Interview Tips

HONESTY IS CRITICAL..dates, salaries, education, descriptions, diplomas/degrees … companies will check to verify information. A potential employer will hesitate hiring someone who has given false information in their resume or application, even if they were ideally suited for the position. In most cases, they won’t even consider the person. If you are using an agency, it’s just as important to be totally honest with them, too.

SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOLS YOU NEED FOR JOB HUNTING ARE INTERNET ACCESS AND VOICE MAIL!!!!..It’s vitally important that you can be reached regarding an appointment or potential interview. If you don’t have one, and can’t borrow one, check out the service offered by the Telephone Company. While job hunting, check for messages frequently. Leaving a message with a third party is not the most reliable method. If we can’t reach you, the company will go for the next qualified person.

Always make phone calls yourself; do not have your parents/spouse/etc. making calls for you inquiring about jobs or feedback on interviews.

If relative are talking messages for you, limit their conversation to just talking messages.

Interview Tips

Before the Interview


Research the company that you are looking into whenever possible. Go to the internet or library and see when the company was established, what it does (i.e. re-insurance, Property insurance etc.), how many offices it has, or whatever else you can use to carry on a light conversation with the interviewer. The person who does their homework will impress them, and it will give you the leading edge you may need.


Because it is difficult for employers to get references of any sort, it is a big plus to have a letter, or letters, from people of character or from a current or prior employer or past performance appraisals. They should include words like “hardworking”, “ethical”, and “trustworthy” and “dependable”. Also make copies of any type of awards or certificates of achievement that may play a role in a new prospective employer getting some insight into you. You should also state – they could hire you again or welcome the chance to work with you again and have their name and phone number on it for further contact if needed.


Practice, practice, practice; it works well in anything you want to accomplish. Remember the first time you learned to drive a car or use roller skates? (GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP AND MAKE SURE YOU EAT BEFORE YOU GO ON AN INTERVIEW. DO NOT TAKE ANY MEDICATIONS OR DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES THAT WILL AFFECT YOUR MANNER; YOU WANT TO BE ALERT AND SHOW YOUR BEST SIDE.) You may consider reading something that will lift your spirits and put you in a confidant and positive mood before you present yourself.


First Impressions Count MALE/ FEMALE Business Suit 2 or 3 Piece Skirted Suit Navy Blue or Dark Pinstripe Solid Color Preferred Starched White Shirt Silk Tie. AVOID: Loud Perfume, jewelry (other than basic, i.e. birthstone, wedding or school rings, watch, simple earrings, necklace or bracelet). Refrain from: smoking, drinking alcohol (even at a lunch interview), and chewing gum. If you carry a cell phone, make sure it is “off” while you are in the interview. If possible, don’t go on an interview if you are ill. It will take the focus off the interview. If you have to go, mention that you are not feeling well or that you are nervous, if that is the case. All of this will be taken into account and not held against you.

Interview Tips

During The Interview


Neatness Counts! Be neat when filling out the application. Make sure you complete all the necessary information accurately even if you have a resume. Bring your references with you, your dates of graduation, schooling and any employment history with dates and names of former or present supervisors and phone numbers.

Fill in the “salary desired” box with “open”. Being prepared says a lot about you and what you’re about. Avoid the use of rambling, wordy responses. Stick to the point and make your questions and answers clear and crisp. Try not to use improper language and/or slang.


Greet the interviewer by offering your firm handshake. When you sit (upon invitation), sit erect, make eye contact and give the interview your undivided attention.

Try to concentrate. If you notice the interview is going off track, get back on by asking a question such as, “Is there anything you’d like to ask me?” If you think the interviewer didn’t understand something, then you can say, “Let me re-state that another way”. Be up-front with information. Be accurate and consistent.

There are questions employers may not be allowed to ask you but you can volunteer the information such as, “I plan to continue school” or, in some cases, “I plan not to return to school”. A “What’s in it for me” attitude can be a turn-off. Admitting that money is your primary motivation will not be well- received. A company will think you probably leave them as soon as you can make more money elsewhere and they know this.

Refrain from discussing sick leave, vacation, time off, benefits, etc. before you are offered the position. Talk opportunity, not security. When the subject of salary comes up (always wait until it is brought up), the best way to handle the very delicate and sometimes uncomfortable subject of money is to ask if they have a range they are working with. “I don’t want to be overpaid or underpaid”, “I want to be paid what I”m worth” are always good answers if you’re pressed for an answer.

If you are asked what your weaknesses are, a good answer may be something like “Sometimes I try to do too many things at once but I’m learning to address my priorities in a better way”. Try to convey that you are an upbeat person who is not a quitter and who is capable of an independent thought. A positive person takes as much energy as a negative person, so why not be positive? It’s much more attractive and sends the right message.

If the interview process includes having lunch or dinner, keep the menu simple and avoid hard to eat foods, such as fried chicken or a set of ribs. Refrain from alcoholic beverages even if the interviewer orders one. Watch your table manners and don’t forget to be polite to the server, as well as the members of your party.

At the conclusion of the interview, ask the interviewer for his business card so you can follow up with a thank you card. Thank the interviewer for the opportunity for the interview. Always smile and end the interview with a good, firm handshake. It is also appropriate to ask the interviewer what his time frame is for filling the position.

If you went through an employment agency, call them after the interview and go over the entire process with them. They will be able to do a thorough follow-up if they have all the information, and after they call the interviewer for feedback, they will guide you in writing a thank you note.


Take your resume in an envelope or a folder to keep it neat and take a pen and notebook. Get to your destination a few minutes early, but not more than 10 minutes ahead. You may want to take a trial run before you go if you are not sure where it is, and don’t be afraid to ask for directions when you set up the appointment. It will not go over well if you are late.

Try not to fidget with jewelry or hands, sit and stand straight. Maintain good eye contact. It shows sincerity and high self-esteem. Be an attentive listener. Bragging or appearing as a “Know-it-all” are also not effective. Do, however, stress achievements. Avoid jokes, especially off-color ones. Never speak “ill” of a former employer.


  • 1. Thank them for taking the time with you, mention the day of the interview. You might also want to mention something they will remember about you, especially if they interviewed a lot of people or are going to interview more.
  • 2. This note will also enable you to say all the things you wished you had said to them after you left the interview.
  • 3. Feel free to mention why you think you should get the job and what you could do for their company.
  • 4. If you know the last day of their interviews (you will have asked them during the interview when they were hoping to reach a decision), make sure your thank you note gets there just before the decision making time.

f you were sent on an interview by an agency, call them up right after an interview, while it’s still fresh in your mind and go over the interview in detail. This will give them your viewpoint to compare with the feedback they will get from the company. Let the agency know your impressions about the company and if you would like to work there.