Thomas Search Group, LLC
Setting the Standard for Recruiting and HR Consulting Excellence !
The interview is the last step of the hiring process--and the most important. It offers both you and the employer
the opportunity to meet one another, exchange information and come to tentative conclusions about "hiring"
The interview is a two-way process. You evaluate the employer while he/she evaluates you. Since there is no
one way of interviewing, you will have to develop your own style. In the short amount of time that you will spend
with a potential employer, you will either be screened in or screened out, so you must project yourself in a positive,
The interview gives the employer the opportunity to meet you in person and to evaluate the "total"
you. This includes your attitude, appearance, personality, confidence, knowledge about yourself, and knowledge
about the company, as well as basic ability to do the job.
I. BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
(The interview starts long before you appear in the interviewer's office.)
1. Research the Employer
Thoroughly research the organization to impress those with whom you meet and to allow more time for you to tell
your story and discuss specifics of the position. Some of the information you will want to know includes:
- size of organization
- location of facilities
- structure of organization - by product line, function, past, current & potential growth
- product line or service
- potential markets, products, services
- present price of stock
- who the competition is
- recent items in the news
It is also important to research issues, trends, problems, and jargon of the field. Such information can be
obtained from people in the field, company literature, public and career libraries, trade journals, newsletters,
business magazines, and directories. Prepare a list of well-researched questions for the interviewer.
2. Know Yourself
* Analyze your strengths and weaknesses and know exactly what you want to say and do not want to say
during the interview.
* Evaluate your developmental areas and be prepared to offer a strong case for these during the interview,
if necessary. Do not volunteer negative information about yourself or a former employment situation.
3. Prepare Yourself
* Know the name, role, and level of responsibility of each individual with whom you are to meet.
* Know exactly how to get to the facility and be prepared to arrive early and stay late.
* Dress to project an image of confidence and success; your total appearance should be appropriate to
* Prepare to bring additional materials to the interview such as copies of your resume, a list of references,
or examples of your accomplishments.
II. DURING THE INTERVIEW
Before the interview you should have considered WHAT you want to communicate and HOW you are going to communicate.
What you will want to communicate are: personal qualities, functional skills, and special areas of knowledge that
relate to the particular interviewer or organization. How you communicate those personal attributes and background
facts is indicated by your attitude, non-verbal behaviors and verbal responses.
Your first task will be to help to build rapport with the interviewer(s). The characteristics of building rapport
involve your (1) attitude and your (2) non-verbal and (3) verbal behaviors.
- Your attitude should be one of openness or sensitivity to the interviewer's style and a feeling of mutual responsibility
for creating a comfortable atmosphere, establishing a common ground. You should be thinking positively. (If you
don't think you are the best candidate for the job, how can you hope to convince the employer you are?)
- The non-verbal behaviors which contribute to rapport are: dress and posture, eye-contact, handshake, voice
level, and gestures.
- The verbal behaviors contributing to build rapport include: courteous observations, initiation of discussion,
disclosure of personal qualities.
Be aware of your body language, how you communicate non-verbally. You will want to convey sincerity, a dedication
to achievement, confidence and a high energy level. These attributes are communicated through your attitude and
actions as well as through your verbal responses.
Be ready to ask questions from your prepared list. Techniques for asking good questions begin with the use of
who, what, when, where, why, and how. Questions should be developed ahead of time and should reflect the amount
of research you have done rather than your lack or research. Refer to the list of "questions to ask"
to help you develop your own list.
Salary questions are usually inappropriate in the first interview, but you should research the salary range
for the job/field ahead of time, consider how much the job is worth to you, and recognize that the pay raise structure
of the organization is just as important as the entry level rate in assessing an offer.
Be alert to and evaluate management style, organizational structure, turnover, job responsibilities and growth
potential, work atmosphere, staff/supervisor and co-worker relationships.
At the end of the interview set parameters for the next contact.
* "When may I expect to hear from you?"
* "What is the next step?"
III. AFTER THE INTERVIEW
- Use the interview as a learning experience. Take notes on what you would like to improve after you leave the
- Send a follow-up letter to thank the interviewer, and stress points in your background that qualify you for
- If you are not contacted within the specified time, call to restate your interest.
- It is usually best not to accept a job offer on the spot; state your interest and appreciation for the offer
and request a reasonable amount of time to consider it, e.g., 1-2 days; 1 week max.
- Be sure to evaluate all aspects of the job before accepting it rather than afterward. Once you have accepted
a position, your commitment is considered binding by the employer.
- If you do not get the job, you may want to ask the interviewer for some constructive criticism or recommendations
for future interviews. If you are consistently passed over for positions, try to identify potential problems; then
seek guidance for improvement.
IV. INTERVIEW CONTENT
Frequently, the interview progresses in stages: (1) establishing rapport, (2) obtaining data from the applicant,
(3) discussing the position and the organization, describing your career objectives, asking interviewer questions,
The content of the interview is based on the style and priorities of the interviewer. Any or all of the approaches
that follow could be used during an interview. The interviewer may want to:
- GATHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION
- Objective: To gather facts about experiences the applicant has faced (probably most common approach).
- Uses detailed questions, usually prepared in advance.
- Follows progression of application/resume as far as experience and education are concerned - basically an amplification
of the resume.
- Yields a wealth of information (including personal) and encourages analysis of data.
- Can be a lengthy process as it covers candidate's life.
- ENCOURAGE DISCUSSION
- Objective: To form an overall impression of the applicant.
- Avoids use of set questions.
- Follows in unstructured progression allowing applicant to set directions.
- Lack of set questions - may not cover significant portion of candidate's background.
- Emphasis is on analysis of impressions, not facts.
- ASK PROBING/HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS
- Objective: To evaluate probable job performance or technical knowledge of the applicant.
- Asks hypothetical questions (what would you do if?) related to job performance based on candidate's concepts
or attitudes of what it takes to do a given job.
- Asks for solutions, recommendations.
- Requires a set of situations carefully prepared in advance.
- Does not give a broad range of personality characteristics.
- Requires a skilled interviewer.
- ASSESS PAST BEHAVIORS
- Objective: To identify characteristics and uncover competencies of the applicant, leaving the interviewer
to draw conclusions and evaluate what the applicant is likely to do in certain situations.
- Asks questions that will reveal what the applicant has actually done, focusing on both positive and negative
- Concentration on in-depth description to which the interviewer will compare the candidate's qualifications.
- Requires employer to establish beforehand "model" descriptions to which he/she will compare the candidate's
- Requires careful formulation of questions so that all areas of model are covered.
QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK EMPLOYERS (Use only if applicable to your situation)
Your research of an organization or position may not provide all of the information that you will need before
you take a job. Listed below are sample questions that may be asked during the interview to supplement your research.
Avoid asking questions that begin with "is", "are", and "do". These questions lead
to yes/no answers. Instead, begin your questions with who, what, when, where, why, how, etc.
- How would your describe the duties of the position?
- How would you describe a typical day in this position?
- How much travel is normally expected?
- How frequently do you relocate professional employees?
- Why are you looking to fill this position? (Is it a newly created job? Did the previous employee leave? Why?)
- How many people have had this position and where have they gone?
- What is the average stay in this position?
- Outside my department, who else will I work with?
- How much evening or weekend work is expected?
- How high a priority is this department within the organization?
- What are the prospects for advancement beyond this level?
- How does one advance in the organization?
- How often are performance reviews given?
- How often do the training programs begin?
- About how many individuals go through your training program each year?
- How does your company's tuition reimbursement program work?
- What new product lines/services have been announced recently?
- What is the average age of top management?
- Will you describe ______________ to me? (The personality of a ranking officer often reveals a lot about the
- Could you tell me about public transportation to your company?
- How many people are you interviewing for this position?
- What are the things you like least/most about working here?
- If I am extended an offer of employment, how soon after this would you like me to start?
- What can I tell you about my qualifications?
- When can I expect to hear from you?
QUESTIONS YOU MAY BE ASKED IN THE INTERVIEW
The best questions to ask are those which begin with who, what, when, where, why, or how. Please attend to those
"lead" words as you ask and answer questions in the interview.
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOURSELF
- Tell me about yourself.
- What do you consider to be one of your weaknesses (strengths)?
- What can you do that someone else can't do?
- What qualifications do you have that indicate you will be successful in your field? How would they relate to
our position? What do you have to offer?
- What are your own special abilities?
- What new skills or capabilities have you developed over the past year?
- What have you done which shows initiative and willingness to work?
- What are your greatest work and non-work accomplishments during the past two years?
- Describe three things that are most important to you in a job.
- What motivates you?
- What have you been doing since your graduation from colleg Since you left your last job?
- How would a co-worker, or friend, or boss describe you?
- What are your interests outside of work, school?
- What qualities do you admire most in others?
- How would you describe your own work style?
QUESTIONS SPECIFIC TO THE COMPANY/JOB
- Why should we hire you?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What do you know about this organization?
- What salary do you expect?
- Why do you think you would like this type of position? Company?
- What kind of boss do you like to work for?
- How long do you intend to stay here?
- What do you think determines a person's progress in an organization?
- What interests you about our product or service? How would you improve it?
- What do you think would be your greatest contribution to our operation?
- How do you solve problems?
- When can you start to work?
- Can you travel overnight?
The interview is often a tense situation. The better prepared you are the better you will perform.
Thomas Search Group is an equal opportunity employer and enforces the premise that there
will be no discrimination with regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age,
physical or mental disability, or veteran status.
Thank You! We appreciate your business !!