SMART Interview Tips

Interviews can be rather stressful if you are not prepared or don’t know what to expect. While some industries have their own way of conducting interviews as would be the case when some large organizations are involved and the choose to use the interview by panel route, the basics for all face-to-face meetings remain the same, regardless of the size of the organization. I have taken the opportunity to list the ‘basics’ below.

Before the Interview:

• Research the company so that you will be able to speak intelligently on the subject when asked. The degree of research you need to do is directly proportional to where you expect to be in the organizational hierarchy. Individuals applying for entry level positions need not to be as informed as those individuals who are looking for senior management positions

For the Interview:
• Dress professionally i.e. wear conservative clothing, appropriate shoes, minimal jewellery, little or no perfume
• Bring breath mints and pop one in your mouth before the interview begins – NO CHEWING GUM
• Dress one level above the job you are seeking
• Bring a portfolio or briefcase with you that contains extra copies of your résumé, a notepad and a pen
• Turn OFF your cell phone or Blackberry and put it away will of your other electronic gadgets
• Arrive at the interview destination at least 10 minutes before the interview is scheduled to begin. the coffee cup outside! You really don’t need that kind of security blanket.Leave
• When you arrive at your destination, introduce yourself to the receptionist. Don’t forget to smile!

During the Interview:
• Smile
• Wait to be asked to take a seat
• Take a seat AFTER the person who is doing the interview has taken theirs
• DO NOT accept an offer for coffee although accepting a glass of water is perfectly fine
• Remain as calm as possible
• Questions that you should expect to answer during the interview include the following:
• Tell me about yourself – This question is directed at your qualifications for the job, not about your extra curricular activities. You want to demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job.
o Why do you want to work for this company?
o Why should we hire you?
o Why did you leave your last job?
o Where do you see yourself in five years?
• If the question that is being asked of you needs further clarification, do not hesitate to ask for that clarification.
• It is perfectly fine to take a moment or two to compose your thoughts before to begin answering the questions posed by the interviewer.
• If you are unsure if you have asked the question completely, as the interviewer if you need to expand on your answer
• Be prepared to ask questions of the interviewer when given the opportunity. Good questions to ask include:
o Why is this opportunity available?
o What is the turnover rate for employees in this company?
o What is the timeline for filling the position?

End of the interview:
• Ask for the business card of the interviewer.
• Read the name and job title of the interviewer
• Thank the interviewer BY NAME for his/her time and consideration

• DO IT! – Send a thank you card or, at the very minimum, a e-mail that details how much you appreciate being considered for the job.

©Salvino 20090618

Mary Salvino MBA is a freelance writer and career/business consultant who lives in Vancouver, BC. She has decades of experience in all aspects of career and retail management and is a valuable resource to both corporations and individuals in the area of strategic planning.

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