Would you like to approach each interview with confidence? The following information will give you an overview of some of the keys to successful interviewing.

The Purpose of an Interview:

From the perspective of the interviewer:

* To assess your interpersonal skills, attitudes, values, intelligence and experience.
* To clarify any information from your resume.

From your perspective:

* To "market" or "sell" yourself (i.e., to communicate your strengths). Your goal is to give the employer an accurate picture of your ability to do the job.
* To screen the employer and organization. Interviewing is a two-way process. You are the employer's equal and are seeking a mutually beneficial working relationship.

Types of Interviews:

Knowing that there are different types of interviews can help you to avoid being surprised. If at all possible, learn what type of interview is scheduled before you arrive.

Preliminary or screening interview: Initial interview to identify best applicants. Typically, you will be interviewed by someone in the personnel office. Stress your skills and other qualifications for the job--and your enthusiasm.

One-to-one formal interview: Most common type; manager or personnel interviewer meets with you.

Informal interview: Interview with a more informal "feel;" may take place over a meal, for example. Do not drink alcohol even if the interviewer does and he/she encourages you to. Choose something that is easy to eat and isn't messy!

Panel interview: Several individuals interview you. One important rule here: when one person on the panel asks you a question, give eye contact to every panel member as you answer the question, not just to the one person who asked the question.

Group interview: You are interviewed in a group; interviewer can observe how applicants interact with one another. Often times they are looking for leadership and teamwork skills.

Stress interview: Interviewer purposely tries to create stress in you to observe how you react (such as asking “Why are you here wasting my time?”). This may happen if the job you are applying for requires responding to stressful situations. Don't take this personally. Just keep your cool, maintain good eye contact and answer without emotion.

Advertising interview: Interviewer tries to "sell" you on the job, and may ask you little about yourself. This could be a warning sign. Try to determine if there is any reason why they are having to "sell" the job.

Preparing for the Interview:

Research yourself:
review your skills, noting the ones that particularly apply to the position for which you are interviewing. Note: a major reason for extended unemployment is that 80% of job applicants can't prove their top ten skills for the jobs for which they are interviewing.

Research the organization: the company's age, products and services, origin, its growth, financial status, corporate structure and prospects for the future. You can do this at your local library (ask the reference librarian if you need assistance). Large companies often have literature (promotional materials, annual reports, etc.) you can request be sent to you. Check to see if the organization has a web site. It can be a rich source of information! Knowing this information will help you to answer interview questions like, "What interests you about our company (agency, school)?"

Getting Ready to Go:
Practice answering the frequently asked interview questions. Knowing how you will answer these questions will give you confidence to interview well in every situation.

Review the "do's and don'ts" of effective interviewing.

Dress for the interview as if you were starting your first day of employment at the company. If needed, ask for help in selecting what to wear from someone who dresses well.

Other factors:

* Be on time (about 10 minutes early).
* Be polite to the receptionist and/or secretary.
* Take with you additional copies of your resume, letters of recommendation, etc.
* Take a good pen with you to fill out forms and a notebook to write down any important information.

The Interview:

Have an opening "sales presentation" in mind to respond to open-ended questions such as, "Tell me about yourself."

Remember that the interviewer may be more nervous than you are (and less skilled in interviewing!). There is a lot at stake in hiring someone.

Remember that you have the power to say no to a position if it is not right for you.

Concluding the Interview:

Ask the interviewer your prepared questions. See Questions for Screening the Employer.

Be sure to ask, "Can you tell me when you'll be making a decision?" Ask about salary, benefits, or vacation only if you've been extended a job offer or you know that you are being seriously considered for the position. If you ask about these too early, it may give the impression that you are more interested in what you will receive than in what you will give to the job.

Remember that the interview stops only when you have left the premises in your car. You never know who may be observing and evaluating you when you are on the company grounds!

Send a thank you note within 24 hours. The note gives you an opportunity to restate your interest, qualifications and enthusiasm for the job as well as to thank them for taking the time to interview you.

If you don't hear when expected, take the initiative! Be "gently persistent"-- that is, "bug" them, but do it politely! For example, when you call back, you can say, "I was in to interview with you [one week, two weeks] ago for the ____________ position. I was calling to check in regarding where you are in the decision-making process."


©© 1999 Copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck. All rights reserved.
Source: The above information is published electronically by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, and is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission from the copyright owners. For additional information, contact the Brennflecks at 626/577-2705. The Christian Career Center is found at www.ChristianCareerCenter.com  
and on America Online at keyword COCC.