Interview Strategies and Guidelines

Congratulations, you got the interview!

Here are some things to do and not do to put your best foot forward. In this job market, employers have a strong pool of candidates to choose from. In many cases you are competing against referrals from other employees, ads, and candidates from other agencies. Our goal is to ensure that you are prepared and you have a personal game plan in place to do the best interview possible.

Before the Interview

  • Know who you are going to see and get a phone number and email address in case of emergency.
  • Know how to get there. Don’t assume internet directions will get you there
  • Look your best.
    • Ladies wear a dress, suit or slacks and blouse.  It is suggested you ask the company representative the suggested dress attire they would recommend for the interview.  Pay attention that clothing, makeup, and accessories match.
    • Men wear a slacks, shirt and tie, slacks and tie or suit. It is suggested you ask the company representative the suggested dress attire they would recommend for the interview.
    • Go easy on the perfume/cologne.  And, if you are a smoker, the recommendation is not to smoke on the way to the interview.  Typically, interviews are conducted in small room with minimal ventilation and perfume/cologne/cigarette smoke are intensified in small areas.
  • Carry a day-timer or some sort of portfolio to take notes and have interview materials close by. These materials may be notes from the Meador recruiter or information from company’s website.
  • Be prepared for tough questions such as
    • “What would your previous manager say about you?”
    •  “Why should we hire you?”
    • “What are your weaknesses?”
    • “What didn’t you like about your last supervisor?” (Be careful with this one)
    • “What are your goals for the next five years?”
    • “How would you handle the demands of two managers who both think their project is priority?”
  • Research the website prior to the interview and write down at least 3 items of interest from their website.
  • Go to LinkedIn and research/prowl the individual/individuals you will be speaking with. Make notes of items you may have in common (attended same college, born in same area of country, their city is known for a specific item, etc.).
  • Highlight specific areas of the job description that you feel you have had experience with in your career
  • Bring extra copies of your resume to provide to the interviewers. Always have a copy of your resume in front of you during the interview as well.
  • Be careful what you share on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
  • Check your voicemail greeting AND your e-mail address. If they are suggestive, crude, or can be deemed as inappropriate, the employer may not call back.
  • If you have a LinkedIn profile, take a look at it and make sure it is updated and accurate.  The company may go out and take a look at your profile to see what associations you belong, companies you follow, how well it is written, determining if your resume matches experience with your LinkedIn profile, etc. Also, it is important to have a professional picture on LinkedIn.
  • Make sure your FaceBook page and content is clean and is a good representation of who you are. Ask your mom to review!
  • Typically, we share that FaceBook is the “picnic” and LinkedIn is the “office.”

During the Interview

  • Greet the individual you are meeting with a firm handshake. No death-grip/no sweaty palms. SMILE and make eye contact.
  • If you’re nervous, share you are! That can actually be a bit of an ice-breaker.
  • Answer questions directly, don’t go off target. Give concise, specific answers.
  • Don’t chew gum or eat candy.
  • Leave your cell phone locked up in the car.
  • No large purses or big sets of keys as they are distracting.
  • Don’t be negative about a previous employer, employee, or company.
  • Take notes but DO NOT engage in distracting activities that take your focus off the interviewer (answering a cell phone, filling out the job application during the interview, etc.). Also, jot down questions the interviewer is asking, especially if it is a two-part question. This shows not only that you are paying attention but taking good notes. Sometimes, this can be a test to see how well you listen.
  • Don’t ask questions related to benefits, hours, vacation, etc. during the interview. These are questions you should ask at the time you receive a job offer.
  • Don’t interrupt the individual interviewing. Wait until they finish speaking before you answer or ask additional questions.
  • Let the company hear your enthusiasm and personality. So much of what we do on a daily basis is over the phone so make your voice, mannerisms, enthusiasm, and interest come through in your voice.
  • Watch your body language which would include not crossing your arms, slumping in your chair, etc.

Questions to ask during the interview:

  • “For an individual to be successful in this position, what are the two pieces of experience they need?” OR “What do you believe are the two most important functions of this role?”
    • There are lots of ways to ask this question but ask it! Once you get the answer from the employer you can then go into greater detail about your experience and how it relates to what they are REALLY seeking based on this answer.
      • If you are meeting with more than one individual, we suggest you ask each of them that question!
  • What projects are you going to give this individual after they are hired?
    • Again, you can use this time to share where you have had the responsibility to handle similar projects.
  • Use the time to demonstrate HOW YOU are the person who is right for the job based on the notes you have taken and based on what the hiring manager is sharing that he/she needs. Mentally put yourself in their shoes, if you were going to hire for this role, what image would you want to see if you, were going to hire YOU?
  • An interview should always be a conversation. You should be sharing information, answering questions and always asking questions as well. It is a give and take.

The End of the Interview

  • Thank the individual for their time. Express interest in the role and that you are hopeful to hear you will be invited back for another visit. We call this “asking for the job”.
  • Make sure to write down three reasons why you would be an asset to their organization.  When the client asks you do you have any questions – you can answer by saying – “I think you have answered all my questions; however, I would like to share with you three reasons why I believe I would be an asset to your organization.”
  • This is a great time to request a business card for the interviewer(s). 

After the Interview

  •  Send a well written, error free thank you not to the company representative with which you interviewed.

IF you cannot make your interview, contact the company. A NO SHOW without good reason could result in your ability to reschedule your interview. 

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