Useful Tips For Candidates
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additional information and job search pointers.
Preparation is essential for
presenting yourself in the best possible manner during an interview.
It’s important to make a great impression
during an interview. Here are 10 basic tips to convince a prospective
employer that you’re the one for the job.
1. Thoroughly research the job and company.
Gather as much information as you can about the company. Know the
history, products, mission, and goal of the company at the corporate
level and get any information you can about it on a local level.
Corporate information is easily obtained. Most companies now have
internet sites that provide all the information you need. If you do not
know their internet address, we would suggest using Yahoo or any of the
other numerous search engines.
2. Bring an extra copy of your resume – just in
3. Make eye contact. It shows that you are
focused and confident.
4. Demonstrate interest and enthusiasm about the
5. Dress professionally. Regardless of the type
of position that you are applying for, look your best. Sometimes
candidates will have to come directly from work and are unable to change
clothes. If this is the case, let the interviewer know beforehand. You
do not want the interviewer to perceive your appearance as a negative.
Make all efforts to change clothes. Men should wear a well-pressed suit,
white shirt, conservative tie, well-polished shoes, and have a neat
appearance. Women should dress in a well-tailored, conservative manner.
Although many companies now maintain a casual dress policy, it is always
better to be overdressed than underdressed.
6. Try to respond to questions within 60 seconds.
You don’t want to be monosyllabic but lengthy responses will make the
employer lose interest and you might lose your own focus.
7. Listen and respond to answers
directly. If you
are unclear about a question, ask for clarification.
8. Be prepared to discuss how what you’ve done in
the past will affect how you’ll perform in the future position. Give
examples that show value.
9. Ask questions. Sharp questions show that you
are proactive and want to make sure that this company is the right place
for you. Remember that interviewing is a two-way street. You need to
determine if this is a good fit for you, as well as being a good fit for
the company. Some sample questions:
- Why is this position available?
- What are the job requirements?
- Advancement potential?
- What are the company's future plans?
- What is the next step in the interviewing process?
10. Send a thank you note within two days of the
interview. Express you interest in the position and thank the
interviewer for his or her time. Even if you’re not interested in the
job, you never know who might be a good contact for you down line.
If you follow these steps you are sure to be
prepared and already far ahead of many other candidates applying for the
You should now be ready for
The interview is actually a
very simple process if you are prepared. This is your time to
demonstrate your aptitude to perform the job that you are interviewing
1. Be professional, confident and look your best.
The first impression is a lasting impression. Unfortunately most hiring
authorities draw conclusions about candidates’ way too early in the
2. Bring a pen and pad (notebook) with questions
written down pertaining to the position. (i.e. What is expected of me?
What happened to the prior incumbent?)
3. Make the interviewer talk 60% - 70% of the
time by having a list of probing questions pertaining to the job
responsibilities of the position, division and company goals, company
culture, etc. Answer questions with a question. For example: If you are
asked about a specific qualification, answer the question fully, then
inquire as to how that fits what the company is looking for. Don’t be
afraid to probe into the duties of the position. When a requirement is
mentioned that fits one of your strengths, bring it out. An excellent
question to ask is: “If you have two candidates with almost identical
backgrounds what quality or qualities would make you choose one over the
other?” Or, you might say: “If the perfect candidate was standing in
front of you, reporting for work, could you describe that candidate?”
4. Energy, Drive, Initiative – Don’t ever
compromise on this one. It is the universal trait of success. The key to
personal success is to do more than you have to, so give the interviewer
some examples of your initiative and personal successes and extra
5. Trend of Performance Over Time – Indicate the
impact you have had with your current and previous employer's) over the
past five to ten years. This would include: Major accomplishments and
organizational changes that you have implemented. This is a good time to
share what you can do for the interviewer’s company. HAVE A PLAN BEFORE
6. Experience, Education and Industry Background – Use this along with the Past Accomplishments category: Strong
education and experience can sometimes offset a weaker accomplishments
7. Problem Solving and Thinking Skills – Express
that you have the ability to solve job-related problems and anticipate
what needs to be done. (Elaborate)
8. Management and Organizations – (If going in
for a management position). Let the interviewer know that you have the
ability to persuade and motivate others. Team leadership is a component
of both management and personality. Share management ability and style,
and organizational skills.
9.Team Leadership – (If going in for a
management position). The ability to persuade and motivate others.
Explain how you motivate your immediate subordinates and people who work
in different departments.
10. Character: Values, Commitment and Goals -
Summarize your integrity, honesty, responsibility, openness, and
fairness in dealing with others. Express your commitment to the
organization, and have a plan as to what you can do for the Company.
THIS TOPIC SHOULD BE SAVED FOR THE END OF THE INTERVIEW, OR WAIT FOR THE
11. Watch your body language. Maintain good
posture, leaning slightly forward indicates interest. Maintain eye
contact. Leaning back could give the impression of a lax attitude. The
interviewer gives body language as well. You can determine if you are
keeping the interviewer’s interest by reading his or her body language.
This holds true to some extent for a telephone interview as well.
Although you cannot see the interviewer, you can detect from voice
inflections whether you have his or her attention. If the interviewer is
on a speakerphone and you hear their voice fading in and out, it means
that he or she is probably walking around the room and you may not have
his/her full attention. If that happens, ask the interviewer to pick up
the receiver as you are having difficulty hearing and don’t want to miss
anything he or she says. At that point, you will again have the
interviewer’s full attention.
12. On your pad, have a list of your strengths.
Let the interviewer know why you are the perfect fit for the position.
EXAMPLE: If interviewing for a supervisory position, one major weakness
may be the tendency to “do everything yourself.” This is a very common
problem that indicates a lack of willingness to delegate work. The best
way to overcome this is to step back from your desk, look at the project
you have for the day and determine which REALLY requires your personal
attention. Anything that can be delegated should be given to
subordinates who can then use them as a learning tool while your time is
freed up to attend to the more urgent and sensitive issues. What you
have done at this point is turn a negative into a positive.
One of the toughest interview questions that
you can be asked is “Tell me about yourself.” Rather than guess where
the interviewer wants you to begin, use this very simple response: “I’d
be happy to. Where would you like me to begin?” Once you have the
interviewers reply, you have a point of reference and can begin
answering the question.
13. STAY POSITIVE! Even if you decide that you
don’t feel the position is right for you, never communicate that during
the interview. Once you get home, you may change your mind. After you
have considered it, if you still feel the position is not a good fit for
you, let us know and we can withdraw you gracefully, but keep the door
open for future consideration.
14. VERY IMPORTANT! At the conclusion of the
interview, state that you are very interested in pursuing this position,
and then ask, “Where do we go from here?” or “What is the next step?” If
you really think you hit a home run, ask: “When do I start?” What you
are doing is asking for feedback on how well you did. Another excellent
“closing” question would be: “Is there any reason that you could not
offer me this position (job) today?”
15. Do not discuss salary or benefits. If asked
about your current salary, advise what it is but indicate that you
wouldn’t want to comment on the salary without knowing all about the
opportunity. Just like you wouldn’t want to buy a car without knowing
all about the options available, you wouldn’t want to commit too early
on your “price”. You might say: “Compensation is extremely important to
me, and I will consider your best offer, but frankly what is most
important at this point is what I can offer your company and what the
future will hold for both of us in a long term relationship.”
16. Have available a list of references that you
can present if requested. These references should include names of
former supervisors in previous jobs who would be willing to discuss in
detail your work performance, usually for positions covering only the
last five years. Be sure that you have checked your references
thoroughly so that you can be assured that they will provide positive
feedback to the inquirer. If you feel it may be necessary, have a friend
call them to see what they will say about you. If desired, your
recruiter can call your references and provide you with feedback on
17. Bring two to three additional original copies
of your resume, each in presentation folders (the number of copies
depends upon how many people you are going to see). This has the effect
of setting your resume out above the others. In addition, bring a copy
of your most recent performance review (if applicable) and a sample of
any written material prepared by you in the course of performing your
duties (again, if applicable). Take care to make sure that the write-up
does not contain any proprietary information such as names of the
customer or any other items that may lead to the customer’s identity.
18. Call your recruiter as soon as possible right
after the interview to advise of how things went. We will then call our
client for their feedback and advise you of their impression.
Remember: Preparation is Everything
As soon as you can, write down what happened
in the interview. Note such things as what was discussed, who you met
with, what strengths/weaknesses of yours were discussed, what
positives/negatives about the company and position you perceived and
anything else you see as being relevant. This will come in very handy if
additional interviewing is required.
You should now be prepared to
Follow Up the interview.
Upon completing the
interview, you will need to follow up. This will reconfirm your interest
and qualifications for a position.
This is a very simple but very important part
of the interview process. Send a personal but professional letter to
each person that you interviewed with. Make each letter different
because the people you send them to will compare them. This is a great
opportunity to again express your interest in the position and the
company. Include a brief interview summary. If you are interested in the
job, tell them again. Also be sure to follow up with your recruiter
immediately. He or she will need to know your perception of the
interview before talking with the company.
If the interview and follow
up have gone well you need to prepare for an
Hopefully everything went
well and the company is ready to extend you an offer.
For the most part, it will have been
determined by this point what an acceptable offer will be. Often times
an offer is made over the telephone. If the offer does not include
everything you need, do not react negatively. Let the company know that
you would like some time to consider their offer. Some time does not
mean a week. Let them know you will have an answer for them the
following morning. It is at this point in the interview process where a
recruiter becomes very effective. Let the recruiter know what additional
needs you have. These needs can then be relayed to the company. If you
are not using a recruiter let the company know what you need. There is
usually room to maneuver an offer into an acceptable one.
If the offer is acceptable, don't play games.
Accept it! From that point you will be able to formulate a plan to begin
working with the company. One thing you do need to do is thank them.
This may seem a bit overzealous, but it will serve you well to write
thank you letters to the people who had a direct part in hiring you.
This will not be forgotten later.
Now that you have accepted an offer the hard
part begins, which is
Resignation from your current
Resigning can be the most
emotional and difficult part of making a career change. Through these
preparation methods this task will be made easier.
Your goal in the resignation process is to
keep it clean and simple. Write a very concise resignation letter to
present to your immediate supervisor. You can view some sample
resignation letters at the bottom of this page. When you go to resign do
it at a slow time during the day. Do not resign in an antagonistic
manner. Be clear as to what your intentions are. Use phrases such as "I have accepted a new position and will be starting there on (date)".
Give your former employer the option of having you work out a two-week
notice. If you are going to work for a competitor in the same market,
your current employer may let you go immediately. A two-week notice is
recommended, but keep in mind it is not required. This is a professional
courtesy. If you feel that you would not be, or will be made to be
uncomfortable for this time leave as soon as you feel satisfied that
your services are no longer critical to operations. The idea behind a
clean, concise resignation is to discourage any
Counteroffers. A proper resignation
also leaves a favorable last impression with your employer. (Whose
reference may be helpful to you at a later point in your career.)
Sample Resignation Letters
The following letters are simply templates
that make your intentions to your current employer clear and discourage
This letter and the decision it represents has
not been an easy one. At this time another employment opportunity has
presented itself that I must take advantage of. This in no way reflects
how I feel about (Company Name) or its treatment towards me. Therefore
at this time, I am submitting my resignation. My last day will be
(Date). I will be happy to assist with any transition of responsibility
that you feel is necessary.
Thank you for the opportunity to work with
(Company Name). It has been a pleasure.
It is with regret that I am submitting my
resignation effective (Date). My affiliation with (Company Name) has
been a fulfilling and rewarding experience. However, I have accepted a
job opportunity that will allow me to accelerate my professional growth
and realize my career goals. It is in my and my family's best interest
to pursue this opportunity.
Again, I thank (Company Name) for a rewarding
Consider the following before
you decide to accept your employers' counter-offer:
Your employer offers an increase in salary to
counter an offer made by a competing firm. Many employees will
entertain, and a few will accept the (counter) offer. Those that accept
a counter-offer often do so because they will not have to address the
emotions of leaving their "comfort zone" (current employer), and
entering into the unknown of joining a new company. But, what are the
dangers of accepting a counter-offer?
1. In the mind of your manager (employer), it is
never a good time for you to resign. "I'm short-handed, I'll miss my
vacation, it affects the morale of the (my) department, this makes me
look bad to my boss", etc. Your manager (employer) needs to buy time to
find your replacement.
2. Why did you have to resign in order to get a
raise? If you are worth the counter-offer dollars now, why didn't you
receive an increase in pay before now? Did you have to blackmail your
manager into getting a raise?
3. Your annual review is coming up in a few
months. Are you just getting an increase in your pay early?
4. In your manager's (employer's) mind, you are
no longer a loyal employee. No longer within that "inner circle" as a
trusted employee. Often, as soon as your manager (employer) finds a
replacement for you, adios! Or, perhaps you may be passed up for the
Statistics show that if you accept a counter
offer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in six months or of being
let go within one year is extremely high. Statistics compiled by the
National Employment Association, confirm that over 80% of those who
accept a counter-offer are no longer with the same company six months
Accepting a counter-offer can influence the
decision of a future employer from making you an offer to join their
company. In effect you may have "blackballed" yourself.
Remember the reasons you had for making a
career change. Sure, part of it may be compensation. However, there were
probably other motivating factors such as, upward mobility, challenge,
geographic location, and so on.
Once you have made the decision to make a
change in your career path, make a plan, follow your plan, and stick to
it. Don't allow yourself to be "futured" into staying with your current
employer. It is not worth the risk.
Dress for the Interview
Always dress according to the occasion & going for an interview
demands Formal Dressing. Make sure you are wearing tidy clothes.
Dressing Conservatively helps.
Be there on Time
For a any interview always keep a few minutes spare & reach
well before time. Try and use the washroom & freshen yourself
up before walking in the room.
Always seek permission of the
interviewer while entering the room. Make a firm hand shake and
wish the interviewer. Radiate your confidence with smile. Be
prompt while answering the questions with aplomb.
Take the sit thanking the interviewer. Sit erect & alert.
Maintain soft eye contact with the interviewer. Speak with
confidence and assurance. Be enthusiastic and responsive.
Be precise & upfront
While answering questions, be precise.
Hit the nail on the head. In minimum words, let the interviewer
know that you know what he is asking . Avoid lengthy argument or
discussion. If you do not know a particular thing, best be
upfront. Beating about the bush with a good interviewer will get
Show your interest
Give due respect to the interviewer &
constantly keep yourself alert & interested. Do not smoke or chew
gum during interviews. Do not slouch in the chair, tap your feet,
play with eyeglasses, pencil, or fidget nervously.
First things first & Last things Last
While asking questions, do not ask
direct questions about salary or other benefits at the beginning
of the interview. Rather ask questions on Job profile,
responsibilities, growth prospects initially.
Do your homework before the interview
Learn about the company as much as you
can. Visit their site, see the products, name of founder etc& then
relate to the job requirement.
Don't forget the basics
Prepare and rehearse common questions
and answers. For example - Tell us something about yourself? What
was the nature of your job? What can you do for this company?
Three reasons, why should we be hiring you? What special skills
did you acquire? What where your Targets? What did you achieve?
What was your day was like on your job? What were your strengths?
Weaknesses? Why are you considering leaving your present job? Why
are you interested in this company and how can you contribute? AND
lastly but not the least Industry References. Have the names & contact numbers handy.
Talk about your achievements
If you have done better than others,
worked hard, make it count. Highlight your achievements. If interested, show it.
If you are keen for the job, let the
interviewer know that you are keen for the job. That way he will
surely give you a priority & over others who he is not sure of.
Always keep your option open
Even if you feel not interested in the
job, do not tell it to the interviewer. Be courteous. It will only
help you. You can thank him & tell him that you will need to
over it & will revert soon. Who knows you may actually change you
mind the next day.
While concluding the interview, thank
the interviewer for the time and consideration given you. Ask when
you should meet again to discuss the position further. It often
takes several interviews to obtain the job offer. Ask for a
business card and give yours in return.
Don’t show Desperation
Never show your desperation for the job. You may lose the job &
even if you get it, you will definitely lose your negotiating
power. Besides the company is looking for achievers & not