Interview Tips

Please if you see any typos, grammar errors, please let me know.

These tips include

Not preparing for the interview is a big mistake
Be prepared for

How to get a job offer
Communication is the key to a successful interview
How to make people listen
If your first language isn’t English
Body Language
SHYNESS – 20 ways to overcome shyness
– Shyness is the fear of negative judgment
      The Secret of Transforming Shyness    Ways that Transform Shyness
How to Be Assertive
How to show ENTHUSIASM
How to show CONFIDENCE
How to easily give your charisma a boost

3 ways people will remember you and you will get a job offer

Make a good impression
Manager is thinking

Managers want someone who is

What managers want to hear
For phone interviews
Answering Questions
“Mirror” the person you’re meeting with.
Sit with your back straight and your chest open.
You have to give in depth answers and explanations to receive a job offer.
Make sure you come across as hands on
Questions you maybe asked
What are your strengths 

Behavior Type Questions

Another Reason Applicants Don’t Get A Job Offer
Reasons clients weren’t interested in recent Applicants
Why manager was interested in Applicant
Manager’s Negative Comments After Interviews

See What to say to get the job

Thank You Letters only after a face to face interview

Phone Interview – A land line is best

If you have to use a cell

* don’t be driving
* be in a location you know you won’t have a problem with the connection
* if you only hear part of the question, ask for it to be repeat it. – You don’t want to assume what the question is and give the wrong answer. The interviewer will think you don’t know the answer and are just making something up.
* Managers always prefer that when you don’t know an answer you just admit it.

Prepare for the interview – Never do an interview without first doing your research about the company
Dress well
– This is the best way to impress. Jacket and Tie, no sweaters. Over dress is better than under dress
See more on how to dress below
Arrive on time
– Even if you have a good excuse, your interviewer won’t think as highly of you if you’re late.
Act confident
– Try your best to emit confidence! Smile, stand/sit up tall, make eye contact, have a firm handshake
Ask intelligent questions

In a 2011 survey, 38% of managers said the number one interview mistake they encountered was little or no knowledge about the hiring organization. Don’t let that happen to you. Do your homework ahead of time so you are ready to say why you want this job and for this company.

Industry knowledge
Want to “wow” the interviewer? Show off your knowledge of the industry. Talk about recent newsworthy events or the company’s newest products. Thoroughly understanding your industry proves your passion for the field. In addition, having this knowledge suggests you have a deeper level of expertise than the average candidate.

Past experiences
Your past experiences demonstrate how you would perform if you landed the job. So, you want to be prepared to describe past experiences where you had a big impact. If you have numbers to back up your claims, that’s even more persuasive.

Next steps
Understanding the next steps in the interview process is essential. Always ensure you’re aware of what these are. It may be a second interview. It may be giving the company a list of references. It may mean you won’t know the outcome for a few weeks. By asking about these next steps, you’ll know what to expect and gain some peace of mind. You’ll also show your enthusiasm for this position.

At the end of the interview and How to get pass the phone interview and get an onsite interview
* Be a SME – Subject Matter Expert.
* Just be sure you put on your resume things you actually know and have worked on and can explain it in some level of details.
* If you write stuff you don’t know, you might get a lot of interviews but not a lot of job offers.
* Always back the technical concepts with examples of how you applied it at your work place. It adds to your credibility.
* At the end of the interview, make it a habit to ask the interviewer, was I clear on all the answers I gave and is there is anything you would like me to go over again.

Say “Thank you” – At the end of your interview, don’t forget to thank your interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. The next day, send a personal “thank you” note to each person you met with via email. It’ll set you apart from the crowd

See Thank you letter tips below

WEAR Men – Jacket and Tie – navy to project confidence, trust, stability and security
– Client said he had a sweater with fleece material. It would have been a better look without the sweater

Both men and women
It doesn’t matter how much you spend on your wardrobe–if your clothes are too snug or too loose, they will undermine your professional credibility.
No Tennis Shoes or Sneakers

Projecting That Professional Image
Think about the first impression you create by wearing clothes that do not fit. If the outfit is too large, then you look sloppy. Sloppy dress gives the impression that you are lazy and inattentive to details. If too small, then flaunting your shape may seem more important than being noticed for your business talent

It’s better to dress too formally than to dress to casually

WEAR – Women  
Well-tailored suit in a neutral color (black, navy, or gray)
If you’re wearing a skirt, nylons are a must
Clean, pressed suit or tailored dress
Polished pumps/shoes in good repair  
miniskirts, tight sweaters, sloppy overalls and sandals with straps
Minimal makeup, hairspray and non-flashy jewelry
Light-scented perfume or none at all
Attractive, controlled hair style
Conservative hosiery without runs
Clean fingernails with no chipped polish
Inspect your hair, nails hems and the shine on your shoes
Check your outfit for holes, tears, stains, scuffs or wrinkles
Carry either a purse or attache case

Be prepared for a technical, functional or management interview depending on your skills

Remember SHE –
Smile, Handshake and Eye contact
Remember CAR –
Describe the Challenge – Express your Action – Describe the Resolution

Communication is the key to a successful interview
How to make people listen
Speak slowly
If your first language isn’t English
* Speak up and speak slower. The slower you speak the easier it will be to understand you.
* Take a hint
if you’re being asked to repeat what you said, speak slower.
* You should get into a habit of speaking slower.
* Communicating effectively with make you a success

* The tone of your message is important and can be offensive when what you’re saying isn’t.
E.g. He sounded condescending

Body Language
Lean toward the interviewer(s)
* Face the person directly and give them direct eye contact, combined with fully-focused attention, you double the impact of what you’re saying.
* Sincere smiling, head nodding, relaxed arms

Negative Body Language
* Looking around the room,  crossing arms, leaning back in chair, narrowing of eyes, pointing the feet towards the door, lowering head, nodding too much, tapping fingers, kicking / bouncing foot, a frown

How to easily give your charisma a boost
* Keep a relatively still body language.
* Excessive nodding or fidgeting can make you ­appear impatient, insecure, or nervous.
* Also, when someone asks you a question, wait one or two seconds before answering.
* Charisma is not just about others’ ­perceptions of you; it’s about how you make them feel about themselves.
* That brief pause makes the other person feel that their question was so weighty, so smart, that you need to gather your thoughts before you respond

How to show ENTHUSIASM?  Big warm consistent smile.
How to show CONFIDENCE?

* Use firm handshake
* Plenty of eye contact
* Strong, forceful voice, speak up and speak clearly in a confident tone
* Don’t answer a question like you’re asking is this the right answer.

Confidents goes a long way
Manager said after phone interview

While she doesn’t have the extent of SD background we are looking for she seems very confident in gaining whatever knowledge is necessary.  We would like to have an in person interview.

Speak Easy
Every word counts.
Avoid saying anything that doesn’t add ­value (“um” is a prime example); don’t use three sentences
when one will do. By eliminating the verbal filler, you’ll have people hanging on your words instead of tuning them out.
* Set the tone at the start. Instead of beginning with the standard “Hi, my name is,” grab your listeners’ attention with a scene or a question. Choose a story that captures an important message and practice telling it with emotion and fluid body language.
* Speak with confidence. If you doubt yourself, your audience will, too. Stand up straight, establish eye ­contact—and smile.
* Get the crowd in on the act. Make your listeners the stars and you will shine more brightly. Ask them questions that require
more than yes-or-no answers. You’ll enrich the discussion, and they will feel valued.

* Shaking hands involves two parts of your body: Your hand and your eyes.
* Make eye contact until you notice the color of someone’s eyes.
* Get a Grip when it comes to handshaking, the mantra is: “Not too long, not too short, not too hard,”.
* The handshake should be a quick, businesslike shake of the hand, where you engage the entire palm of the person and where you use a moderate grip – not super strong, but not weak,”.
* If you do those things you’ll be fine. Assume [the handshake] is going to be firm and match pressure.
* You’re going to be shaking with your right hand so have your belongings on your left side
* Offer your hand with the palm slightly up
* Never cover the person’s hand with the hand you’re not shaking with 

3 ways people will remember you and you will get a job offer
1. You offer ideas to solve their problems.
2. You fit in.
3. You bring value to the relationship.

Make an impression – Experience is irrelevant – Accomplishments are everything
Talking about your experience
(major accomplishments) makes more of an impression than number of years of experience.
Offering your experience indicates your good, number of years doesn’t.
Use I, me not we
. Managers want to know what you did

Managers want someone who is
* Eager, energetic, flexible, and aggressive, someone who can work with users, other team members, managers, etc.
* If you appear to quiet or shy, they will be concerned you won’t be able to work with users, coworkers and managers.

* Managers are most concern that you will fit in with their team. Be friendly and smile a lot.
* Likes their job, love what they do, computers are my hobby when I’m not working
* a Problem solver

Ask these types of solution selling questions early in the interview:
May I asked a few questions that will help me better understand your needs so I can give the best answers.
Why is the job open?
What are some of the big challenges the person hired will need to address?
What are some problems that need fixing?
How does the job fit with the company strategy?
What’s the most important thing the person hired needs to do in the first 3-6 months to be considered successful?

Once you understand the 2-3 big things the person needs to accomplish, you then need to position yourself as the solution. Give examples of your accomplishments that most directly relate to their problems.

As you describe your accomplishments use the following two-minute SAFW formatSay A Few Words:
S: make an opening Statement
A: Amplify the statement
F: provide a Few examples and details as specific proof
W: conclude with a Wrap-up sentence

As part of your answer, don’t talk for less than one minute or more than three. If it’s too short no one will believe you, and if you’re too long, you’ll be considered insensitive and boring.

CAUTION: This advice will only work if you’ve done something comparable. It will backfire if you try to fake it. Equally important, you need to prepare your answers ahead of time. The short way to do this is to prepare an SAFW (Say A Few Words ) response for everyone of your strengths. The examples are the most important part of this.

What managers want to hear
* I believe I provide a service to business users and I take ownership for the project until it goes lives and its up to me to
make sure it gets done.  Use your own words.
* They want to know they are hiring someone that will make them look good.
* Do this by indicating long hours you worked to get the project completed on time.
* Any ideas you came up with to improve processes save time and or save the company money

If phone interview
Have your resume in front of you.

Hard copy and on your pc screen so you can jump to where you need to go

Answering Questions
Use the STAR approach. State the Situation / Task that was at hand, the Action you took and the Results you achieved.
Use I statements rather than we.
So the interviewer knows what you were responsible for.

Problem Solving Questions
* When was the last time you solved a difficult problem that would have significant impact?
* What was the situation?
* How did you go about analyzing the problem?
* What additional information did you gather?
* What alternative solutions did you consider?
* Tell me how you implemented your solution. What was the outcome?

Decision Making
What was the most difficult decision you have made in the last six months?
* What was the situation?
* What made it difficult?
* What factors or variables did you consider?
* What did you decide? What was the result?

Describe your best example of taking the initiative to do something that needed to be done, even though it wasn’t really your responsibility.
* What was the situation?
* What circumstances required you to act?
* What actions did you take?
* What impact did your initiative have on the situation?

 “Mirror” the person you’re meeting with.
* Don’t change your personality, but match the interviewer’s style. People tend to like people that are like themselves.
* The mirroring technique came from “psychological” research and training.  It truly is amazing how well it works.  And, it
takes a candidate’s mind off of themselves so much and has them focus on the interviewer which makes them less nervous.

Sit with your back straight and your chest open.
Don’t throw your arms across the back of the chair.
Don’t have a lot of stuff on your lap.

You have to give in depth answers and explanations to receive a job offer.
Answer question in 1 minute if possible but give enough of an answers so they know you know what you’re talking about. Manager said, he had a really nice quiet confident approach to the questions and good responses.

Make sure you come across as hands on
Don’t give an impression that you don’t want to do development, other hands on duties or others that the job requires.

Questions you maybe asked
In advance write down
and memorize
* Tell me about yourself.
Don’t give the story of your life.
* Summarize your answer in 60 seconds or less. You should have this answer memorized.
* Give a very brief rundown including education, previous job titles targeted very specifically toward how your
experience and / or education will be useful in the position for which you’re applying.
* These are things I’m good at. These are things I can do for the company.
* Don’t give personal information (marital status, hobbies, where you were born, religion, etc.)

Indicate your experience and that you are a team player
Example: “In over 15 years as a graphic designer, I’ve mastered a number of software programs and techniques. Those skills have helped me contribute to some great work, but the best part of the experience, for me, is collaborating with a team to build something that clients can fall in love with.”

How what you do benefits the team, project, department and company

Why are you considering a job change
Good answers
* There were changes in management; the company’s direction didn’t align with my personal goals. Be ready to explain more if asked.
* Recent changes made me concerned about the stability of the company and my role
Bad answers

* Money
* I don’t like my boss or co-workers
* A Headhunter called me

What are your strengths
* Talk about strengths that are very specific to the job you’re interviewing for. Talk about Accomplishments, how saved the company money, etc.
* Where do you see yourself in 5 years – E.g.  A Sr Analyst, Lead or Manager with (company name). Bad answer I’ll be in business for myself or working for another company.
* Why you left each job
* What your starting and ending salaries were at each job
* What you liked about each job
* What you didn’t like (be careful with this question), never say you didn’t like your boss, anyone else or doing the job
that this job requires, too much overtime, etc 

Behavior Type Questions
Manager is thinking –
“The most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation”
Give examples include
The Situation, The Action you took and The Positive Results.
Before the interview
think about experiences you can tell based on the job description that shows you’ve successfully handle the problems before.

Answer this question wrong and you don’t get a job offer 
The number 1 reason applicants don’t get a job offer is because they answer the money question wrong.

Quick Money Tip – The Salary Range, The Big Mistake
* When people hear a salary range, they only hear the top of the range. This is a big mistake.
* If you should be made a job offer there’s a 99% chance, you will be disappointed
because you will be offered around the  middle of the range unless you’re already making the middle or top of the range.
* When you hear a range, think middle or a little lower than the middle of the range
and you won’t be disappointed if you get a job offer. 
* Telling an employer you want $10K more than the top of the range 20K – 30K increase in base salary is usually the end of the interview and no job offer.

If asked about money, the manager isn’t asking how much should I offer you (all companies have salary guidelines, they can’t bring you in at higher salary then someone at their company with similar experience). He wants to hear you say, I’m making X amount with a XX% Bonus, I’m interested in the company, this position and working for you, please make me an offer. When we get to that point, I’m sure we’ll both be fair.

If asked a second time, how much money you want, indicate while we all work for money, working for a financially stable company with the right position and right manager is more important for me to accept a position, than a huge salary increase, of course all of the above would be impossible to turn down. I’m very interested in working for you, please make me an offer.

 If asked a third time, how much money you want say in your own words
When deciding on a position I consider the following factors; quality of the opportunity, quality of the company and the people I’d be working with, long term growth potential, location and compensation. Compensation is the least important criteria I use to evaluate a position. So far I’m impressed with what I have learned about this opportunity and remain very interested.”

As a last restore if you feel you have to give a figure
Indicate that recruiters have told you a salary increase of between 8% – 12% are common and that you believe these figures are fair. I’m very interested in the position so I would accept between xx,xxx – xx,xxx. Don’t be tempted to raise these figures, if you do, you will not get a job offer. If you know what the salary range is, tell them 5K – 10K less than the top of the range. If range is $90K – $110K I’ll consider $95K – $105K if range is $110K – $125K I’ll consider $115K – $120K. Managers want to bring someone in, at the middle of the range. So make they feel confident you will seriously considering an offer in that range. Managers never want to go to the top of the range, so asking for the highest figure is a good way to make sure you won’t be considered. Managers may consider offering the top if you’re already making the top of the range or more.

Another Reason Applicants Don’t Get A Job Offer
* They give superficial answers rather then admitting they don’t know.
* Managers prefer
that you admit what you know and don’t know.
* Giving just a one line answer
also gives the impression of not much experience in this area, which is ok, if you don’t
have much experience.
* Do answer questions in 30 seconds or less whenever possible.
Give enough of an answer to show you have in-depth
experience in the area or project you will be working on.

Reasons clients weren’t interested in Applicants
* No jacket or tie, Had a sweeter with fleche material – It would have been a better look without the sweeter
* He wasn’t able to articulate (explain) how he would configure and setup XXXXXX
* I had a hard time understanding him
* She didn’t seem to understand what I was asking. If unsure ask for more information before answering the question.
* He didn’t sound confident in his answers
* She didn’t seem to have the level of development experience we were looking for
* Not a strong personality to work with our demanding users – See personality tips attached
* He was not able to display any in-depth customization experience / knowledge
* When asked to explain technical terms and optimal solutions to some scenarios, he tended to sound a bit condescending in his responses
* He came across with way too many “I don’t know” answers and showed himself as being more of a manager than a person with hands-on experience.

Why manager was interested in Applicants
* He had a really nice quiet confident approach to the questions and good responses.
* I liked that he was very honest said what he knew and what he didn’t know

A THANK YOU EMAIL AFTER AN INTERVIEW LEAVES A POSITIVE IMPRESSION AFTER AN ONSITE INTERVIEW.  Be sure to ask everyone for their card or email address if they don’t have a card.

If it went well on both sides and they’re interested in you, you should send a thank you letter. If you’re confident it went well, start writing them before I get back to you. See thank you letter tips and samples at Sample thank you letters. If you use these, change them to your own words.

Send them to me first to proof read. In almost all instances, there is something that needs correcting or some modification.
You don’t want to lose the deal because of misspelled words or poor grammar.

 When sending me the thank you email to proof read, put in the subject line Company Name Thank You Letter. If you don’t get a response from me within 2 hours, call me.

 Comments from managers regarding thank you letters
* Thank you letters leave a very positive impression.
* Most important are soft and hard skills. You might see this as soft skills in regard to communication and behavior.
* An email is the best thing after an interview, preferably mentioning something special that was said at the interview that would make it stand out in the interviewer’s memory.
* I would begin to wonder about the applicant if I didn’t hear from him / her.

* A thank you note says a lot about how serious you are about the position. It’s also a chance to follow up on some questions that you may not have answered as well as possible.

* If I receive a thank you note (even an email is fine), it tells me the candidate is truly interested.
* It shows professionalism and follow up skills.
* Hiring managers get miffed because the candidate did not send a thank you to HR or “non decision makers”.
* I recommend sending everyone a thank you note but its important that each one has to be unique — no boilerplate documents!

* The letter sets the candidate apart from the crowd.
* A thank you letter was sent, the candidate didn’t get hired, but the manager hired him 6 months later. The manager remembered his interest, professionalism and courtesy. The letter did it.
* When it came down to two candidates being equally qualified and equally liked, the one that made the extra effort and showed interest ended up with the job!

More than one qualified candidate
* 2 or 3 applicants had similar skills and experience.
* They interviewed well and had good references. It was often the thank you note that helped make the decision.
* The thank you notes that grabbed my attention addressed specific action items that person would take as a new employee.
They reached back to our interview, recalling specific details and how they clearly understood what my company needed and how they would help achieve our goals. Basically, their thank you note, told me they “got it.”

Send within 24 hours or as soon as I tell you you’re being considered.

A thank you letter allows you to explain, restate, or clear up any potential misunderstandings.
* In addition, you can redirect your marketing campaign by focusing on something that you learned during the interview and re-emphasizing your strengths, accomplishments and skills.
* Sending a thank you letter shows the interviewer that you are a professional who is concerned about details. In the end, a thank you letter is your last chance to leave a good impression!

More Thank you letter tips:
* Keep your letters short and simple – usually one page is enough.
* Help the interviewer remember you by referring to specific points discussed in your interview: Show that you were listening and mention something that will refresh the interviewer’s memory of you.
* Be sure your letters are professional. For example: typed and no errors, etc.
* Emphasize your qualifications, especially those that are most relevant to the position.
* Provide any information that was overlooked during the interview or that which was specifically requested by the interviewer.
* Express your continued interest and enthusiasm for the position.

Remember, very few people bother to send thank you letters – this can be your edge!

If I tell you they’re going to make an offer, then don’t send a thank you letter. They might see something they don’t like and change their mind.

Simple Format  Use this same basic format but tailor it to each individual.

1: Thank them for the interview  / opportunity, remind him / her of the position for which you  interviewed and compliment them (company, process, product, etc.).

2: Reiterate briefly how your skills apply and tell them about the one skill / accomplishment that you didn’t get to talk about and wished you had and any previous similar project(s) you successfully accomplished. comment on something of importance that you discussed. Again, emphasize your strengths,  experiences, skills, accomplishments and slant them towards the points that the interviewer considered the most important for the position.

3: Thank them again and say that you are looking forward to hearing from them. Close them on the deal (“I am looking forward to joining the team at [company name] and would be available to start on”). If appropriate, close with a suggestion for further action (if a second interview is a possibility).

Start date should be within 2 weeks, 3 weeks if relocating; 4 weeks or longer won’t go over well.

Sample thank you letters. If you use these, change them to your own words.

100 things not to say or do on an interview see Blog menu or 100 things not to say or do on an interview

Good Luck