Interviewing Tips

by kriggins on December 10, 2008

in Career, Tips

A couple of things have brought this particular topic to my mind recently. First is the amount of layoffs that we are seeing in just about every sector of the economy. Second is last weeks MentorNet topic.

Most of us are familiar with the first issue, some on a more personal level than others. The second may be a little more obscure. MentorNet is a great organization that I started participating in last year. From the website:

MentorNet is the award-winning nonprofit e-mentoring network that positively affects the retention and success of those in engineering, science and mathematics, particularly but not exclusively women and others underrepresented in these fields.

Anyway, last weeks topic asked mentors to share with their mentees any tips they might have for interviewing.

Here is what I shared.

One of the best resources I know of that deals with interviewing skills is "Knock'em Dead" by Martin Yate.

That being said, here are a few tips that you might find helpful:

  1. Regardless of what is said about dress for the interview, always show up in business attire. You only have a few seconds to make that first impression. How you are dressed is one of the first weapons you have to make that first good impression.
  2. Make sure you do your research on the company that you are interviewing with. Solid knowledge of what the company does is always a good indicator of an applicant's seriousness. Ask questions that show this knowledge throughout the interview so they know you spent the time to become familiar with the company.
  3. Write out answers to common interviewing questions before you start interviewing.  The book above and many websites have lists of commonly asked interview questions.  You will be much better prepared for them if you have already thought about those questions and written answers to them. Just to be clear, don't read these answers to the interviewer :)
  4. Have somebody do mock interviews with you. Have them ask the questions you have prepared answers for. Also have them ask some questions that you don't have answers for.
  5. Write down some questions you have about the company and the person you will be reporting to. Good questions are what's the corporate culture like, management styles, career path, etc. Again, the book above has some great ones. Take the list with you and bring it out when they ask if you have any questions. I did this for my last two interviews and it was viewed positively by both.
  6. Ask about next steps when the interview is shutting down if they haven't already shared them.
  7. Finally, never say 'yes' immediately. If the company pressures you to do so, you might want to think about whether that is a good company to work for or not.

What are your tips for preparing for and excelling in an  interview?

-Kevin

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