Interview Tips

These tips have been compiled over my years of recruiting, due to the failures of people interviewing at my clients. Each one of these has one or more actual stories tied to it. Many have multiple instances. Every time I get a “new one”, I add it to the list. This is a pretty comprehensive guideline, and if you read through it, should provide some insight as to what it takes to make a great impression. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR INTERVIEW!

Candidate Auditions


  • Approach each and every interview as if it were the best opportunity you’ve ever seen, even if you have doubts or are uncertain about the company or position. Have an open mind and positive attitude. You may learn new things about the company and location that you didn’t know prior to the interview. You should treat every interview as if it was the most important opportunity you’ve ever encountered — until proven differently. Don’t ever lie, but at the same time, don’t throw out the opportunity because of preconceived notions.
  • Visit the Company’s Website and find out all you can about their business. Nothing is more of a turnoff than someone who comes to an interview and doesn’t know a thing about the company. With all of the information available on the internet, this should be very simple.
  • If you have an interest in a job, apply online – If you see a job posting in which you have an interest in further pursuing, please apply if that is an option for you. Your application will go straight to us. If you cannot apply, please e-mail us and attach your resume. Click here to see job openings.
  • Never Discuss religion or politics, even if you are sure that the person you are talking about feels the same way. Don’t agree or disagree – if you need to respond, simply state “I understand” and move on. If they push you for an answer, kindly state that you tend to feel similarly, but that you typically try to avoid religious or political discussions and then ask the person you are talking to a question like “why did you come to work here?”.
  •  Ask questions about the company and the person interviewing you. Ask the interviewer why he likes working there, how long they’ve been there, and what their own background was. Asking questions shows that you are interested in the company and the job. Further, it engages you in conversations that will go beyond the interviewer’s agenda. People like people that have an interest in them, and that is how you build rapport.
  •  cover tattoos and remove all piercingsno matter how cool you think they are. You are dealing with your livelihood, not trying to make a statement about you or the culture you belong to. You will probably meet multiple people, not everyone has the same view and these types of items are controversial enough to cost you a job.
  •  eye contact is crucial. Don’t stare at the wall or the floor. Practice this with everyone you talk to. Eye contact is the critical element for trust.
  •  smile! Smiling naturally puts you in a good mood and shows that you are a likeable person.
An office worker prepares to make notes.
  •  take notes, even if you know you will remember. It shows that you are interested. On your note pad, write down some key tips like “Eye Contact”, and “Smile”, and as you are taking notes (which I highly recommend) refer to your cheat sheet of reminders.
  • Be prepared to answer. “Why do you want to work here?” is one of the most common questions asked in interviews ,and you need to have an answer prepared and rehearsed. Companies don’t want to hire people who don’t know if they want to work there.
  • know, and be able to discuss, a few accomplishments. Nothing turns off an interview like someone who can’t think of anything they have ever done that is noteworthy. Questions about your accomplishments are a good time for you to brag a little.
  • listen attentively – Don’t ever interrupt or finish the interviewer’s sentence. Be patient and thoughtful. Practice “active” listening, with lots of eye-contact, nodding, and interest.
  • Don’t chew gum – It’s perceived as rude and has been a disqualifier many times.
  • No slang or cursing – People sometimes get lulled into the misconception that they have landed the job and start talking to the interviewer like they are college buddies. No matter how strongly you feel, remain professional and refrain from slang or cursing – and this includes tame words like “dude”, “cool”, “crap” and “darn”.
  • Don’t share stories unless they are the solution to a problem you’ve solved, or related to an accomplishment you’ve made. Don’t share fraternity stories, campfire stories about fishing, hunting, shopping, or even your day at the spa. Remain focused on professionalism and the job at hand.
  • Be overly polite and formal: Address people as “Mr.” or “Mrs.”, until asked not to.
  • Arrive early – but not too early. Enter the building about 5 minutes ahead of time. If you show up 15-30 minutes early, the manager might feel rushed and irritated that you weren’t “On-Time”. That said, never ever be late.
  • Firm handshake – No “dead fish”, folks. EVERYONE is judged by their handshake. Don’t try to hurt the person whose hand you shake, but don’t let your hand limply “hang out there”, either. Squeeze firmly, look the person in the eye, and tell them it’s great to meet them.
  • Good posture: Don’t slouch. Shoulders back, head back. Pretend you are in a military line up. Practice this. It’s a good habit for interviewing and for life in general.
  • Use breath mints. I always like to use a “worst case” scenario when it comes to hygiene. If the worst case is they smell minty fresh breath, that’s great. No one thinks they have bad breath, but nervousness is a leading cause of bad breath — and most people get nervous in an interview. Just make sure the mints are gone when the interview starts!
  • Wear sharp clothes Most companies are “business casual”, which means shirt with a collar and slacks or skirt. It DOES NOT mean jeans, T-shirts and ball-caps. Remember that a little too nice is better than not nice enough. If you have a question, just ask your recruiter! One last thought, THINK CONSERVATIVE. Being sharp means different things to different people. I can tell you that tan or blue slacks with neutral colored collared shirts would be great. Black shoes and belt or Brown Shoes and belt. Make sure they are clean, polished, and that the belt and shoes match. Leave the Alligator, Ostrich, Leopard, and any purple, pink, or other bright colors at home.
  • Be well groomed – I can give hundreds of grooming examples, but let’s just say this, you should enter every interview as if grooming were the key to getting the job. If your hair is messy, if you haven’t shaved, if your clothes have coffee stains all down the front — you probably won’t get the job.
  • Answer “to the point”. When asked a question, make sure you just answer the question with sufficient detail, but DO NOT run on and on. Be brief and ask “did that answer your question?” if you aren’t sure. The more you talk, the more opportunity you have of saying something inappropriate or having the person speaking to you take something the wrong way. You don’t impress people by going on and on. They are impressed by succinct and accurate responses, by your ability to listen, and your accomplishments.
  • Treat business cards as if they are precious. When someone hands you a business card, hold it with both hands and study it. Never shove it into a pocket or brief case. Always keep it on your notebook or in your hand while speaking to that person. It makes them feel that you feel they are important. If you shove the card into your pocket, they subconsciously feel that you don’t care about them.
  • Do not ask about money. If asked, simply explain your current wage package and explain that compensation is important, but only one consideration in accepting a position. Explain that you are confident in your abilities to succeed (if that is true), and that you would be excited to review what they feel is a fair offer in light of your salary history and the job at hand.
  • Know your own background. There are few things more annoying to a hiring manager than someone who can’t explain their own background or resume. Make sure you can give detailed examples and practice this before the interview.
  • Close by asking for the job Many of our clients will not make an offer to someone who doesn’t ask for the job. Asking for the job shows your interest, shows you can make a decision, and shows you are assertive. Not asking gives the impression you are disinterested, don’t care, or don’t have the guts to go for it.
  • Assume everyone is the owner. In today’s hiring environment, many decisions are made through team or group consensus. If you are a Plant Manager interviewing with a quality engineer, treat the quality engineer as if he was the hiring manager. It’s amazing how many people lose jobs because of a bad interview with someone outside of the typical area of responsibility. By the way, I’ve had people rejected because of a secretary that didn’t like the way they were treated when the person arrived. Treat EVERYONE as if they are making the decision!
  • Assume everyone is the owner. Business owners and executives come in all shapes and sizes. If you don’t know what a person’s position is, assume they are the owner. No one is insulted if you ask “are you the owner?”. However, if you treat the owner like he isn’t important, it will cost you the job. I’ve got great examples that prove this point, but not enough room to share them in this document.
  • Follow up immediately! I can’t stress this enough. Upon completion, call your recruiter with feedback. At your earliest opportunity, follow up with an e-mail and US Post-office (snail-mail) mail with a brief thank-you that says you were impressed with their organization, you appreciate their time, you feel the match is perfect, that you could hit the ground running, and that you very much look forward to being a key part of their high performance team

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