Tips for a Successful In Person Interview

Interview Logistics

  1. Make sure you are comfortable with directions. Bring phone numbers with you in case you get lost or hit worse than expected traffic. If you are running late, call our main office at 310.479.8830, but be sure to call the client directly as well.
  2. Dress in a nice suit unless you have been advised to dress more casually.
  3. Aim to arrive about 10 minutes early.
  4. Leave the cell phone in the car!
  5. Bring a portfolio/paper so you are prepared to write down notes if there is a need.

Interview Time

  1. Basics: Good handshake, good eye contact and positive attitude.
  2. Be punctual – plan to arrive about 10 minutes early. There is nothing that will throw you off of an interview than showing up late.
  3. Manners – be nice and professional with everyone, including the security guard, receptionist and personal assistants. When you are waiting in the reception area, don’t put your feet up or get too casual.
  4. Let the interviewer lead the interview. Make sure you are answering questions directly and with enough, but not too much information. Do not try to control the interview – let the interviewer be the one that steers the conversation.
  5. There is no such thing as an interview which is a “formality”. It is never a formality. Even if you feel you have built a rapport with one/many employees at the company, never forget that you are interviewing and maintain the same level of professionalism at all times.
  6. Yes/No Questions: Try to answer in a positive fashion that shows flexibility. If you’re asked if you have a particular technical skill that you are not familiar with, obviously say “No”. But, add a “but”. Example: “No, I have not used Java, but I have solid object oriented development skills, am a quick learner and have used C++ and VB extensively.” You can also ask the interviewer if that skill is required for the position. Many times it’s not, but they want to feel out your experience, and or see what your attitude is about learning new things.
  7. If you get “Tell Me About” questions, many times they are attitudinal (“What is your attitude towards overtime, maintenance, etc”). Try to answer in an honest, positive and flexible manner (even if it’s something you do not want to do, try to round out a No with something softer).
  8. Generally you’ll have time to ask questions, so use the ones you have prepared prior to the interview.
  9. Be sure to be prepared to discuss the kinds of work you have been doing. It is a good idea to review your resume to refresh your memory and to boost your confidence. Be sure to relay the hands-on experience with good examples that demonstrate your technical experience and/or management qualifications for this position.
  10. Have a clear idea of what you’re looking for and why. Be sure to map your experience to the position you are interviewing for. This is NOT the time to try to upsell yourself.
  11. At the end of an interview, try to ferret out concerns that the interviewer may have regarding your qualifications. Here are some examples of questions that may help to identify such concerns: Based on our meeting, I feel both qualified and interested in your firm. What are the next steps? Do you have any concerns about my qualifications for this position? Is there any area that I can further clarify for you?
  12. Salary: If you are asked for your current salary, go ahead and tell the interviewer. You should not be the one to bring up money. You may want to add that though money is an important factor, it’s not the only factor in your decision. If you are asked what your salary requirements are, try to tactfully deflect the question back to the interviewer. You never know what number he/she has in mind, and the figure you throw out may be far greater than they are prepared to offer (so you run the risk of getting no offer), or the number is below the actual number (so you shortchange yourself). Let us do the salary negotiation at the point an offer is being made. An example of a good answer is “ I feel qualified and interested in the position, and if you feel the same about me, please make me the best offer that you are comfortable with so I may consider a career with (company).” Here’s another “I don’t want to give you a specific number because frankly I would be guessing. I’d prefer to leave you with the fact that I know I’m qualified and I’m very interested in what we have discussed today. If you feel the same about me, I am hopeful you’ll make me the best offer you feel comfortable with.” If those options don’t feel right, or you are pushed to give a number, give a range so it buys us room to negotiate.