want to brush up on your formal mealtime etiquette beforehand so you’ll feel more confident in your ability to steer clear of mistakes and mishaps.

Reasons for a meal or dining interview:

The applicant will be interacting with the client base and entertaining potential clients on a regular rate. The client also has a specific image or brand presence to support. As the ambassador to your new employer they want to insure you present the professional and competent image they desire.  Make sure your behavior during the meal is fully professional and interactive.

After the meal – follow up:

All interviews must be followed up.  The dining or meal interview is no different.  The job is not yours yet, it is yours for the asking.  If you have made it to the meal interview you are one of the finalists.  Your follow up with a thank you letter shows good form.  Doing this shows that you are responsible and it gives you another opportunity to tell your story.  The best way to deliver this letter is by email and should be done immediately after the interview.  In your follow up letter mention your assets and how the company will benefit; in short ask for the job.  Not all applicants will follow up with a thank you letter.  This letter can be the tipping point that will put you over the edge and secure you the job.  Think of the thank you letter as your potential tiebreaker.

Closing point:

Don’t allow the dining interview to divert you into the tall grass and weeds.  Stay focused on your objective; at this point the job is yours for the asking.

On Campus Interviews

Successful on-campus interviews

Any interview is surrounded by many pitfalls that can lead to your early disqualification.  Keep in mind that you are one of many offering skills and assets to secure the job.  The on-campus interview is the first step for the interviewing process.  One small mistake, one small error can make you history and your advancement to secure the position will end.   In all interview situations you increase your chances of being successful when you increase your face time and number of interviews.

With many on-campus interview situations you will have an opportunity to meet with several companies.  The on-campus interview must be handled just like the other interviews mentioned. You present yourself professionally and well prepared.  Your objective is not to show up and have a conversation with five or so companies.  You will want to maximize your success with quality and quantity of the interviews. Have your questions ready and do your background search of your new employer.  When you do your homework on each company you will increase your interview efficiency.

As a soon to be college graduate with many companies on campus to interview; students have an advantage that does not exist after graduation.  With this in mind put 100% of your energy in the preparation and presentation of your information to your potential employer.  If you can avoid being eliminated you will move one step along the road to successfully securing your job.

Winning On-Campus Interview Tips

What about other schools?

Point of interest here is that many of these tips can be used for any interview and are taken from my experience at the many interviews I have been a part.  The first point is taken from the job fairs in your area.  Like a job fair you will have an opportunity to present your winning assets to many companies in a very short period of time.  Just like your campus is having a job fair other schools in your area will also have job fairs. Take advantage of all campus career fairs in your area.  Since companies have limited resources; they will focus on one campus.  Understanding this it will give you an opportunity to interview at other campuses.  Unless it is specifically posted all career fairs are open to all comers.  This is an advantage to the company and you.  It does not matter you are not a student of that school.  Happy hunting!
Research the company

Invest some time and effort to visit the web site of the company you will be interviewing.  Find out key facts that can be of service to you in the interview process.  Down load data that pertains to news articles and other issues that will be of benefit to you in the interview.  The information you gather will give you basic information.  What industry, principle products, and any divisions they have.  You will come across as a go getter when you have this information.  The quickest way to turn off the interviewer and knock you out of the interview is when you walk into the interview with no idea of what the company does.

Upper division graduates

Be prepared to present a quick two minute presentation on your thesis.  Anything much longer than this will get lost in the interviewers notes and head.  Make it quick and snappy.  Here are some points to consider when requested to give a brief outline of your thesis.  How will it relate to the position at hand?  Next can you apply your thesis to the job easily and last can the interviewer understand what you are talking about.  The last point is very important.  Remember the interviewer may be human resources and has no idea about any technical issues the company deals with.  Make it simple and basic.

Don’t make something up

Since you are a new or recent graduate, the interview process is new.  When every you are asked a question you don’t know the answer, don’t make something up.  The first think you will always want to do when asked a question is to repeat how understand the question.  If after you repeat the question the interviewer does not agree admit you are not sure of the question or the answer. If you make up an answer the interviewer will most likely follow up with questions regarding that topic.  You do not want to go down that road.  Remember the interviewer does not expect you to know the answer to all his question since you are still in or a recent graduate.  Don’t feel bad, you will come out on top with the honest approach.

Have a Sense of Energy About You

Positive energy begets positive feedback.  The basic question many interviewers start with is “Tell me about yourself.”  This is your opportunity to get the interview process on an upbeat positive posture.  Be prepared for this question and have a quick two minute presentation ready. Maintain a positive upbeat posture during the entire interview process.  Be energetic and enthusiastic.  This will leave the interviewer with nothing but good comments about you.  Get plenty of sleep the night before your scheduled interviews.  Don’t look at your watch and whatever you do, don’t yaw.

Dress well

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.  Present yourself as a professional and dress well.  Show the interviewer you are a serious candidate.  When you dress well for the interview you leave an outstanding immediate impression.  In addition you will project the image that you really care about this interview and respect the interviewer’s time.  In all my years in the recruiting business I have never heard any of my fellow recruiters complain that they have been interviewing applicants that are too well dressed.  However I have had many applicants and so has many colleges come across applicants that took the interview with less than serious; not properly dressing for the interview.

Open ended questions

Please go back to the section marked questions questions questions. Review these questions that can and will be asked of you.  They want to get into your head and how you think.  Open ended questions require you to elaborate about the question.  Such as:  “Tell me about a time when you were under pressure, and how you handled it?” Interviewing is not a simple process and it can be mentally draining.  Understanding this review all specific situation you have been.  Repeat all questions and answer to the best of your knowledge.  Don’t make up things, these always come back to haunt the teller of the untruth.

Rejection, not another

Always remember when looking for employment now and later in life.  Many job openings will have at least 200 or more applicants wanting that position.  When you see things from that view it is always to your best advantage to be at the peak of your game during the interview process. Never take the interview anything less than serious because if you slip another will take that job you wanted.

After each interview review all your steps.  How could have made it better, sharper, energetic, brief with the answers?  Your interview must be a normal conversation not a grueling ordeal.  As a student you studied for all your test to get the best grade possible.  Well the interview no different.  Have mock interviews with your friends and build each other’s confidence as you practice.  Look out world here you come.


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