EFFECTIVE INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES
An interview is your opportunity to learn about our client and the position(s) offered and for the client to learn about you. While it is important to be relaxed and as natural as possible, it is also important to recognize that an interview is a formal meeting between professionals and not a chat with your friends.
While it is SMCI’s policy not to prep candidates for interviews, (i.e. provide them with the “right” answers to the interviewer’s possible questions), as your representatives, we think it is appropriate to provide you with some general information about how to conduct yourself during an interview so as to present yourself in an honest and positive fashion.
If you will be interviewing with an SMCI client, your SMCI representative will review this information with you. We urge you to review it again on your own prior to your interview with the client. Spend some thoughtful time with it and do your best to implement the suggestions it contains. If you do, we believe you will have a better experience and, more than likely, a more positive outcome.
Relax, be yourself.
Many people tend to tense up at an interview. If you are one of them, it might even be of value to do some stretching exercises prior to heading for the interview. While it is a formal meeting, don’t be too stiff. Let your personality come through so that the interviewer can get a sense of who you are. We would not be sending you out to our client if we didn’t think they would like you.
Generally this will be conservative business attire – even if the client has a casual or business casual environment. In the event that other attire is appropriate for a particular client interview, your SMCI representative will let you know. Avoid extreme styles, excessive jewelry, and the overuse of colognes and perfumes.
Leave cell phones and pagers in your car.
Don’t merely plan on turning them off – leave them in your car. Few events will bring an interview to a negative conclusion faster than an applicant’s taking a call during the interview.
Plan to get to the interview at least 15 minutes early.
Nothing gets an interview off on the wrong foot faster than showing up late. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and being late will not make the impression you desire. Give yourself ample travel time to allow for any unexpected delays. This will give you an opportunity to become focused and prepared for your interview.
Prior to the interview research the company on the web.
We will provide you with our client’s URL. Learn as much as you can about your prospective employer. Let the interviewer know about your research and what you found interesting about the company. Make a list of questions you would like to ask the interviewer about the company based on your research.
Listen, and be forthright in your answers – don’t be evasive, and don’t bluff.
One of the most important interview skills is listening. Listen carefully to what is being said – as well as what is unsaid. If you think you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification. If you don’t know an answer, just say so. If you are guessing at the answer, be sure to let the interviewer know that your answer is a guess.
If the interview is a technical one or contains technical testing components, this is particularly important. It is likely that the interviewer is highly knowledgeable on the technical aspects of the interview. Bluffing will destroy your credibility.
If you don’t know an answer, just say so. However, if you think you can figure it out or know how to find out, let the interviewer know that you don’t know for sure, but here is what you think. Let the interviewer see your thought process as you work out your answer. Often how you go about problem solving is more important than whether you know the right technical answer.
Be brief and succinct but not cryptic.
Keep your answers to the point and avoid running on and on, particularly on subjects not really related to the questions. However, if the question calls for a narrative or explanations, do not hesitate in providing them.
Be positive, avoid negativity.
Follow the old adage that “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” In particular avoid making negative comments (i.e. “bad mouthing”) former employers, managers, job responsibilities.
Be confident without seeming arrogant.
The dividing line is very thin. Don’t magnify the situation, restate or provide more data than is really needed, or you risk coming off as overly confident or arrogant. State the facts needed to get the point across, and then move on to the next topic.
If you want the job, make sure that you let the interviewer know you want the job.
We have done our best to describe our client’s work environment, the nature of the opportunity, and the responsibilities of the position. We have presented you to our client because we believe that you are right for the position and because we believe that it is a position that you want.
When you interview with the client, you will learn even more about the position and the environment you will be working in. If your interest in the position continues, be sure to communicate this to the interviewer.
If you are feeling enthusiastic about the job, let the interviewer see your enthusiasm.
|Avoid providing trivial reasons for wanting the position.
Some examples of “trivial” reasons would be:
|“This is close to home.”|
|“I’m tired of sitting at home doing nothing.”|
|“I thought I would give this a try.”|
|At the end of the interview:|
|a. Thank the interviewer for taking his or her time to see you.|
|b. Shake the interviewer’s hand.|
|c. Ask for a business card.|
|d. If your interest in the job continues, make sure to let the interviewer know that you are interested and that you want the job.|
|e. Don’t pretend to be excited, but if you’re feeling enthusiastic about the opportunity, let the interviewer see that enthusiasm.|
|f. As soon as you get to a computer, email a thank you note to all who interviewed you.|