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ACE YOUR INTERVIEW
DEMYSTIFYING THE INTERVIEW PROCESS ★ SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ★ GOOD ANSWERS TO TOUGH QUESTIONS
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Ace Your Interview
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production or delivery of this guide be liable to you or any other person for damages of any kind arising from access to.em-lyon. All illustrations by mckibillo Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. PA 19102 Phone: (215) 546-4900 Fax: (215) 546-9921 Website: www. you do so at your own risk.com ACe Your intervieW 3rd Edition ISBN: 978-1-58207-995-0 PhotoCoPYing is Prohibited Copyright 2012 WetFeet. No copying in any form is permitted. It may not be reproduced.wetfeet. stored in a retrieval system. or transmitted in any form or by any means. or sale of this WetFeet Insider Guide make no warranty.com . The materials contained herein are general in nature and may not apply to particular factual or legal circumstances. author. delivery. Under no circumstances shall the publisher. or any other party involved in creation. its content. distributed. Inc. about the accuracy or reliability of the information found herein. express or implied. without the express written permission of WetFeet. or use of. All rights reserved. in part or in whole. author. production. and any other party involved in creation.Ace Your Interview WetFeet 1518 Walnut St. Suite 1800 Philadelphia.634622997955102786 . This publication is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America. To the degree you use this guide or other materials referenced herein. The publisher.
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Ace Your Interview CHAPTer 1 1 demYstiFYing the intervieW ProCess 2 Overview 2 What Employers Want 2 9 getting reAdY 10 Know the Field 12 Know yourself 3 17 the big dAY 18 Look the Part 18 Tips from Head to Toe 3 Know the Job 3 Deciphering the ad 21 Bring the Right Stuff 5 Interview Essentials 3rd edition Ace Your Interview Licensed to firstname.lastname@example.org .634622997955102786 .em-lyon.
em-lyon.4 23 the big moment 30 dddd 24 Showing Up 24 Building Rapport 26 Showing your Strengths 5 41 For Your reFerenCe 42 additional Interviewing Resources 42 General Interviewing advice 27 Say it with Body Language 43 Job Search Resources 28 Master the art of Q&a 43 Background Research Tools 35 Special Cases 44 Salary 36 Reach an Effective Conclusion Negotiation Tools 37 your Exit Strategy 38 Follow-Up contents Licensed to email@example.com .634622997955102786 .
com .em-lyon.634622997955102786 .Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu.
em-lyon.....................com ......634622997955102786 Demystifying the Interview Process Overview........................................................................................1 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu... 5 . 2 Know the Job ........ 3 Interview Essentials .... 2 What Employers Want ..... 3 Deciphering the Ad ...
but that conversation could be the most important one of your life. it’s like you’re being raked over hot coals— with the sweat to prove it. to see if you’ll be an asset to the workplace. Know your strengths and highlight them. organizations are especially eager to hire people whom they think will fit within a team. Prepare to shine.com .Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS Overview › Dating. When interviewing. But of course you aren’t simply chewing over a movie you’ve just seen or making plans to watch Sunday’s game. You radiate charm and intelligence. you feel as good as you look. You’ve had conversations before. They’re already intrigued by your skills—that’s why they’re interviewing you in the first place. and integrity—will set you apart from other qualified candidates. Your confidence. You’ve had conversations before. One essential fact to recognize: An interview is simply a conversation about a job. And that’s really all you need to do to succeed in an interview. Dancing. just realize she has one goal in mind: identifying a plausible candidate and hiring that person. Ace Your Interview will guide you through the preparations necessary to keep that conversation focused and productive. creativity. right? Then you’ve already explored ideas with another person. but interviewers aren’t looking for a walking. The interviewer is interrogating you.634622997955102786 . right? 2 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Will You Mesh With the teaM? The corporate workplace is increasingly a team-driven environment. So. Because of this. enthusiasm. You’re talking about the future of your career. put aside the drama. and help you keep your wits together even when the stakes seem alarmingly high. You can parry the toughest questions and present yourself as a real pro. Intangible attributes—resourcefulness.em-lyon. posed questions. She’s posing brainteasers and “gotcha” questions. But as tense as the situation might seem. knowledge. with a great degree of accuracy. The reason they need to meet with you in person is to gauge your personal qualities. drive. The steps we outline might seem like a lot of effort for a half-hour conversation. you’ll recognize that an interview is simply a conversation about a job. talking resume. what emplOyers want ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE if you put aside the drama for a moment. On the big day. walking on fire…interviewing has been compared to all of these. initiative. give employers what they want and be the candidate they’re looking for. hiring managers are hoping to explore some basic areas: Do We Want to Work With You? You might enter an interview prepared to recite a litany of skills and work experience. Make sure the personal strengths you plan to emphasize in your interview match the demands of the position. This might mean a tough adjustment for Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. and understanding should confirm what your interviewer is already predisposed to believe: that bringing you in for an interview is a wise move and that hiring you is even wiser. But just for a moment. If the interview is going well. She’s seeking someone with a demonstrable capacity for delivering results. present yourself as a candidate with the right skills and temperament for the job. › it’s all too easy to look at an interview as an adversarial situation. It’s a conversation that has high stakes for both participants. adaptability. though. If it’s going badly. and kept the exchange rolling until it reached a natural conclusion. given considered answers.
They can provide a company with information about what people really feel and can help predict what kind of decisions will be made. professor of management at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT KnOw the JOb › Before You heaD into a job interview. What’s Your eQ? Interviewers are probably less interested in your IQ than your EQ—your emotional intelligence. what kind of behavior will occur.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS academic high achievers who are used to working on their own. Employers are learning that intelligence isn’t always the most desired attribute for prospective employees.em-lyon. This can be a competitive advantage in the interview process because you’ll have more information than other candidates and a better sense of what to ask and say. If you can demonstrate you meet these criteria. But because those responsibilities could determine the shape of your daily life. ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day InsIder sCOOP “Emotions need to be taken seriously. But these can be misleading.” . Don’t be too quick to discount a job based on the title alone. You can have a high IQ and still lack common sense and empathy. required skill sets (such as software programs. your application is likely to rise to the top of the heap. and what types of relationships will be formed. and degrees or certifications. core competencies or areas of specialization. The salary might be better than › Because manY JoB boards and career sites charge for classified ads by the word or limit the space available for employment listings. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy resPonsibilities When looking at a job posting. You’ll be better able to gauge if the job suits your career goals and you’ll be better prepared for the interview itself. language skills. you need to know what you’re applying for. Any description of the job’s day-to-day responsibilities will give you a much clearer sense of the job’s outlines than the title alone.com .634622997955102786 . you also must convey you are a thoughtful. the job posting might be short on specifics—especially pertaining to day-to-day responsibilities. a posting often lists additional qualifications and skills that can help in the job. perfectly smart people were responsible for the downfall of Lehman Brothers.Sigal Barsade. collegial coworker with a sense of personal responsibility. The interview will reveal more about the job’s specifics. it’s natural to pay more attention to the qualifications sought than the responsibilities involved in the job itself. But as much as interviewers might be gauging your individual strengths. If the ad doesn’t give a real sense of the job’s responsibilities. WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 3 Deciphering the aD ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. it pays to take heed. Although you’ll want to impress your prospective employer with your smarts. they are also evaluating your ability to be a team player. other technical skills). contact the employer and ask for a more detailed job description. Qualifications This typically includes years of experience. and important than you think. interesting. you expect and the day-to-day responsibilities might be far more varied. especially when it comes at the expense of good sense—after all. but the following elements will help you understand its general contours: Position title Many job seekers use titles as search criteria. In addition to required qualifications.
with at least 8 years in increasingly responsible office management position(s) .Consumer packaged goods background an asset Candidates should be prepared to provide at least three professional references attesting to professionalism.634622997955102786 . salary: above industry standard.com . sense of humor.Meeting planning background a plus .10–15 years of experience in administrative roles. but also the support staff and resources needed to advance company goals with utmost efficiency and excellence. flexible spending account. requirements: . vision and dental coverage for employee and family.em-lyon.Proficiency with Microsoft project management utilities . ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy 4 W E T F E E T I N S ID ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. then lists required skills—a tactic for helping employers narrow the field. ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT This posting offers enticing enough details about the position to encourage an application. and people skills. project management. These questions go unanswered: • What tasks will consume most of your time? • Who will you interact with most on a day-to-day basis? • Who else will be on your team? • How many people will you be expected to manage? • Will you be able to set your own budget? • Who will you report to? • What kinds of vendors will you have to manage? • How much will you need to learn about consumer packaged goods to do your job effectively? • How many different tasks will you be expected to juggle at any one time? • What hours will you work each week? • Will you ever have to work weekends or evenings? • Is telecommuting a possibility? • Is there any specialized knowledge that would benefit you in this job? Your questions might yield more complete responses. budget management. profit-sharing after one year.Proven experience effectively interacting with all levels of employees . charitable donation matching program. But what does this posting really tell you about the job? You might deduce there is a fair amount of interpersonal interaction. staff management. multitasking capacity. you will have autonomy to make decisions. and some meeting planning involved. As Head Office Manager. 401(k) with employer matching contributions. DOE Full benefits package includes excellent health. but that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. ones that answer your initial questions and give a much clearer sense of what exactly the job entails day in and day out.Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS here’s an ad that leaves questions unanswered: head office manager (ft) Fortune 1000 company with 30-year track record of growth seeks accomplished professional with 8+ years of office management experience to manage daily operations of headquarters in Chicago.Budgeting and fiscal management capabilities . Armed with this new knowledge. you’ll be significantly better prepared for your interview.Expertise in managing a wide range of vendors .
Most important of all.) for all HQ events. enthusiasM This is basic. including equipment maintenance . interview essentials ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy facilities management (35%) .Manage and mentor administrative staff. Don’t overstate your accomplishments.Work directly with senior partners to plan major meetings. Make eye contact. the employer will quickly pass you over—it’s that simple. you’re cooked. and implement all major office-related purchasing decisions.Maintain central calendar for use by HQ . If you’re unenthusiastic at the start of the process. and entertainment for affiliates as needed by senior management . describing the preparation you’ll need and the tactics you can use to make the interview a success. During the nerve-wracking course of a job interview. Sit upright.Assist HR in hiring administrative staff › this Book offers a step-by-step guide through the interview process. Speak up. Give concrete examples of how you’ve put them to use. dinners.Set quarterly goals for administrative staff. it bodes ill for your future demeanor on the job. But if you don’t seem avid about the prospect. from vendor/supplier selection through final implementation/installation .Be accessible by beeper for facilities emergencies ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT meeting/event planning (25%) . but not too fast. But it’s useful to bear in mind the overall image you want to project when the big moment arrives. You should make your enthusiasm clear through attentive posture. You may say you’re enthusiastic about the chance to work for the company. smile.Hire and manage outside vendors (catering. and conferences with other company divisions . Greet the interviewer warmly. and trainings . Don’t fidget.Create and manage office supply budget . entertainment. Enthusiasm alone won’t land you the job. but don’t downplay them either.Oversee support staff and vendors responsible for facilities management. meeting planners. and offer a firm handshake. including Chicago-based trainings.Research. Keep self-deprecating ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 5 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu.Direct office renovations and ensure ADA and ergonomic compliance throughout office . this might be easier said than done. an alert tone of your voice. and a smile that says you’re glad to be there.em-lyon.” Let him know up front you’re glad to have this opportunity. mailroom. product launches. and make regular progress reports to VP HR on success toward these goals .Be on-call during events and launches in case of emergency confiDence You have to demonstrate confidence in yourself to inspire an employer’s confidence in you. including front desk. but if you act apathetic or bored. You should say something like. parties.Coordinate off-site receptions.634622997955102786 .ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS here’s what a more complete listing might look like: Title: head office manager Location: hQ Status: ft (exempt) responsibilities include: administrative staﬀ management (40%) . and I’m really excited about this position and eager to learn more about it. and other staff .Manage office calendar and administrative staff workflow using Microsoft utilities . But bear in mind the basics of confident body language: Make frequent eye contact with your interviewer. “I’m delighted you’re taking the time to meet me. but not rigidly.com . etc. budget. come prepared to state your strengths. And lip service isn’t enough. office events.
But these are not necessarily abilities you want to highlight. If he makes an offhanded remark about work styles or company culture.Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy humor to a minimum: It might be fine when you’re with your friends. when you become part of the team. Your common sense should prepare you to give sound answers to any questions that might arise about how you would handle a specific problem on the job. focus No doubt you have a wide range of abilities that might impress other people. about shared professional interests. Present yourself as a specialized professional who has an appeal to a general audience: Your interviewer wants to know you have the specific skills and strengths needed to excel at your job. get him to elucidate: “I’m intrigued to hear that—can you tell me more?” Nonverbal cues are key too. practice techniques for managing your nerves. You’re bound to want to know aspects of the job your research hasn’t revealed. The details will emerge later. You’ll make a more effective impression if you talk about the talents you know match the job description. the interviewer will be too. give yourself a pep talk before the interview. Better yet. You CAn’t KnoW everYthing Some people spend the night before an interview boning up on company facts and figures as though cramming for the test of their lives. Give your interviewer a chance to contribute to the conversation. but also that you are approachable. and to give reasonable answers. Furthermore.634622997955102786 . you should be paying close attention to clues the interviewer offers and following up with questions where appropriate. If you’re at ease. flexible. If you notice the interviewer makes a face or hesitates before speaking. but this is neither the time nor place for it. You do need to know something about the industry and the organization but you’re not expected to know it all—just enough to ask your interviewer informed questions. Like any other conversation. an interview requires give and take. so don’t expect to dominate it. and willing to learn. These details will give you valuable insight into the job and the culture. If remaining confident is a struggle for you. Or. enlist an enthusiastic friend to give you one. who might soon be coworkers. to understand the questions your interviewer asks. unless they relate to the qualities you’ll bring to the job. they are an exchange between two people.com . ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day 6 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. and help you adapt your responses to fit.em-lyon. But interviews aren’t oral exams. whether it’s prowess on the soccer field or a Broadway-ready singing voice. Questions The interviewer shouldn’t be the only party asking questions. such as deep breathing and visualizing success. ask him if there’s a reason for the gesture.
ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 7 Licensed to firstname.lastname@example.org .em-lyon.com .
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Know the Field............................ 10 Know Yourself ............................. 12
Ace Your Interview
ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS
KnOw the FielD
› You’ve Just haD your morning coffee when you
get the call you’ve been waiting for: Could you come in for an interview next week? You schedule a time, hang up the phone, do your victory dance…and then what? Hold your breath for the next seven days? Not if you want your interview to live up to its promise. You might think you can wing it. Maybe that tactic worked back in school, but there’s no grading curve in an interview. If you aren’t prepared to shine, someone else will be—and only one of you is going to get the job. Now is the time for preparation. If you do your due diligence, you’ll be sleeping like a baby the night before the interview.
Every industry reacts to trends and recent developments; you should know these before you sit down to the interview. If you’re interviewing at an investment bank, for instance, you’ll want to have a good general knowledge of the role the financial sector has played in recent economic upturns or downturns. Do an online search to identify the biggest industry stories during the past year. You’ll need to know the company’s main competitors and what kinds of pressure they’re applying. You’ll also need to understand relevant industry terms. They might come up in the interview. If you’re new to the industry, the interviewer won’t expect you to know every bit of jargon. But your mastery of basic terms will show you’re a quick study, ready and eager to learn the ropes.
ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy
ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day
“For any interview, you need to be prepared to show competence and intelligent interest,” says licensed career counselor Rosanne Lurie. “Confidence will only get you so far: No interviewer wants to waste time on people who just waltz in with no idea of the organization or industry trends. Their response is, ‘If you haven’t bothered to take this position seriously, why should I bother to take you seriously?’”
Researching the organization will help you determine whether this is the right work environment for you, which of your skills and strengths might especially benefit the organization, and what specific organizational challenges you might be able to help solve. This information should give you insight into the organization’s culture, needs, and expectations so you’ll be better prepared for the interview. And, this will give you a key advantage over any candidate who hasn’t prepared as thoroughly as you have. Of course, the news media—newspapers, industry publications, business magazines—are good sources for information about the company. You should find out if the firm has won any awards or accolades recently; these are sources of company pride, and your interviewer will take your mention of them as an implicit compliment.
You should think of the preparation for the interview as a puzzle that needs solving. The employer has needs; you have strengths, experience, goals, and interests. How do they match up? Your answers will come as you prepare. After you receive the call inviting you in for an interview, the first thing you should do is consult the original job posting. (You should make a file of every job posting you answer.) You’ll want to comb it for clues, as detailed in “Deciphering the Ad” in Chapter 1. If you haven’t done so, this is an ideal time to request additional details; the company will see it as evidence of your sincere interest in the job. That’s just the first step. Now you need to dig deeper. By the time you get to the interview, you should have a good idea of what the company does, how it operates, and how it fits into its industry.
ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE
ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT
You can find a host of invaluable careerand industry-specific information on www. wetfeet.com. WetFeet also publishes Insider Guides on a number of industries.
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ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS
Check out the organization’s annual report and scan press reports online to find out what the department has accomplished in the past year. You should go even further. Email friends and former colleagues and ask them if they know anyone who works at the firm or look for connections on LinkedIn. Once you unearth these contacts, explain your interest in the company and ask if they’d be willing to answer some questions. These people can probably give you a better sense of the company’s priorities than any news article can hope to.
In all but the smallest organizations, you won’t be interviewing simply to work at the company, but to join a specific team. Find out all you can about
the team’s recent projects and successes. When you reach a contact inside the organization, be sure to ask what she knows about the team and the person who will be interviewing you. The “About Us” page on the company’s website also might offer some vital clues. If you can find any personal information about the interviewer—use it. Perhaps there’s a point of connection, such as a conference you both attended, a city where you both lived, or a colleague you have in common. In general, if you can convey your excitement about the team’s accomplishments to your interviewer, you’ll be remembered as an enthusiastic, enterprising candidate who is likely to be a great asset.
ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy
CheCKlist: bACKground reseArCh
I am aware of three key competitive pressures facing the industry today. I can think of three competitive opportunities that make this a promising business to be in. I can name the top ten news items in the industry for the past year. When I read through a trade publication, I do not come across many terms with which I am unfamiliar.
ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day
Make a copy of this checklist for each position you interview for. I am able to name the company’s three main competitive advantages. I can name three of the company’s main accomplishments in its history and three major accomplishments in the past year. I can name the top three news items about this company in the past year. I can recount the basics of the company’s history, including how the company was founded. I know the names of the top executives in the company. When I read through the organization’s website, I do not stumble over any terms.
ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT
I know the company’s website very well. I am familiar with this organization’s business model and know how it makes its money. I am aware of the key competitive pressures facing the organization today. I have visited the websites of the organization’s three main competitors.
ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE
I know the names of the team leaders, including those who would be my direct supervisors. I have read all available team member bios on the website, and know where they are from and what their qualifications are.
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After all. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy strengths Many job applicants confuse strengths with skills. The totality of what you can offer to a potential employer isn’t just a sum of places worked. with customers overseas. That’s why interviewers tend to be more interested in candidates who have all the strengths needed to do the job well than those who bring mere skills—no matter how impressive—to the table. such as facility with a software application. But your strengths will shine every day you report for work. it’s better to show you’ve already learned a few important life lessons. These traits can’t be acquired through training. your comfort with other cultures is a definite bonus. If it’s a customer-care position. patient. Strengths. That anecdote will help show you’re thorough and responsible enough to handle fiscal responsibilities.em-lyon. on the other hand. are your best personal attributes. it could mean your abilities have come so easily to you that you have no idea what it’s like to really work at developing a skill. Some you were born with and others you have cultivated during the course of your life experience. these can be acquired. Is this a position that requires handling large sums of money? Then the right candidate will be someone who’s responsible. • For each of the necessary personal strengths for this position. he’s bound to ask you some ques- ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT 12 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. It’s an interesting tale of strengths discovered.Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS KnOw yOurselF › Your resume saYs a lot about your career. You’ll come across as more experienced. and education received. make a list of the personal strengths that will probably be required for this job. and empathetic. They’ll speak as strongly to your interviewer as any specific skills you bring to the table. and human. and ethical. if the company is sufficiently impressed with you. Maybe your thriftiness led you to track down a reliable small accounting firm in Virginia to handle an audit instead of going with that expensive Big Four firm that was later charged with fraudulent accounting methods. A skill might be something you’ll deploy on an as-needed basis. they’ll be looking for someone who is personable.com . reliable. A training course will get you up to speed on the software program.634622997955102786 . If it looks like you’ll be working ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day InsIder sCOOP “Employers look for people who go beyond their defined job description. it will invest the time to get you up to speed. Rather than working at projecting an image of perfection. interests pursued. Skills are abilities that can be cultivated with a certain amount of training. lessons learned. Here are some exercises that will help you bring them to the fore: • While looking over the job description. tasks performed. it could mean you’re hiding some terrible flaw that will only come to the fore after you’ve been hired. hard-working. This is the kind of narrative that can truly engage an interviewer. Let’s say you can recall a time when you caught an oversight on the annual report. Because it’s an interviewer’s job to probe for possible shortcomings. In most cases.” lessons learneD Nothing is more suspicious—or less impressive—than a flawless candidate. think of an anecdote that illustrates your strength in this regard. Or. Hiring managers want candidates who have demonstrated an ability to learn and recover from mistakes. but the abilities to bounce back and not repeat them are crucial. so it’s time to start putting it together. If you seem to exhibit no human failings. but it doesn’t tell your whole story. and from then on were entrusted with double-checking the financial numbers on all investor communications. You might not be aware of your own strengths. and plans hatched. mistakes are inevitable. wise.
worse yet. served on the board of my state’s arts council. Tell the interviewer about your misstep—then tell how you retraced your path and recovered. Find a way to tell her you’re that person. What evidence do you have of your interests? I developed programs for school groups at the museum. You should come prepared with a story to tell.com . be aware it might have exactly the opposite effect by making you seem disingenuous and sowing the seeds of doubt in her mind. ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE how are your interests relevant to the position? Lobbyists often hire the firm to help them build an effective case for funding school programs. the lesson learned will demonstrate your maturity and your ability to address adversity. Statements like these are not only too broad—what kind of insurance do you find so fascinating?—but also easily refutable: If this has been a lifelong fascination. endlessly fascinating. ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT interests “I’ve always found insurance billing so fascinating…. and because of my long-standing commitment to the issue. You might begin to build a case based on your interests by answering the following questions: ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day Why does the position interest you? As an advocate for the arts and a parent. not someone who might quit in disgust when he finds out insurance billing is not. tedious. and testified at state hearings about the impact of cuts on school arts programs. I’d be thorough and passionate in mounting WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 13 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. Rather than risk sounding insincere. Do you like solving mathematical problems? This could well indicate a propensity for dealing with the complexities of insurance billing. Your interviewer is looking to hire someone who is going to be passionate enough about the work to stick with it even when it gets challenging or. clearly calculated to please the interviewer.” Hold it right there! Before you make such a statement. Let’s say you’re trying to make the leap from a career as a museum curator to a position with a consulting firm that specializes in educational policy. think long and hard about the job and the elements that do address your longtime interests.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS tion about your blunders. while staying true to yourself.634622997955102786 . I’ve long been concerned that public schools are not providing kids with sufficient opportunities to think creatively and discover their passions. why haven’t you done it before? The interviewer is looking for a candidate who can envision the challenges ahead. But how can you talk about one of your own mistakes without impugning your credibility as a candidate? By presenting it as a lesson learned.em-lyon. This position is just the opportunity I’ve been looking for to have an impact on educational policy at a broad level. Rather than being an indication of weakness. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy Making the leap A persuasive explanation of your interests can help you make a convincing case for switching careers. after all.
Also.em-lyon. Even if the interviewer doesn’t ask it. well. consider the skills you might develop in the job.com . goals To make a successful case for yourself as a candidate. You might have all the qualifications the job demands. a job. ask yourself questions about the following areas. industry. You need to be clear on how the job would fit into your life plans—for your own sake and to present a compelling case in the interview. And that will only happen if you’ve convinced yourself. If you’re a midcareer candidate. not out of expediency. But if you can’t think of any career goals this position will help you attain. such as management skills.634622997955102786 .Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS campaigns and developing winning grant proposals. If you’re aiming for an entry-level position. ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day 14 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. I can help coach clients on becoming effective advocates for their programs. because I have given testimony in state hearings. underline your interest in honing them. • impact: Will this job offer an opportunity to change my community. but as an important step on your career path. but the interviewer needs to know you’re pursuing the job over all other options rather than just falling into it by default. she will try to gauge your level of interest in the field. your interviewer should be convinced you’re taking this job as a sound career move. focus your answer on potential career-development areas. or the world for the better? • Pride: Will the job give me opportunities to shine? Will I be producing work that will add to my own sense of self-worth? • learning: What worthwhile areas of knowledge will the job help me explore? The full rewards of a job might not be clear to you until you’ve actually started it. Ideally. “Where do you see yourself in five (or ten) years?” is a standard interview question. your potential commitment to the company. As you’re putting together the career-goals component of the story. or on areas in your field you’d like to explore. Figure out what ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy the next two positions might be in the corporate hierarchy and mention these represent goals for you. it’s a sign of trouble ahead. you have to convince the interviewer you do not look at the job as. and your long-range planning skills. In the interview.
com .ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 15 Licensed to email@example.com .
634622997955102786 .em-lyon.Licensed to firstname.lastname@example.org .
.............com ............................. 21 ... 18 Bring the Right Stuff ..........Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. 18 Tips from Head to Toe..em-lyon...634622997955102786 3 The Big Day Look the Part ........
Ask whether your look seems appropriate for the job. company. and industry for which you’ll be interviewing. Established employees might have earned the right to wear sneakers on the job. you risk showing up looking disheveled and unprofessional. If you have dreadlocks. but you definitely want to make sure your hair reflects the orderliness you intend to bring to the job.Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS lOOK the part › You’ve sPent the past week preparing for your interview. wrinkles. you can wear it down (as long as it doesn’t look shaggy). from the hair on your head to the shoes on your feet. Think of a job interview as a formal social event. or in a neat updo. Plan aheaD Put the same kind of preparation into planning your self-presentation that you’ve put into your job research. jew- for WoMen hair You don’t need to look as carefully coiffed as a TV-news anchorwoman. you wake up one morning and it’s right upon you. What do you look like? elry. The accepted rule of thumb is to make your outfit one or two notches more conservative than what you’d wear in the position if you were to land it. From the time you get up until the moment you walk through the interviewer’s door. You’ve worked hard to put your best foot forward. If you have long hair. Avoid ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE 18 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. where certain conventions of dress need to be obeyed. > TIP Model your entire interview outfit for someone whose taste in clothing—and honesty— you trust. when you walk through that door. loose buttons. you’ve assiduously researched the industry.em-lyon. lint. Remember. it’s you the employer is going to see—not your resume. These might vary from industry to industry and company to company.634622997955102786 . gather them in a tiny bundle at the nape of your neck. and hanging threads. Show you care about the position by taking the time to look sharp. This will leave you enough time to make any necessary wardrobe fixes if you discover your suit needs dry cleaning or your stockings have a run. One great tactic to guide you in your self-presentation is to take a look at your resume. and make sure your attire is consistent with the professional expectations of the position. Pick out your clothing at least three days before your interview. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy conservative values You do want to keep in mind the dress code at the company you’re targeting. Ever since you got the appointment for an interview. You’ve assembled a great resume and written an attention-grabbing cover letter.com . Lay out your clothes. If you assemble your outfit in a 15-minute mad dash as you rush out to the interview. the choices you make will be crucial to your chances of landing a job offer. Who’s the person described there? Consider your interview attire an outward reflection of your inner strengths. The way you look should reflect the professionalism you intend to bring to the job. Here’s how you can make sure your look is appropriate. ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT tips FrOm heaD tO tOe › the PeoPle You’ll meet at your interview will be assessing everything about you. socks. the company. and the team. and shoes the night before the interview and make sure they’re all clean and free of rips. like a wedding. but you haven’t yet. pulled back with a barrette. You should pay the same close attention to your outfit and grooming. but you’ll still want to dress more formally than the office norm—you’ll embarrass yourself far less doing this than by showing up more casually dressed than the interviewer sitting across from you.
You can dress conservatively.” ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 19 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. this is an especially important consideration in conservative corporate settings such as banks. If your hair makes a statement. Nail polish should be a neutral shade. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy Makeup Of course.em-lyon. you’re giving him an opportunity to look at your nails. it should not fall more than an inch or two above the knee. Even if you’re interviewing for a relatively freewheeling company. you’ll want to make yourself up to look your best. You may keep the top button unbuttoned to convey an air of relaxation and confidence. consider toning it down: That wacky 1940s snood has to go. or emphasize a point with a hand gesture. ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT InsIder sCOOP nails Whenever you shake hands with your interviewer. But patterned stockings are a bad idea. Your blouse should be monochrome or in a very discreet pattern and in nonassertive shades. opaque stockings in subdued tones of black. brown. and fishnets are out of the question. and kneehigh red rubber wading boots. flowered. Of course. You should keep them short or midlength—office work “A woman arrived for her interview in a faded. Your outfit You can wear a business suit or a well-coordinated outfit of a jacket with a skirt or pants. conservative is not a necessarily a synonym for dowdy or square. nude pantyhose make the best choice for stockings. there could be a generational gap between you the interviewer.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS ribbons and glittery hairclips—those are more appropriate to a high-school cheerleading squad than an office. that attention to detail will be noticed. then take one item off. They should be clean and well shaped. nose rings. If you don’t shave your legs. We ended up hiring a guy whose shoes I can’t remember—and perhaps that’s as it should be.com . ruffled shirt. In conservative industries. such as whites or pastels. Remember the old saw about jewelry: Put on all you plan to wear. your makeup should be subtle—no brightly colored eye shadow or lipstick and no heavy mascara or eyeliner. If you wear a skirt. but elegantly and stylishly as well.634622997955102786 . You don’t want interviewers to be so blinded by your flashy accessories that they overlook you as a person. Be sure to wear them a few times before the day of the interview— if your toes or heel are blistered. it should be crisply ironed and stainfree. > TIP When it comes to fashion. be sure to wear pants or opaque stockings. Get rid of eyebrow hoops. clashing plaid kilt. you’ll literally have started the day off on the wrong foot. ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day Jewelry Keep it understated. Avoid any jewelry that makes noise. carrying a battered manila folder with papers spilling out. and lip and tongue studs. and those should be just a pair of demure studs rather than attentiongrabbing hoops. You aren’t aiming for a career on the stage! shoes and stockings Sensible. low-heeled shoes are a must. in more creative fields. pass him material. this isn’t an opportunity to flash your gams. But. The shade can be bright—but not loud—and it should match some other aspect of your outfit. who might have come of age before facial piercings became acceptable. Think about how you would fit in with the organization. or charcoal are widely acceptable. and long nails don’t mix. The only facial jewelry you should wear is earrings. but under no circumstances should you expose skin below the clavicle.
frayed cuffs. Long hair is becoming more acceptable in the workplace— at least in more creative environments—but it should never look unkempt or unclean. so it’s usually best to sport a tie. In some fields—technology. Your shirt should be in a neutral monochrome or. this is the first ensemble people will see. Your outfit Even if it isn’t the industry norm. law firm. Say goodbye to your foot-high Mohawk or your rainbow weave. discreetly patterned. not your physical ones. shoulder or arms. Either pull it back or use grooming products to keep it out of your face during the interview. it’s a plus if you had a haircut less than two weeks before the interview. In more conservative fields. If you choose to wear a jacket. the arts. not too baggy and not too tight. stick with the classic regimental stripe or the subtly patterned red power tie.Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS for Men hair Neat. Pants should be flat-front instead of pleated. you’ll have a chance to revisit the issue if you get the job.634622997955102786 . but it also shouldn’t be baggy. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy Jewelry and accessories An ear stud might be acceptable but it should be as understated as possible. even if you end up as the only person in the office wearing one. When you work in the office. make sure they look traditional and don’t attract a lot of attention. You should wear them at least a few times before the day of the interview to make sure that they’re a comfortable fit. a scarf. or pulled threads. you want to impress him with your professional assets. Give as much care to your outerwear as to your business attire. If you have short hair. such as holes. ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE 20 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. neckwear With business casual becoming the norm in many industries. a yellowed collar. In more conservative industries. you can have fun with bold patterns and bright colors. don’t make the mistake of deciding to wear a shirt that isn’t quite right and covering it up with a sweater or jacket for the duration of the interview. Neither jacket nor pants should be made of denim or khaki—those fabrics are too casual for an interview no matter what the setting. and this solution will only make you hot and uncomfortable when the pressure is on. ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day > TIP If the weather is cold. In the more creative professions. you’ll want to wear a business suit or a nicely matched outfit of pants and jacket. Trim your eyebrows and get rid of any nose or ear hair. Get rid of any other facial jewelry. If your shirt requires cufflinks. but not in more corporate settings. But the interview is a special case.com . at most.em-lyon. it’s possible you’ll be interviewing at a company that doesn’t require men to wear a tie every day. and a hat.) Wear an undershirt to keep chest hair and pecChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT shoes and socks Your shoes should be dark and polished. Socks should be dark and long enough to come up past your pant cuffs when sitting. (Baggy shirts will show more wrinkles than well-fitting ones. tweeds and corduroys might work for academic or scientific jobs. toral muscles out of sight and out of the interviewer’s mind. Whatever you do. you’ll be wearing a coat and maybe gloves. clean and carefully groomed is the way to go. it should be short and well trimmed. inspect it to make sure it’s clean and shows no obvious signs of wear. social services. or consulting company. and media—it might even seem strange to wear a tie to work. You can’t predict what the climate control in the interview room will be like. It shouldn’t cling around the neck. Before you put your shirt on. The classic gray business suit will usually prevail in conservative settings such as a bank. consider leaving it at home. If you have facial hair.
leave behind a stamped. Don’t put anyone on the spot—a grudging reference is worse than none at all. hard-to-please interviewer will be impressed by independent. One more thing you might bring along: a cheat sheet of questions you hope to ask or of points you want to make. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day > TIP If you live too far away to return and pick up the portfolio you’ve dropped off. Offer to walk your interviewer through your portfolio. it’s possible you might never see the portfolio again. By giving your interviewer a chance to see your accomplishments as well as hear about them. put in highquality stills of its pages. get a feel for when it might be appropriate and then ask if she’d be interested in looking at it. ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT Portfolio A portfolio is a standard tool for designers and advertising professionals. This will show preparedness and it will encourage the interested parties to continue thinking about your potential as a job candidate. But there’s no reason you can’t learn from their example and assemble a sharp-looking portfolio of work to highlight strengths and accomplishments. your entreaties will yield written references you can offer to your interviewer and other stakeholders you meet on interview day. you should bring five to ten copies of each document. anD references Your interviewer will probably have a copy of your resume and cover letter in front of her. It’s probably best not to do this right away. self-addressed envelope. you will show the interviewer you’ve prepared for this opportunity. linking your team with key vendors. If you’ve developed websites. resuMe. third-party validation for your professional efforts. But you’ll want to come with the right accessories in hand.com . and other departments. include a narrative bio that sums up your strengths and work history in one paragraph. investors. Following a bettersafe-than-sorry philosophy. you double your chances that your strengths will be remembered. Ideally. ing map of the important relationships you developed on the job.em-lyon. explain the present job opportunity. At the end of the interview. or websites. When you enlist someone as a reference. newspapers. you can include charts and graphs that show the earnings you generated or the savings you accrued. an article in an industry magazine. Even the most skeptical. but if you pull it out to consult it. offer to leave the portfolio behind so she can peruse it during the next week or two. Just remember. Create a network- articles If you have received favorable coverage for your work in magazines. cover letters. even with the best intentions on both sides.634622997955102786 . but it’s good to have some extras to give to her and to anyone on the team she might introduce you to. by all means photocopy the articles. In the back of the portfolio. ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 21 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. This shows your consideration for your interviewer’s time and budget—and increases your chances of getting the portfolio back. you should have lined up former employers and colleagues as job references. Any published material you’ve written—a newsletter. and your return visit will give you an additional point of contact and an additional possibility of making an impression. If you’re a project manager or engineer. You obviously do not want to have your head buried in this sheet during the interview. a section of the annual report—is worth showing. trade journals. So be sure there’s nothing irreplaceable inside. and mention aspects of your collaboration that might be pertinent. clients.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS bring the right stuFF › You are the main asset you’re bringing to the interview. and accompany it with a full curriculum vitae or resume. Before the interview. Bring the clippings as handouts for your interviewers.
em-lyon.com .634622997955102786 .Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu.
.............26 Say it with Body Language ...................38 .......... 37 Follow-Up ........................24 Building Rapport .........................com .......35 Reach an Effective Conclusion ....................................Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu.........24 Showing Your Strengths ...em-lyon.....634622997955102786 4 The Big Moment Showing Up ..........28 Special Cases .............36 Your Exit Strategy .............. 27 Master the Art of Q&A ....
too. When you meet people. This person was intrigued enough by you to pick your resume out of a stack and is dedicating 30 minutes of a busy day just to talk with you.com . Here are some tips for starting on a positive note: • Shake hands with a firm grip. The receptionist might (probably does) chat up everybody in the company. If the pressure of the interview has given you sweaty palms. you have in common with your interviewer. But in an interview setting. If a wayward glance seems like a sexual advance. Limp.634622997955102786 . women. you might already know of one or two things. follow it up with cheerful questions. it’s important to be polite and friendly with everyone you meet. For this reason. • If you’re in the room before the interviewer gets there. Traditional etiquette requires this of men in any social setting. discreetly wipe them on your skirt or pants before you extend your hand. not miserable. • Smile. That in itself should give you plenty to smile about. You have to present yourself as someone your colleagues will want to see every day. Know your own strength—you want to show your eagerness to meet the interviewer. It’s a way of showing your eagerness to meet the interviewer. it’s key to establish rapport with your interviewer. If you want to make a good impression. Treating everybody you meet with respect is common courtesy and good business sense. careful throughout the interview to keep your gaze strictly above the neck. gardening for example. > TIP If a point of commonality arises. or an equally qualified job seeker who is stony-faced and tense? You want the interviewer to understand you have the skills for the job and that you’ll be an asset to the team. be ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT › Put Yourself in the interviewer’s shoes: Would you rather hire an engaging candidate whose conversation is lively and interesting. The people next to you on the elevator might work on the team you’re targeting. not crush his fingers. it might render the interview a fiasco. a person who will make their lives more enjoyable. Being tense about the upcoming interview is no excuse for not saying hello or forgetting to thank the person who’s just given you directions to the office you’re looking for. wet-noodle fingers are an immediate turnoff conveying the perception of apathy and indecisiveness. Find a way to work these into the conversation if your interviewer 24 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. (The interviewer might spend the rest of the session wondering if there’s something caught in her teeth!) Also.Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS shOwing up the Path to the intervieW rooM Your interview begins long before you meet your interviewer. builDing rappOrt ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE seek coMMon grounD From your background research. can gain from standing up. • Don’t quickly glance away the moment you’ve met—maintain eye contact for a few seconds. you might be accustomed to lowering your eyes out of reticence. get to your feet the moment he enters. You might even consider rehearsing your handshake with a friend beforehand. but that will come across as rudeness in an interview. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day Making an entrance The first moments of the interview will establish the tone for everything that follows. The security guys at the front desk might be on a first-name basis with your prospective colleagues. Every person you meet from the moment you step through the door to the building might have the power to influence the decision to hire you.em-lyon. and mean it.
InsIder sCOOP “One of my interviewers mentioned offhandedly that the company was planning to start using an outside vendor for all its graphic design needs. Intimate details will not help you build rapport with your interviewer. You can tell her about the time. But this is not the forum for a vigorous debate.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS doesn’t. find something positive to say. you aren’t going to agree on everything. If it comes up. If the situation is reversed—you’re an avid fan of the book and he hates it—don’t get defensive. so be cautious in offering your opinions. But do you really want your inter- ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT > TIP Don’t forget to laugh—or at least chuckle—at your interviewer’s jokes! beWare of tMi Your prospective employer does not need to know about your romantic history or your drinking habits. in your first production assistant gig. I seized the opportunity to explain that in my last job I had spent three years managing the relationship with an outside design agency. you can modify your earlier stance. Draw him out on his opinion and show you value it. Perhaps you’re a film professional interviewing with a production executive.634622997955102786 . even if you have a lot in common. Save those stories for your friends. ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 25 Licensed to email@example.com. Remember. an erudite comment that flies over the interviewer’s head might make him resent you. don’t just state the fact point-blank. Your grandmother’s recent death might have taught you something about the value of family and you might think this illustrates your sensitive nature. Keep your stories work-related. and shared some of the pitfalls I’d encountered and how I overcame them. Also. Don’t be afraid to be funny—but use discretion. That’s why a bit of humor can be a welcome relief. that you put your cell phone number on a posting for an open casting call and spent the next week flooded with calls from aspiring actors.com . But be careful when you’re attempting to be humorous.” ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy lighten the MooD There’s no question an interview is a tense. and ethnic humor is off-the-charts inappropriate. You’re there to tout your strengths. Risqué jokes are out of the question. Nothing establishes rapport like a shared passion or experience. These fall under the category of TMI—too much information. If you want her to know you’re attentive to detail. such as the time you found a software bug that had gone undetected in previous testing and prevented your company from releasing a faulty software program. The story will probably bring a sympathetic groan from the interviewer. You don’t want to be selfdeprecating. ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day tell a gooD storY You’ll want to tout your strengths but you should do it in a way that will engage the interviewer. Tell a story that might pique her professional interest. awkwardly formal situation. and how you avoided it thereafter. Work experiences are another area where you can find commonality with your interviewer. they’ll only cause her to question your judgment. viewer to remember you as the guy whose grandmother just died? Better to tell a story about how your sensitivity to others’ feelings proved an asset at work. if it then turns out that he shares your opinion. not your weaknesses. It also might be an opportunity for a lessons-learned follow-up in which you describe how you handled the situation. They had never done it before and they were a little nervous about it. It’s possible that the gardening book that you found pointless is your interviewer’s bible. An amusing anecdote or a wry comment can break the ice. That kind of information will be of interest to any industry professional and it will vividly illustrate the strength you’re hoping to accentuate.
It’s not at all about giving the ‘right’ answer—it’s all about building rapport. and of course we’re both delighted a new theater program for kids was founded with the funds we raised in that campaign.com . If you’ve been a manager. Jim’s such a good friend—I guess I’ll have to pay him off later!” >> A remark like this only undermines the reference and does nothing for you. good response: “Thank you.” but also a statement of what “we could accomplish” with a collaborative approach. or making use of expertise in other departments.” >> This response confirms the interviewer’s high opinion of you. be sure your answer involves teamwork. knoW Your Worth False modesty is not a quality that will engage the interviewer. group brainstorming.” ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day InsIder sCOOP ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE “As a senior manager. Wherever possible. so highlight that fact. their inflections. Even if you’re new to the job market.634622997955102786 . I talk to an interviewer like someone at a party that I wanted to get to know. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy example scenario interviewer: “Your reference couldn’t say enough about your fundraising abilities. “I’m the best in the business. If your interviewer asks you to describe what you would do in a work scenario.” keePing it Within liMits Nobody is good at everything. If I see them react to an idea I’ve brought up.em-lyon. I follow their lead in the conversation. When I’m the job seeker.Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS shOwing yOur strengths be a teaM PlaYer To show prospective employers you’re prepared for the teamwork the job will entail. if not. it might become clear the company is looking for someone with a differ- 26 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. I’m not going to spend 10 minutes going on about something they have no interest in. Acknowledging your strengths does not mean indulging in hyperbolic self-promotion. replace the first-person singular I with the first-person plural we. you’ll have experience assembling teams. We worked together recently on a fundraising campaign for a local theater. note how many times you use the word we—because your interviewers certainly will. your response should not only include an explanation of “what I would do. the questions they ask.” Stick to assertions you can support with evidence from your work history: “I was the top salesperson at the company for four consecutive quarters. As the contours of the position emerge during the interview. be sure to highlight your experiences as part of a successful team as well as your solo achievements.” Bad response: “Oh. the connection is a no-brainer. I drop it. talk about it. such as consulting colleagues. When you role-play your interview with a friend. I’ve spent time on both sides of the interview table. I explore it. Talk about the team’s accomplishments. Don’t say. and supports that opinion with a concrete example. She will expect you to describe your strengths and give examples of how you put them into action. If you’ve never managed a team. And if you played on a sports team. you can still talk about your experience in forming partnerships and collaborating within your own department and with those outside. If you’re part of a team responsible for a successful new product launch. such as a collaborative science project or a school play. In other words. You have to pay attention to details—the words they use. You need to be able to describe your strong points and give examples of how they helped you succeed in work. your school experiences are bound to show numerous examples of teamwork.
” Posture ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT say it with bODy language › nonverBal cues can be every bit as important to your interviewer as what you have to say.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS ent set of skills and strengths than yours. keep your hands in your lap or hold a pen in one hand and your notepad on your lap with the other. No matter how much you want the job. a grimace. When your interviewer is speaking. your interviewer might think you’re making them up. You might miss out on some nonverbal cue your interviewer is giving you: rolled eyes. If you avert your eyes while talking about your accomplishments. You might not get the job but you’ll make your way onto the list of people to contact when an appropriate position does become available. Crossed arms indicate wariness or defensiveness. ‘Yes. you shouldn’t be gazing out the window or idly inspecting the ceiling. Nod when appropriate and respond to your interviewer’s comments with appropriate interjections or exclamations. subtly lean forward to demonstrate your interest in her words. Always look directly at your interviewer when you begin to respond to a question so that it’s clear to whom you’re addressing your remarks. ‘Well. crack a smile when your interviewer injects some humor into the proceedings. Here’s the testimony of one job seeker: “The interviewer told me: ‘If we could use your set of skills. Don’t let your expression become wooden or fixed. but when your interviewer is trying to make a point or close a question. Tightly crossed legs can make you appear inaccessible. I didn’t get the job. Even a brilliant remark can be undermined by a tentative delivery. don’t misrepresent yourself. Instead. make sure your body language conveys confidence and openness.” your body language doesn’t transmit genuine enthusiasm and engagement.com . it will count as a black mark. and loosely crossed legs (with one calf resting on the opposite knee) might seem overly relaxed. and that’s not how you want to approach your interviewer. I happen to know a guy over at this company who is looking for someone with your skills. I think I’m very good’—torpedoed the whole session. but don’t stare down at your notes the entire time. Take notes periodically if that will help you stay engaged while your interviewer embarks on a particularly long monologue. Ask questions ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 27 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. You don’t need to stare intently at your interviewer the entire time. The experience taught me to develop a selection of more powerful statements in response to that question. Throughout the interview. And if you do get the job. and I will recommend you to him. but not rigidly. However. my supervisor said I was one of the three best writers he has ever worked with.’ The interviewer followed up with. and don’t stare blankly or zone out in the middle of your interviewer’s commentary. eYe contact Be sure you begin and end your responses by looking your interviewer steadily in the eye. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day InsIder sCOOP “An interviewer asked me ‘How good of a writer are you?’ I fudged the reply: ‘Well. but how good a writer do you think your are?’ My reply—something along the lines of.’ That led to a job for me. I’d hire you in a minute. but we currently don’t have a need for them. try to make sure your eyes aren’t rolling upwards to the left or right because this indicates you’re grasping for ideas.em-lyon. When you do look away.634622997955102786 . and give you his number to call. your interviewer might conclude you’re just wasting his time. If You should sit straight. you’ll be sweating bullets when you show up to work. Don’t rest your head in one hand because this can make you appear bored or sleepy. a smile. If your interviewer realizes you’re stretching the truth. A much better tactic is to acknowledge your limitations while emphasizing your very real personal strengths.
and interested in what your interviewer has to say. You share common interests in the field or industry. When an interviewer asks you a question. 2.Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS for clarification when needed. With no eye contact. The most important and difficult thing to remember ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE sample behavioral Questions 1. Now you’re meeting to explore those interests through a process of question and answer.” behavior-baseD Questioning Following the philosophy that the best indication of future behavior is past behavior. and memorable. But you can keep it from being an ordeal if you change your outlook. Your interviewer is a possible colleague. Your answer will be judged according to set criteria.em-lyon. 3. 28 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. The questions your interviewer asks won’t demand magic “right” answers—only answers that are thoughtful. know you are being asked to relate a specific anecdote that shows how you applied your talents to help an organization tackle a problem or make the most of an opportunity. By asking you to describe your past professional behavior. he might think you can’t wait for the interview to be over. She was plenty smart and enthusiastic. After that. What to expect Most behavior-based questions will begin with: “Can you tell me about a time when you…” or “Please describe an instance where you…” “Could you give me an example of a situation when you…”. there might be some moments of preliminary chitchat. there was no way to establish trust or tell whether she really cared about the job. they hope to gauge your potential as a member of the organization. your interviewer might think you’re too nervous to withstand the pressures of the job. Describe an instance when you had to juggle several tasks at once and how you prioritized your work. maybe even a future friend. A curt “yes” or “no” will have an equally objectionable effect. an exchange of ideas and insights. Keep the conversation flowing and let your personality shine. Give an example of a time you seized an opportunity your organization might have otherwise missed. making it seem you’re uninterested in the topic at hand. Remember what your mother always told you: Sit up straight in your chair. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy in an interview is that it’s a conversation. Answering with a long analysis will indicate an off-putting degree of self-involvement—and no doubt bore the interviewer silly. alert. Instead of seeing yourself as a lowly supplicant to an all-powerful lord. very wellconnected to executives in our company. many interviewers follow a behavior-based strategy. Please tell me about a time when you had a conflict with someone and how you handled it. But the entire time we talked. it was as if she had someplace better to be. think of the interview as a pleasant peer-to-peer interaction. But soon you’ll reach the heart of the session: questions and answers. she was looking out the window. reasoned. This makes you appear confident.634622997955102786 . InsIder sCOOP “Recently I was interviewing someone for a position on our team who was an inside referral. you should keep the same considerations in mind as you would in a social situation. This is the part job seekers usually dread most. When you hear this cue. If you fidget more than once or twice in your interview. Worse.com . think of them as the Straight A’s of behavioral interviewing: • Analyzing the opportunity or problem effectively • Approaching the opportunity or problem creatively • Accessing appropriate team resources to implement solutions • Achieving concrete results (with figures if possible) ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day master the art OF Q&a › the interview will start with introductions.
such as your commitment to hard work and your abilities as a team player. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy > TIP While asking questions. they offer you opportunities to shine. What are the best and worst jobs you’ve ever had.” How you should answer: Talk about strengths that might not be clear from your resume.em-lyon. Just be sure the situation you describe was not made more difficult by factors under your own control because you don’t want interviewers to think you create needless drama in the workplace.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS 10 coMMonlY askeD Questions Many interviewers don’t have enough time to spare to dream up new. memorable responses that will distinguish you as a prime candidate. and why? What this really means: “What can you do for me and my organization?” How you should answer: Have a success story ready to tell. But don’t just puff yourself up.” How you should answer: Your strengths should be deployable in the job you’re discussing. even the ones that didn’t work out. You should be ready with the sharp. Back these up with compelling stories. as a learning opportunity.” How you should answer: Think of a high-pressure scenario your interviewer will relate to and then describe how you handled and the positive outcome you achieved. Address this concern in your response and come back to it. when appropriate. talk about how the attributes that led to your previous success can help you in the position under discussion. hard-hitting interview questions. as the conversation progresses. and why? What this really means: “How are you going to get along with me and/or the others on the team? Are you going to fit in with our corporate culture?” ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 29 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. Don’t disregard these questions just because they’re hackneyed. Your weaknesses should fall under the category of lessons learned and should have originated from inexperience rather than an inherent personality flaw. What kind of people do you enjoy working with most and least.com . can you tell me a little about yourself? What this really means: “I’m looking for personal insights about you that would make you seem less like a list of credentials and more like a person I’d like to work with every day. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? What this really means: “Prove to me you’d bring value to this organization.634622997955102786 . They often resort to the tried-and-true questions that have been asked at millions of interviews. What project are you most proud of. and show me you’re aware of and can learn from your mistakes. For instance. Present each one as a forward step on your career path. or are you going to leave this job in six months for something better?” How you should answer: Don’t emphasize the negatives of past jobs. the question “How exactly might you involve the rest of the technology team in your projects?” indicates she considers involving the technology team important. Talk about each one. an interviewer will often provide clues about the kind of response she’s looking for. and why? What this really means: “Does this job match your ideal. ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day could you describe for me a time when you had to perform under pressure? What this really means: “You’re going to be asked to perform under pressure here and I want to make sure you can handle it.
with numbers and anecdotal evidence of success to back you up. I had a block of rooms in another hotel we regularly use for other events set aside in case of overflow. Describe a time when you performed under pressure: “Two weeks before a client’s annual conference in Kansas City. What this really means: “How do you handle setbacks?” How you should answer: Mention a success story that relates to the position. Words such as solidly grounded might sound right in a buttoned-down setting. Why should i hire you over other qualified candidates? What this really means: “Let’s cut to the chase—what can you offer me that others can’t?” How you should answer: This is your opening to reiterate your three major strengths.com . along with talking points for each one.” ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy What kinds of activities do you enjoy when you’re out of work? What this really means: “Are you a well-balanced person with the enthusiasm and passion we’re looking for?” How you should answer: Talk about a hobby or pastime you truly care about. Describe what you’ve learned from it. and should have had no lasting consequences. One day there was a glitch in the database and all the talking points were mismatched.” I realized my mistake.634622997955102786 .” Don’t mention advancement right away because you don’t want your interviewer to think you’ll be restless in the position under discussion and gunning after someone else’s job. “Right here. ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE 30 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. good AnsWers to tWo stAndArd questions 1. Don’t use the question as an opportunity to slam former colleagues. and to always double-check your facts. but tailor your response to what you know about the organization. I felt about an inch tall—but I learned not to think of technology as infallible. a tornado took the roof off of the hotel where the attendees were supposed to stay. That will be clear once we’ve had a chance to work together.Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS How you should answer: You should answer truthfully. when the aide said. you could get away with wildcard thinkers. and by pulling a few strings I was able to expand the block to accommodate all the registered attendees. forgivable.” 2. Tell me about a failure you’ve had in your career: “One summer in college I was an intern at a lobbying firm. unrelated to the job at hand. Then close with a statement of your enthusiasm for the job: “I can’t imagine another candidate having my passion and commitment to this work. But as any event planner knows. this is why you always have to have a plan B. The first two calls were just bizarre. in a more creative environment. Then describe a failure that dates from early on in your career and came about because of inexperience. and I was given a call sheet of 20 elected officials a day to call. I was lobbying legislative aides about measures that weren’t even in their district. Mention ways you hope you and the organization will grow in tandem.em-lyon. by the third call. “I think you’ve got the wrong district. and link it to a personal strength that will help you on the job. The mistake should be understandable. ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT Where do you see yourself in three to five years? What this really means: “Are you going to stick around so we can reap the benefits of training you?” How you should answer: Start off your response by saying.” ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day tell me about a failure you’ve had in your career.
If one of your teammates was having problems at home that were causing him to fall behind on a project. Be WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 31 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. so there are no misunderstandings about what is expected ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE gaps in employment An unexplained gap of six months or more might raise questions in your interviewer’s mind about your commitment to your career or even your work ethic. to set a good example. Imagine you were allowed to institute any new workplace policy for one week. I once felt that I was being overcharged by a vendor. “I think I might go with a similar approach in this case: I’d ask everyone on the team to provide annotated receipts with their travel expense reports. Interviewers throw them at you to test your ability to think on your feet. the invoices that came in were significantly lower than they had been.em-lyon. I explained to him that while he didn’t need to punch a time card.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS hYPothetical Questions Hypothetical questions are the curve balls of the interviewing game.com . Let me think about that…” • ask for speciﬁcs: “What resources would be available to the team to solve this problem?” and no feelings hurt. What would I do if…” • Praise the question: “That’s a good question. This tactic grounds your answer in reality and allows you to give an example of how well you’ve handled a difficult situation. Why did you leave that marketing job after only six months? Why do you want to be a stockbroker now after finishing art school? What were you doing in that year off between your last position in finance and now? Don’t get caught unprepared. Have answers to questions about the following: how to react The best answer to a hypothetical question is one that ties it to a similar experience in your past. how would you handle the situation? 2. His invoices were vague on services rendered. How would you deal with an employee whom you suspected of inflating his travel expense report? 3. Here’s a good response to the expense report question above: “I always find that the easiest way to deal with a suspected breach of workplace ethics is to first explain the company policy in a casual. Hypothetical questions are by their very nature hard to anticipate but don’t allow yourself to be blindsided by them. If you need to. Lo and behold. What to expect Hypothetical questions begin with “How would you…” “Imagine if you were to…” or “What would you do if…”. This would make my scrutiny seem less like a personal attack. I’d also be sure to do the same myself. impersonal way. What would it be and why? ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT anticiPate soMe tough Questions Even the best-crafted resume probably raises a few awkward questions about detours along your career path. he did need to provide a detailed accounting of the way he spent his time on the project. use these tricks to buy yourself some thinking time: • restate the question: “Let me get this straight. and our working relationship was stronger than ever.” ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day sample hypothetical Questions 1. Your reactions can show your best professional instincts.634622997955102786 . then check over that employee’s receipts and spot check the rest of the team’s too.
okay?” Present your decision as a considered choice consistent with your long-term goals. A good explanation goes a long way: That decision to spend a year traveling around the wilds of Madagascar might be perfectly consistent with your interest in biodiversity and easily factored into your decision to pursue environmental law. because you don’t want to lead interviewers to speculate you can’t work well with others. and your interviewers might have been laid off or fired at some point. in that geographic region. It should be enough of an explanation to satisfy your interviewer.634622997955102786 . ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT any stated Qualifications not evident on Your resume If you’ve mentioned you’re an accomplished writer but you have no bibliography of articles by you on your resume. Or. naturally—to come along. Don’t approach it defensively—“I was raising my kids. Do you write speeches for your CEO that always get rave reviews from the audience? Have you written a grant as a volunteer that secured $20. you need to explain how your skills and strengths are relevant to the position. and for someone with your background and experience.em-lyon. layoffs and firings If you were laid off. Maybe you wanted to have kids sooner rather than later so that you could concentrate on your career. Don’t blame it on personality conflicts. Even if you’re just starting out. Career changers who are making a shift “to pursue my true calling” should be prepared to show evidence of long-term interest in the field they’re entering so employers don’t think of them as career hoppers. your interviewer might have reason to suspect you’d leave the organization as soon as you get a better offer elsewhere. Mention any lessons learned or valued relationships you gleaned from your time in the position and you’ll sound the wiser for it. merger. evidence of Job hopping If you’ve had five positions in the past three years. and leave it at that. don’t suggest you belong on the rock-bottom end of the pay scale.com . explain why. You need to communicate your value to the company. briefly explain that the position “wasn’t a good fit” for reasons specific to that job. Maybe the frequent changes were the result of a combination of a downsizing or your spouse getting reassigned to another state.” by all means say so—this is the kind of thing employers will be glad to hear. Interviewers are predisposed to understand termination of employment and sympathize with the people it happens to. ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE 32 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. you can simply explain your position was eliminated as part of a broader institutional business decision such as a restructuring. Explain the circumstances that precipitated so many moves and how those circumstances are different now. or shift in the business plan. perhaps you took some short-term contract positions while you were looking for the right job—this one. outline the reasons behind your request and discuss the standard salary range for that position. Everyone knows someone who has been laid off or fired.Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy prepared to address the issue head-on. If you are considering leaving your current career “because this seems like too perfect a match for my skills in [specialization] and long-term interest in [field] to pass up.000 for an after-school program? Bring up these accomplishments before your interviewer asks to resolve any lingering doubts about your qualifications. You might explain that creative problem solving and client interaction were always your favorite parts of your job at the help desk. ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day career changes Why should a consulting firm hire someone who has spent most of his or her career in troubleshooting and tech support? If this will be your first position in a new field. provided you can discuss it without sounding bitter or accusatory. If you were fired. > TIP When it’s appropriate to discuss salary.
it can’t hurt to bluff a bit and say that you expected more comprehensive benefits and will need a higher salary to offset this. Or go straight to the source.” • “Considering all the elements of a compensation package. you need to show your interviewer there’s a common thread in your interests. you’ll probably be offered a salary on the low end of your range. If you can explain your career goal has always been to make a difference in kids’ lives. inconsistent array of Jobs If your career path is unclear from your resume. you want to avoid naming a number before the interviewer does.com . and ultimately left your job as a banker to become a social worker for disabled children. PlAY it smArt: hoW to disClose Your sAlArY requirements 1. says Ellen Gordon Reeves. turn to the WetFeet Insider Guide Negotiating Your Salary and Perks. If you feel the salary is on the low side given the responsibilities of the position. And for a more in-depth discussion of salary negotiations. SET A RANGE Your benchmarking should help you determine a bottom line—the absolute minimum you’ll accept. and can be used as leverage.000 range. depending on the type and scope of responsibilities. Instead of seeming scattered. Reeves suggests writing. WIGGLE IT Unless the employer is feeling generous.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS Nothing wins over an interviewer like a shared passion: “I enjoyed the work in tech support. you’ll come across as committed and well-rounded. a volunteer for the March of Dimes while you were pursuing a career in finance. But you still have some wiggle room. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy Money Matters Perhaps the trickiest question you might be expected to answer in an interview is “What salary are you looking for?” Most interview experts agree that if at all possible. inquire what entrylevel employees typically make. author of Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview? “You can call the HR department of a company and simply say. suddenly it will make a lot more sense that you’ve been a track coach. present your requirements in a ten-thousand-dollar range. location. BENCHMARK Websites like Salary. “My salary requirements are in the $30. skill set. If your interviewer pushes you for a straight answer.634622997955102786 . If you have industry contacts. This increases the chances that your expectations and the employer’s budget will overlap and gives you some room to negotiate later on. However.’” 2. com and Glassdoor can show you what you can expect to earn based on your industry.em-lyon. but I knew after my first business-operations class that I’d found my true calling—even though it means starting over at the bottom of a new field. The best leverage you have in a salary discussion is that they want to hire you. ‘I saw a job advertised at your company and I’m wondering what the entry-level salary is for this department. Here are some good ways to parry the question: • “I’m willing to entertain any fair offer. I’d need to take some time to think about the roles and responsibilities described before I can arrive at an answer.” “Play It Smart” sidebar below for advice on disclosing your salary requirements. I prefer not to discuss salary in isolation.” 3. and experience. Salary is only one part of an employer’s offer. See the ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 33 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. benefits also carry a lot of weight. But rather than a single figure. Can you describe a typical compensation package?” The initial interview is seldom a good time to talk salary.” • “I’ve learned a lot about the position today. You don’t want to discuss the issue until after you’ve convinced your potential employer you’re the only choice. you can only dodge the salary question once—maybe twice.000 to $40. it’s time to tip your hand.
do do Choose three talents to emphasize. then present a couple of pragmatic options that demonstrate your understanding of the issues involved. don’t do Draw a clear connection between your talents and the responsibilities listed in the job description.com .Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS intervieW dos And don’ts don’t Monopolize the conversation with a laundry list of your abilities. don’t ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT do Give unsolicited advice on how to solve a particular problem you’ve heard the company is facing. For all you know. If you are applying for a position where your only writing task is the occasional press release. client meetings.em-lyon. and come prepared with three stories about using those talents to help make your point.634622997955102786 . For example: “I notice the position entails a lot of presentations. The interviewer’s eyes are sure to glaze over. Focus on the problems you identified and the outcomes you achieved rather than on processes you used. If you’ve done your homework. the company might have already tried that route or might not be able to afford that solution.” don’t ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy Focus your comments on a specialty that will only account for a small percentage of your job.” ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day don’t do Get sidetracked into explaining the technical details of your area of specialization. Meeting facilitation and public speaking were my favorite parts of my job as a school principal. so don’t hesitate to play these up. you should know which of your strengths are going to interest your interviewer. don’t spend ten minutes of your interview talking about what a great writer you are. don’t do Come across as a jack-of-all-trades. If you’re equally good at everything. Explain your expertise in terms your interviewer (who might be an HR rep rather than a technical specialist) is likely to understand. The interviewer will either already know the territory or not be interested. remember the adage “less is more. that means you’re especially good at nothing. and conferences. ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE 34 W E T F E E T I N S ID ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. Wait to be asked how you’d solve the problem. When it comes to talking up your abilities.
With case questions. I’m not sure I understand the question.” No matter what. Give the interviewer a way out by saying. but many organizations fire case questions at candidates in the very first round to weed out as many candidates as possible early in the interview process. 2. and resources. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy > TIP WetFeet’s best-selling Ace Your Case series goes into much more detail and provides many practice questions (along with examples of good and bad answers) for those looking down the barrel of the case interview. Some organizations reserve case questions for the second round of interviews. Business operations cases pose questions about the running of a business. your interviewer might or might not respond to a request for additional details.com . smile and say.” If he repeats the question instead of dropping it. see the For Your Reference chapter at the end of this book. variables. come up with creative solutions. marketing. and ask you to apply your specialized knowledge. “I’m sorry. “Why do you ask? Do you expect this will come up in the course of the job?” That puts the onus on him to explain the point of the question. I feel put on the spot talking about this since we’ve only just met…. you are not obliged to answer illegal questions. If he persists. usually with a high-level approach. but you can usually ask your interviewer to repeat the relevant data to make sure you have your facts straight. You know how that is. 4. you can attempt to return the conversation to less personal topics by saying.634622997955102786 .em-lyon.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS Questions You shouldn’t have to answer Some questions are utterly inappropriate—even illegal—in an interview. finance. There are four common types of case questions: 1. and then ask you to answer a specific question given this data. relate it to something from your resume (career or academic experience). market sizing questions ask the candidate to estimate the size of a given market. and communicate and present ideas effectively. and development. resume questions take one of the preceding types. business operations. Case questions are intended to test a candidate’s abilities to analyze a problem or opportunity. 3. don’t react with indignation. citizen? • What is your nationality? • Have you ever been arrested? • Have you ever filed for bankruptcy? • Do you have a physical or medical condition? • Are you married? • What are your child-care arrangements? • Are you a member of a union or labor organization? • Have you ever sued a former employer? • Have you ever filed a workers’ compensation claim? • What were some of the problems in your last job? • When did you graduate from college (or high school)? • Are you available to work on Easter Sunday? • Are you planning on starting a family? • What type of military discharge did you receive? special cases case analYsis This is an interviewing approach most commonly used in the worlds of business consulting. Business strategy questions focus on future business strategy issues. ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 35 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. and even give candidates a chance to prepare responses. If any of these come up.) According to HR Tools. perform under pressure. “To be honest. make use of appropriate resources. (For more resources on this subject.S. any of the following questions about an applicant’s protected characteristics could provide grounds for a legal discrimination claim: • Are you a U. ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day These questions present a series of facts.
a panel interview will probably not make you feel like a defendant in a trial. When one of the panelists asks you a question. for example. it might even occur over lunch. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen interviewees make the mistake of addressing their remarks exclusively to the male interviewers on a panel. You can refer to comments your interviewer made to personalize your questions: “You mentioned that excelling in this position takes perseverance and grace under pressure.Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS Panel intervieWs One-on-one interviews are stressful enough.em-lyon. They subconsciously believe that that’s where the decision-making power lies. and how do you think I could be of help?” • They can show you’ve been paying attention.634622997955102786 . reach an eFFective cOnclusiOn ask gooD Questions The final minutes of the interview can seal the good impression you’ve made up to that point. the prospect a panel interview is likely to make even the most assured candidate break into a cold sweat. Sharing your attention among multiple panelists can be a hard habit to learn. After you leave. you can ask a question such as.” 36 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. What other personal attributes do you think would be especially useful in this job?” • They can establish a personal connection. “How did you start working with this organization? What do you find most stimulating about the job?” ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT InsIder sCOOP ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE “As a career counselor. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy What good Questions can Do for You • They can reveal your knowledge of the company and the industry. This is also the time to explore aspects of the job that might not have been covered yet. A panel interview can come at the beginning of the hiring process or it might come after the candidate has been through one or more preliminary one-on-one interviews. you should definitely take the opportunity now. The tricky part of a panel interview is making the conversation comfortable among multiple participants. you’ll meet two or more interviewers at once. chances are another panel member will empathize with your plight and help you to respond. Provide an opening for your interviewer by asking. Incisive. In this scenario.com . Make eye contact with each one. Perhaps you’ve had a chance to ask questions during the course of the interview. People like to talk about themselves. the interviewer might conclude you aren’t that interested in the job. but it’s essential in an ever more diverse workforce. Even if one interviewer does start to fire tough questions at you. But despite your worst fears. It’s more likely to be a pleasant exchange of ideas. If the company has just merged with another company. But if you haven’t. Make sure you share your attention with all the panelists. If you end the session without having asked questions. “What do you see as the greatest burden on the communications team as a result of the merger. which is certainly not always the case. direct your attention at her but don’t make it just a two-person conversation— look around and engage the others. well-thought-out questions will give you insight into the job and enhance the impression that you’re a desirable candidate. they’ll compare notes and offer their assessments.
you should be diplomatic and non-confrontational. Just to be clear. Can you describe three specific opportunities for growth this position offers? 8. But if you’ve developed a good rapport. ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy › the interview is coming to a close.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS ten very good Questions to ask 1. You might not want to bring this up until late in the interview process. What three words would you use to describe the work environment here? 2. Instead. ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE reiterate Your interest Don’t leave any doubt in your interviewer’s mind about your interest in the position. obey the old show-business adage: “Always leave ’em wanting more. but be sure you ask about it before you take the job because it’s hard to negotiate better benefits after the fact. but I did want to get back to that question you asked me about how I’d handle a tough customer. What do you see as the potential drawbacks of this position? 9.” you should take the hint and thank him for his time. and they might fear you’re uninterested or that WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 37 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. What do you like most about working here? 6. What are the greatest learning opportunities you’ve had here? 5. but if you can ask them sensitively you’ll find out whether this is a place you really want to work. and maternity. What do you find most challenging about working here? 7. If he says. What personal qualities do the teammates you value most possess? And the most important question of all: 10. How has [major business trend or current event] affected your organization? 4. Check out benefits and company policies on workman’s comp. There should be no make-or-break tone in your voice. that about covers it. Don’t wait until your interviewer is out of steam to start wrapping things up. You never know how your life circumstances might change. and stress levels can be difficult to broach.” yOur exit strategy ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day touchY subJects Questions about turnover. This gives him a chance to address any unresolved issues and it shows you’re attuned to his concerns. paternity.” When you sense it’s time to wrap things up. what are the next steps i should take to be hired for this position? the benefits Discussion One potentially touchy subject is the company’s benefit package. disability. expected working hours. you’ll show you know your worth and want to be part of an organization that values its employees. “Is this a good place to work?” ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT invite further Questioning Ask the interviewer if he has any further questions for you. it might be appropriate to ask a question such as. “No.634622997955102786 . now is the time to modify your answers or clarify your reasoning: “I don’t want to take too much more of your time. What would you say are the organization’s greatest opportunities and challenges in the next three years? 3. If the time doesn’t seem right. you can wait for a later interview to bring them up. Interviewers dread rejection too. put your exit strategy into action by following these steps: Make amends If you think the interview hit a wrong turn at one point or another. I wouldn’t recommend referring the customer to a supervisor until I’d made every offer within my authority to put things right. Also.com . Gauge the interviewer’s openness to your concerns.em-lyon. and elder-care leave even if you don’t expect to need them. Perhaps you suspect you might be walking into an impossible situation and want to know why the previous employee left the position.
meaningful. › once the interview is over. the beginning of a rewarding professional relationship. Before I left. I know you’d prefer someone older. Make Your final Pitch ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy Remind your interviewer in a minute or less of the three main reasons why you are a good match for this position. but I’m willing to work awfully hard. sit down and craft a warm. or she might have other candidates she wants to assess. ‘Look. the editors asked a few standard questions and didn’t seem to listen to my answers.com . InsIder sCOOP “At a job interview at an English-language newspaper in Budapest. personal thank-you message. Put other candidates’ oversight to your advantage and send thankyou notes no later than the day after your interview. Be sure to call then for your status check. there’s a fine line between talking and stalking—if you’ve called two or three times during the course of a couple of weeks and there’s still no definitive response. you should review your notes from the interview and start planning your follow-up. mark that date in your calendar. Everything you can do to keep your candidacy top of mind—and top of in-box—helps. Take a minute to review your performance and identify areas where you excelled and areas you might improve upon if you get the opportunity to interview further for the position. I was sure that I didn’t have the job. Look the interviewer right in the eye and say. so I had nothing to lose.em-lyon. be sure you have all your belongings and offer your interviewer a warm handshake and smile. sincere FOllOw-up ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day give Your interviewer something to remember You by Hand over a business card or an article by or about you. Don’t be shy about repeating your strengths one last time. I said. you might want to downshift your follow-up contacts to occasional emails. and that I’d follow up in a week or so. “I was excited about this position even before I came in today. quick. Ask how soon you should follow up and mention that you’d be delighted to have the chance to meet the rest of the team. and consummately professional. 38 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. So I think you should hire me. But a quick. and memorable. A typed note on business stationary or a legible handwritten note on an elegant card is ideal. but after talking to you I’m more certain than ever that I really want this job.Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS you might be settling for a job you don’t really want.’ They were taken aback.” But be sure you mean it! Make a smooth Move for the Door Look your interviewer in the eye and offer a few words of appreciation for how much you got out of your conversation. ideally. Just remember. the thank-You note The thank-you note is a tactic virtually all career advisers recommend and many candidates overlook. This is a powerful last impression to leave with your interviewer—personal.” ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT ask about next steps You probably won’t get your answer on the spot. The interviewer might want to check with her colleagues. If your interviewer told you to follow up in a week. I’m a damn good editor and writer. and you just might cinch the deal. Make your final sales message clear.634622997955102786 . Then. I got the offer two days later. Reiterate your willingness to meet with other members of the team. Notes from your interview can help you identify experiences you neglected to mention or questions you’d like to ask in follow-up interviews. This handshake should mark the end of your interview and. While the interview is still fresh in your mind. but I closed things nicely—told them to call if they had any other questions.
ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy sample thank-You note: Dear Ms. • Reiterate key strengths you possess that relate to the job. Thank you again for a most inspiring meeting. sends her best. a thank-you note is a prime opportunity to: • Mention something you neglected in your resume. Sally P. ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 39 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. In addition to showing your appreciation for your interviewer’s time. so I am especially appreciative you took the time to meet with me and share your insights on the business. when the interviewer has already forgotten your name and offered the job to someone else.634622997955102786 . I look forward to continuing our conversation in the kitchen at LouLou in the near future. and you’re so right—that feature article on Tuscany really missed the boat! There’s so much more to Tuscan cuisine than steak and white beans. as you’ve demonstrated in your cookbook.S.com . Best regards.em-lyon. Ruthie. I look forward to branching out from Neapolitan cuisine and am sure our regional specializations will prove a fitting complement for one another—and a delicious one at that. • Convey your enthusiasm. Gonzales.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS email is preferable to a stunning card that arrives ten days late.: Your friend and mine. • Alleviate any concerns raised in the interview. and how many resumes you must have received for the assistant chef position. I picked up a copy of that issue of Gourmet you mentioned. I know how hectic your schedule is as you head toward the restaurant opening. and says to say thanks for the pork chop tips.
com .634622997955102786 .em-lyon.Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu.
..........634622997955102786 5 For Your Reference Additional Interviewing Resources .......42 Job Search Resources ..........................43 Background Research Tools ......Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu.................em-lyon...........................................42 General Interviewing Advice ..............44 ...............com ....................43 Salary Negotiation Tools .............
peruse these Wetfeet.net www. you can prepare ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy books If you are looking for work in a field that follows a specialized interview process. Also. tips to perfect your skills with mock interviews.634622997955102786 . Here’s how to find them: general interviewing aDvice general interviewing advice sources: ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day › for a leg uP on the competition. › with a little extra research.com WetFeet’s website covers every interviewing scenario from brainteasing case quizzes to lunch meetings. a database of 1. job-interview.em-lyon. and offers tips for dealing with tricky situations.com ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT internet searches Google interview questions or job interview questions and check out the search results to find the top 20 or so websites that list interview questions employers should ask.net This site includes insights from top career counselors. Look up websites for HR and recruiting professionals and run a keyword search on interviewing to see 42 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E Licensed to firstname.lastname@example.org) offer valuable lists of interview questions and outline other ways HR professionals test candidate competencies. WetFeet publishes the five-volume Ace Your Case series of Insider Guides for consulting interviews. Chances are. check out Beat the Street: Investment Banking Interviews and Beat the Street II: I-Banking Interview Practice Guide.job-interview. Sites such as the HR-Guide (www.000 common interview questions and samples of excellent answers. human resource and development services. interview books.wetfeet. such as the Internet. for some of the less obvious questions interviewers will ask. and workplace advice columnists. sites such as www. Job-interview. Rather than inventing these questions themselves. look for books that specifically address that interview type.net offer lists of some of the toughest interview questions and appropriate responses. www. interviewers often pull them from professional resources you can access. which rely heavily on the dreaded case question. interviewers who are pressed for time will look at the same sources.hr-guide.com .Ace Your Interview ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS aDDitiOnal interviewing resOurces if you can find recommended questions or practices. ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE hr anD recruitMent services Spend a while thinking like a recruiter or HR professional and you’ll be better prepared for their questions. For those looking to work in the investment banking industry. and much more.
gov/oco/home. with tips on drumming up contacts and referrals. including earnings for your industry.htm Search this site and the Career Guide to Industries (www. labor Market information center www. and other interview concerns. WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 43 Licensed to vincent-lesimple@edu. census bureau www.census. and hard numbers on e-commerce. “Employment Interviewing: Seizing the Opportunity and the Job.asp See what occupations are hottest in your geographic area and across the nation.s. Also check out the columns to discover jobs you never knew existed. and choosing from several offers.jobweb.bls. thank-you notes. Many job vacancies are filled before an opening is announced publicly—but follow these strategies for effective networking. Check out Occupational Outlook Quarterly’s special report.net The “How to Select a Staffing Company” tips. and career quizzes.org/lmi/lmihome.634622997955102786 . The Occupational Employment Statistics will help you identify mean salaries. found under the “Job Seekers” tab.ChAPter 1 DEMySTIFyING THE INTERvIEW PROCESS national association of colleges and employers career library www. and negotiation. ChAPter 5 FOR yOUR REFERENCE employment law information network www.elinfonet. job fair listings. ChAPter 4 THE BIG MOMENT american staffing association www. or drug testing requirements might be barriers in your job search? Get the latest on legal hiring requirements on the “Hot Topics” section of this site. the current rate of layoffs. and you’ll tap into this hidden job market. bacKgrOunD research tOOls Fortune career resources money.com/magazines/fortune/rankings Fortune’s annual reports on the best places to work.gov Find the latest economic census figures.em-lyon.bls.com . and wage comparisons for your industry and geographic location.htm. interviewing. Websites u.” at www. earnings cross-referenced by occupation.staffingtoday.bls.com This site features in-depth information on job fairs. the latest on workplace practices such as telecommuting and casual dress.htm) to identify opportunities in your field and explore the most promising career options. can help you find companies that will seek out jobs for you and advocate on your behalf in the job market. and features on employers. education level and gender for your geographic location.com Concerned that visa status.gov/ opub/ooq/2000/summer/art02. handling difficult interview situations.gov/oco/cg/home.careeronestop. fitness. most admired companies.cnn. and the best places to work for women and minorities are key background reading. plus salary and job outlook data. college career center resources. JOb search resOurces books ChAPter 2 GETTING REaDy Networking Works! (WetFeet Insider Guide) bureau of labor statistics occupational outlook handbook www. ChAPter 3 THE BIG Day Job Hunting A to Z: Landing the Job You Want (WetFeet Insider Guide) This information-packed guide covers networking.
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