How to Handle Different Types of Interviews

How to be prepared for all phases of a Job Interview

How to Handle Different Types of Interviews

Interviews will come in a variety of different formats, methods and styles. Here’s how to be ready for all types of interviews, and how to be prepared for them. 


The Traditional Interview

In a traditional interview, you will be asked a series of questions which have pretty straightforward answers. For example: “What were major challenges you had, and how did you find a solution for them,” or “why are you looking to leave your current employer,” or “tell me about yourself.” 

  • If you are asked, “What are your career goals and future plans” the interviewer may want to know if your plans are consistent with those of their organization. You should let them know that you are an ambitious person and want to advance within their company.
  • Another question that may be asked is “What are your salary expectations?” This is a delicate question and should be handled carefully. Always wait for the interviewer to ask this question, and if you have to give a number, give a range or say the salary is negotiable.


The Screening Interview

Companies use screening tools and techniques to ensure that candidates meet minimum qualification requirements. Computer software programs are often used to weed out unqualified candidates. The screening interviewers’ goal is to determine whether there is anything that might disqualify you for the position.

Screeners will dig for dirt and hone in on gaps in your employment history or pieces of information that look inconsistent. One of the first things the screener will need to find out is whether you will be too expensive for the company.


Things to watch out for during a screening interview:

  • Personality can go a long way, but it’s not as important to the screener as verifying your qualifications. Answer their questions clearly and directly.
  • Be tactful about addressing income requirements. Give a range, and try to avoid giving specifics. You don’t want to lose your leverage this early in the interview process.
  • If the interview is conducted by phone, it is helpful to have your resume and a few notes highlighting your strengths ready.


The Informational Interview

This is on the opposite end of the stress spectrum from the screening interview. Job seekers secure informational meetings in order to seek the advice of someone in their current or desired field and to gain further references to people who can lend insight.

Employers that like to stay apprised of available talent even when they do not have current job openings are often open to informational interviews. These employers are especially likely to accept an informational interview with you if they like to share their knowledge, feel flattered by your interest, or thank the mutual friend that connected you to them. During an informational interview, the job seeker and employer exchange information and get to know one another better without reference to a specific job opening. 

Informational interviews take off some of the performance pressure. The objective here it to gain valuable information, just as the employer is doing at their end.

  • You should be able to pinpoint prospective employers. Through your interview you’ll develop an understanding of what it’s like to work for specific companies or individuals, and you’ll be able to make informed decisions about what employer would be a good match for you.
  • You will expand your list of contacts by collecting names from the employer with whom you interview.
  • You will gather information from your interviewers that, during your later job interviews, will help you show prospective employers that you’ve done your homework.

The Meandering Style

This interview type, usually used by inexperienced interviewers, relies on you to lead the discussion. It might begin with a statement like “tell me about yourself,” which is pretty typical, and can be used to your advantage. Interview styles such as these allow you to guide the discussion in a way that best serves your needs.

Here are some strategies which may prove helpful for any interview, particularly when interviewers use an indirect approach:

  • Pay attention to the interviewer. Even if you feel like you can take the interview in any direction you wish, remain respectful of the interviewer’s role. If he or she becomes more directive during the interview, acknowledge their move and adjust accordingly.
  • Come to the interview prepared with highlights of your skills, achievements and experiences. Do not rely on the interviewer to spark your memory. Jot down some notes that you can reference throughout the interview.
  • Ask well-placed questions. Although the open format allows you to shape the interview, you don’t want to run the risk of missing important information about the company and its core needs.


The Stress Interview

Employers view the stress interview as a legitimate way of determining a candidate’s aptness for a position. A potential employer in this case might purposely have you wait in the lobby before the interviewer greets you. You might face long silences or cold stares.

The interviewer might challenge your religious beliefs or your judgment. Be prepared because insults and miscommunication are common in this type of interview. All this is designed to see whether you can withstand the company culture, work environment, or other potential stress triggers.

  • Even if the interviewer is rude, remain calm and tactful.
  • Remember that this is a game. It is not personal.
  • Go into the interview relaxed and rested. If you go into it feeling stressed, you will have a more difficult time keeping a cool perspective.


The Situational Interview

In this interview, situations are set up to simulate common problems you might encounter on the job. Your responses to these situations are measured against predetermined standards. This approach is often used as one part of a traditional interview rather than as an entire interview format.


The Behavioral Interview

Companies increasingly rely on behavioral interviews because they use your previous behavior to predict your future performance. In these interviews, employers use standardized methods to gather information relevant to your competency in a particular area or position.

Depending on the responsibilities of the job and the working environment, you might be asked to describe a time that required problem-solving skills, leadership qualities, conflict resolution, multi-tasking, initiative, or stress management. You will be asked how you dealt with these situations. Your responses require not only reflection, but also organization of thought.


Here’s how to maximize your responses in the behavioral format:

  • Any of the qualities and skills you have included in your resume are potential probing points for the interviewer.
  • Anticipate the transferable skills and personal qualities that are required for the job.
  • Keep in mind the situations you have been in, and identify the results of your actions. Present them in less than a couple minutes.
  • Reflect on your own professional, volunteer, educational and personal experience to develop brief stories that highlight these skills and qualities in you. You should have stories for each of the competencies on your resume as well as those you anticipate the job will require.


The “Show Me” Interview

For some positions, such as engineers or trainers, companies want to see you in action before they make their decision. For this reason, they might take you through a simulation or brief exercise in order to evaluate your skills. This tilts the interview in your favor because it allows you to demonstrate your abilities through familiar challenges. The simulations and exercises should also give you a simplified sense of what the job would be like.


To maximize on this type of interview, remember to:

  • Be professional and take responsibility for the task before you.
  • Get a clear understanding of the instructions and expectations for the exercise, and if there’s a time limit to complete it. Communication is half the battle in real life, and you should demonstrate to the prospective employer that you make the effort to do things right the first time by minimizing confusion.
  • Do some role playing and brush up on your skills before an interview if you think they might be tested.


The Directive Style

In this style of interview, the interviewer has a clear agenda. Interviewers ask each candidate the same series of questions so they can readily compare the results of their interviews. Directive interviewers rely upon their own questions and methods to entice you with questions and gather what they would like to know. This style does not necessarily mean that they have dominance issues, although you should keep an eye open for these if the interviewer should end up being your supervisor.


  • Follow the interviewer’s lead.
  • Maintain control of the interview. If the interviewer does not ask you for information that you think is important to proving your superiority as a candidate, politely interject it.
How to Handle Different Types of Interviews

The Group or “Tag Team” Interview

The group interview helps a company get a glimpse of how you interact with peers to let them know if you are timid or bossy, attentive or attention-seeking. Do others turn to you instinctively, or do you compete for authority? The interviewer also wants to know if you use argumentation or careful reasoning to gain support. The interviewer might call on you to discuss an issue with the other candidates, solve a problem collectively, or discuss your qualifications in front of the other candidates. 

This environment might seem overwhelming at times, but here are a few tips that will help you interview successfully:

  • Treat others with respect while exerting influence over others.
  • Observe the dynamics and the interviewer’s rules of the game. If you are unsure of what is expected from you, ask for clarification from the interviewer.
  • Keep an eye on the interviewer throughout the process so that you do not miss important cues.
  • Use this opportunity to gain as much information about the company as you can. Just as each interviewer has a different function in the company, they each have a unique perspective. When asking questions, be sensitive not to place anyone in a position that invites him or her to compromise confidentiality or loyalty.
  • Treat each person as an important individual. Get each person’s business card at the beginning of the meeting, if possible, and refer to each person by name. If there are several people in the room at once, you might want to jot down their names on a sheet of paper according to where each is sitting. Make eye contact with each person and speak directly to the person as you ask each question.

Multiple Interviews

This type of interview is commonly used with professional jobs. This approach involves a series of interviews in which you meet individually with various representatives of the organization. In the initial interview, the representative usually attempts to get basic information on your skills and abilities. In subsequent interviews, the focus is on how you would perform the job in relation to the company’s goals and objectives.

After the interviews are completed, the interviewers meet and discuss your qualifications for the job. A variation on this approach involves a series of interviews in which unsuitable candidates are screened out at each succeeding level. It’s important to ask how many interviews are in the interview process, and who you would be interviewing with for each interview. For example, you might meet with someone in Human Resources, then a hiring manager, then team members you will be working with, and maybe even the president of the company, depending on the size of the company.

I would be suspicious of any company calling you in for a fourth or fifth interview. In cases like these, they typically want to get industry or competitor information out of you. I would be suspicious if the interviewers are jotting down notes to competitor information, or how you do things at your current company. That should be a giveaway. 


The Lunch/Dinner Interview

Interviewing over a meal can go one of two ways. It can be a catastrophe, or it can help you get the job. An example of a lunch gone bad is if the interviewer or candidate has an allergic reaction to the dish they eat. With some preparation and psychological readjustment, you can enjoy the process. Meals often have a way of getting people comfortable so they can facilitate deals.


Here are some basic social tips to help ease mixing food with business:

  • If your interviewer wants to talk business, do so. If he or she and the other guests discuss their upcoming weekend plans or their families, do not launch into business just yet.
  • Avoid foods that have been historically known to be messy, such as barbeque ribs and spaghetti.
  • Take cues from your interviewer, remembering that you are the guest. Do not sit down until your host does. Order something slightly less extravagant than your interviewer. If he insists you try a particular dish, oblige him unless it conflicts with your diet or religious beliefs. Do not begin eating until he does. If he orders coffee and dessert, do not leave him eating alone.
  • Practice eating and discussing something important simultaneously.
  • Thank your interviewer for the meal.
  • Who pays for the meal? Traditionally, the interviewer will pay for the meal.



How to prepare for a follow-up Interview

There are a number of reasons why companies bring candidates back for second and sometimes third or fourth interviews. Sometimes they just want to confirm that you are the worker they first thought you to be. Sometimes they are having difficulty deciding between a short-list of candidates. Other times, the interviewer’s supervisor or other decision makers in the company want to meet you before making a hiring decision. When meeting with the same person again, you do not need to be as assertive in communicating your skills. You can focus on building rapport, understanding where the company is going, and how your skills mesh with the company vision and culture.  


Tips for managing second interviews:

  • Elaborate on what you have to offer and your interest in the position.

Be tactful with probing questions. You want to learn more about the internal company dynamics and culture.

For other job related statistics and relevant data, you can visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website at


Tough Interview Questions and How to Overcome Them

Tough Interview Questions and How to Overcome Them

Tough Interview Questions and How to Overcome Them

Chances are you’ll be presented with tough interview questions. How you answer them might determine whether or not you get the job. Here’s a guide to help you overcome them.  

The interviewer has a vested interest in protecting their company. Don’t lose sight of why he or she asks the questions he asks. He or she will ask you questions to identify discrepancies in your employment history, red flags, or limitations in your skills or abilities to do the job. Let’s say, for example, you took time off of work to open a business or took maternity leave to raise a child. That gap in employment on your resume might raise a red flag.  

Do you have a good reason for it? Do you know how to answer these types of questions? Questions such as these are difficult to answer for most people, and many candidates respond by rambling on. Know how to respond to these critical questions.

There are three steps involved in answering typical interview questions:


1) Understand what the interviewer wants to find out. He or she might have an agenda for the interview. They might be wondering if you are dependable, able to adapt, or a team player.


2) Don’t give too much information. Saying less is actually better. Only answer questions you are asked. Present the answer in a way that is to your “best” advantage.


3) Take your time and respond to questions asked. If you know what they are looking for, you can respond by selling the skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the employee’s concerns.

Here are some tough questions:

  • Why are you looking for a new position?
  • Your education does not match with the requirements of the position. Why did you apply for the position?
  • What are your compensation expectations?
  • What is your biggest weakness?
  • Why were you fired from your last job?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • There appears to be a gap in employment from X date to Y date, is there a reason for that?
  • Your background doesn’t exactly match the job description, why did you apply for this job?

Having answers to these questions is going to be important. You don’t want to come across in the interview as ill prepared, or hesitate to find answers to these questions.

It’s important to know that some employers are more likely to hire someone who presents him or herself well, rather than a candidate with extensive credentials. The safest way to answer questions is to emphasize your strongest personal strengths, backing them up with examples that demonstrate your value to the company.


The Best Way to Answer Common Interview Questions

The Best Way to Answer Interview Questions

The Best Way to Answer Common Interview Questions

The famous “Tell me about yourself” question

This is something you should practice and perfect. It’s the basic introduction of who you are and what you are looking for in a job. It will form the basis of your introductory message when networking, and your opening statement in telephone contacts with employers.

Here are some pointers on how to keep the messaging on-target and focused.


  • Don’t give your life story.
  • Give a very brief overview which includes education, previous job titles, responsibilities and achievements. Target your response to the audience or contact with whom you are speaking, and the position for which you are applying.


What did you most enjoy about your last job?

  • “I was able to set goals and find effective ways to achieve them, using limited resources.”
  • “I was able to use my analytical skills to implement corrective methods at a critical stage of the project.”
  • “I developed a new approach to process improvement which became a standard for the company.”


How would your colleagues or supervisor describe you?

  • “I have been described as a dependable and trust-worthy worker.”
  • “I was able to take on a task through from inception to completion with excellent results.”
  • “I have a knack for finding useful demographic information about our customers’ buying habits.”

What can you offer us that other people cannot?

  • “I have a track record of identifying little-known investments that produce a great yield.”
  • “I am familiar with legal loopholes and parameters that affect client’s finances.”
  • “I am a certified professional with many years of experience finding unique ways to solve financial problems.”
  • “I require very little supervision and produce great results.”


What about this job attracts you?

  • “I am able to use my knowledge in market research to develop strategies that will give your company an advantage in the marketplace.”
  • “I share the same values as your company, and strongly believe in your corporate mission and vision.”
  • “I am comfortable in a small business environment as in a large one.”




How long do you see yourself with us?

  • “I see myself here as long as I am making a valuable contribution to the company.”
  • “I see myself here for the long run providing expertise, guidance and leadership to take the company top the next level.


How would you describe an ideal working environment?

  • “An environment that proactively looks at solving problems in a team approach”.

“A marketing support team that can assist the outside sales force with customer and product information that will help them close more business and lend help to customers when needed on a timely basis.”


Legal and Illegal Pre-employment Questions – What you need to know

Legal and Illegal Pre-Employment Questions – What you Need to Know

Legal and Illegal Pre Employment Questions

Pre-employment questions can cover a number of areas of your career and personal life. It’s important to distinguish between legitimate questions and those that might be illegal and hurtful to your chances of getting the job. This is especially true if you have disabilities. You want to make sure that you are not discriminated against, so pay close attention to the questions and only answer the ones that are legal and give you the best shot at the job. 


Illegal Questions:


  • What is your corrected vision?
  • When did you lose your eyesight?
  • How did you lose your eyesight?
  • Please complete the following medical history as part of the application process.
  • Have you had any recent or past illness or operations? If yes, list and give dates.
  • What was the date of your last physical exam?
  • What medications do you take?
  • Do you see a psychiatrist for stress or any mental problems?
  • Are you an alcoholic?
  • Have you ever or do you currently take recreational drugs?
  • Are you married, single, or divorced? If married, this can only be asked for insurance purposed.
  • How often do you drink alcoholic beverages?
  • How often were you sick or take off for sick days?
  • Do you use a wheelchair, and will we have to make any accommodations for the wheelchair?
  • What is your sexual orientation? Gay or Straight?
  • Do you have any kids, and do you plan on having any soon?
  • What are your political affiliations?
  • What is your religion or church? Will you require any time off for religious purposes?
  • What is your nationality or race, and what is your skin color?
  • How old are you? This can however be asked to determine if you are old enough to legally work. For example: “Are you over the age of 18”.
  • Are you a U.S. Citizen?
  • Do you require visa sponsorship?
  • What is your union affiliation?
  • Are you collecting social security benefits?
  • How heavy are you?
  • What is you military discharge status?
  • Have you ever filed for bankruptcy or currently having any financial troubles?
  • Have you even had a speeding ticket, or arrested for driving under the influence?

Legal Questions:


  • Are you able to perform the essential functions of the job?
  • As part of the company’s hiring process, after a job offer has been made, you will be required to undergo a medical exam. The results will remain confidential and will only be used if emergency medical treatment is necessary or to assist in the determination of a job accommodation.
  • As part of the company’s hiring process, after a job offer has been made, will you be able to provide information so that we can conduct a background check?
  • Will you need any accommodation to participate in the recruiting process?
  • How well can you handle stress?
  • What was your attendance record at your last employer?
  • What are your job skills, educational background, and prior work experiences?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony? This can only be asked if the position requires security clearance.
  • Why is there a gap in your employment history?
  • How many children do you have? This can only be asked for insurance purposes only.
  • Are you legally authorized to work in the United States for any employer without visa sponsorship?
  • Do you have a disability that would prevent you from performing the essential functions of the job with or with an accommodation?
  • Do you wish to participate in a company 401K retirement plan or stock options?


Now that you know what is permissible and what is discriminatory, consider how you might prepare for a situation in which the illegal questions come up. Your action depends on what makes you feel comfortable. There are three paths you can take for this type of questioning.  

1.) You could forfeit your rights and answer the question, in the hopes that it will deepen your connection with the employer rather than incite bias. There might be times when you discover that your interviewer goes to the same church or has family from a country similar to yours. You might not hesitate to disclose this information about yourself in these cases.  

2.) Alternatively, you could discreetly refuse to answer the question. For example, you might avoid answering the question directly but address the concern. If asked whether you plan to have children, you might reply: “I try to balance my work and my personal life. I can assure you that I will be focused and committed to my responsibilities here, and my personal life will not interfere with my performance.” If you elect not to answer the question but you wish to secure the position, take steps to put the interviewer at ease.

3.) You might, after hearing some of the questions, have no desire to work for a company that probes into areas of your personal life. If you decide on the spot that you do not want the job, you can go so far as to excuse yourself from the interview and even file a complaint or lawsuit. If you decide to pursue formal recourse, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Their website is, or you can call them at: 1-800-669-4000.


Interview Preparation – What you need to know before the interview

Interview Preparation – What you Need to Know Before a Job Interview

Interview Preparation What you Need to Know Before the Interview

I can’t emphasize enough how important interview preparation is, and the benefit you can get out of it if done properly. Please prepare in advance. The better prepared you are, the less anxious you will be, and the greater your chances for success.

  • Find someone to role play the interview with you. This person should be someone with whom you feel comfortable and with whom you can discuss your weaknesses freely. This person should be objective and knowledgeable, perhaps a business associate.
  • Use a mirror or video camera when you role play to see what kind of image you project. This helps you see yourself in the eyes of the interviewer.
  • Assess your interviewing skills. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Work on correcting your weaknesses, such as speaking rapidly, talking too loudly or softly, and nervous habits such as quivering hands or inappropriate facial expressions.
  • Learn the questions that are commonly asked and prepare answers to them. Practice giving brief but thorough answers.
  • Decide what questions you would like to ask, and practice politely interjecting them at different points in the interview.
  • Evaluate your skills, abilities, and education as they relate to the type of job you are seeking, and see where you need to focus more effort on your strengths.
  • Practice tailoring your answers to show how you meet the company’s needs, and why you are a better candidate then the others that are in the running.
  • Assess your overall appearance. Find out what clothing is appropriate for your industry. Although some industries such as fashion and advertising are more stylish, acceptable attire for most industries is conservative dress.
  • Have several sets of appropriate clothing available since you might have several interviews over a few days. Always keep it professional.
  • Your clothes should be clean and pressed, and your shoes polished as well.
  • Make sure your hair is neat, your nails clean, and that you are generally well groomed.
  • Research the company. The more you know about the company and the job you are applying for, the better you will do in the interview. Get as much information as you can before the interview.
  • Have extra copies of your resume available to take to the interview. The interviewer may ask you for extra copies.

Extra emphasis should be made on Interview Preparation. Make sure you bring along the same version of your resume that you originally sent to the contact at the company. You can also refer to your resume to complete applications that ask for job history information (e.g., dates of employment, names of former employers and their telephone numbers, job responsibilities, and accomplishments).


Handling Frequently Asked Interview Questions

Handling Frequently Asked Interview Questions 

Handling Frequently Asked Interview Questions

Here is a list of commonly asked interview questions that you might get from your interviewer:


  • What are your expectations for this position?
  • Where do you want to be in five or ten years?
  • What attracted you to this position?
  • What attracted you to our company?
  • What are your short and long term professional goals?
  • Why are you looking to leave your current job?
  • What makes you the best candidate for the job?


Be considerate and strike a delicate balance when responding to these kinds of questions:

  1. It’s not appropriate to mention personal or family topics, keep it professional.
  1. Don’t go off on a tangent about how you want to start your own business or run for office.


Typical responses to “what makes you the best candidate for the job” could be:

“I would like to let you know that I am the best candidate for the job.”

“I’ll make a significant advance in the organization within a short time.”


Answers to other popular questions:

  • Would you rather work with information or with people? Ideally, both. But the response should be tailored toward the job description and the relevant strengths in those areas.
  • What qualities do you feel a successful manager should have? Here is where your mention a few of the successful projects and resources you have managed. This will come in handy.
  • How would you describe your ideal job? Your description of your ideal job should sound like the job you’re interviewing for.
  • How much training do you think you’ll need to become a productive employee? Remember, the question is asking how productive you will be. Respond that you can be productive immediately. Answer with confidence, and make it clear that you have the ability to make an impact immediately.
  • Why isn’t your GPA higher? Don’t make excuses. Turn a negative into a positive by mentioning that you were involved in extracurricular activities, volunteering, which made you a well-rounded person.


Yes or No questions:

  • Are you a goal-oriented person?
  • Are you a team player?
  • Are you willing to go the extra mile and work overtime?
  • Do you handle pressure and stress well?
  • Do you handle conflict well?

Never respond with just Yes or No:

  • Always elaborate, and be prepared to give specific examples.
  • Your examples should be current. Avoid using anything from high school or before that.


Questions that require knowledge of the company:

  • Do you enjoy doing market research? Ask in what context they are asking this question.


  • How did you find out about us? Be honest about this question. A friend that works at the company, you heard good things about the management, they promote from within, etc.


  • Do you have any plans to further your education? This will depend on the position, and if it requires an advanced degree In the future or additional training.


  • Why do you want to work in this industry? If this position is in a new industry, you will need to do some research on the industry and what attracted you to it. This could be part of your response. Example: It’s a high-growth industry that is consistently hiring for people like you.
  • What do you know about our company? Give them a few details about their company that you researched online or through reliable sources. An example might be…….they have 20% market share, They are a leader in a specific industry, and they have low employee turn-over.


Thought-provoking questions:

  • Have you set goals for your career? Yes, specify specific goals related to the position.


  • What motivates you? Mention your top 2 or 3 professional motivations.


  • What were your favorite classes? Why? Limit it to 2 or 3. Don’t mention too many classes.


  • Who were your favorite professors? Why? Mention only 1 or 2 at most.
  • What did you like most about your school? You can elaborate on this one, but don’t go overboard.


These types of questions require:

  • Thoughtful responses
  • Responses that are not self-serving


  • Responses that are specific to the job


  • Responses that tell the interviewer how you handle stressful situations

Money questions:

  • How important is money to you? They want to know if you will accept a position on money alone.


  • What are your salary expectations to accept a new position? Start with a range, but ask what their range is for the position.
  • Will you accept a counter offer if your current employer offers you more money? This is important because it tells the interviewer if you are serious or not about the position or just trying to get an offer so you can take it back to your current employer for more money.


Answering money questions:

  • Find a balance. Money’s important, but you should also consider things like total compensation packages with benefits, extra perks and bonuses.
  • Remember, job satisfaction in the total package is also important.
  • Don’t bring up student loans. The employer will base your pay on your worth to the company, not what your needs are.
  • If at all possible, try to delay salary negotiations. We will talk more in depth about this in a later chapter. Don’t give specifics until after an offer is made.


Asking for the job:

Make sure you ask about the next step in the process. Before the interview is over, remember to ask for the job. If you don’t ask for these details, they likely won’t be volunteered.


Establishing Rapport with the Interviewer

Establishing Rapport with the Interviewer

Establishing Rapport With the Interviewer

Making a positive impression on the interviewer will go a long way, in some ways it can help you get the job.

So, connecting with the interviewer is important. This requires more than just smooth talking, dressing sharply, dropping names of high-profile contacts in the industry, or just plain being polite. It helps if your personalities click and you both have some common interests. But you don’t need to rely on mutual interests to establish a good rapport with the interviewer. A way to generate good vibes is to listen attentively. However, this does not mean that you need to ask them about their personal likes and dislikes.  


Use empathetic body language.

HANDSHAKE: Your handshake should be firm but not too aggressive. Extend your hand so it is perpendicular to the floor. If you extend your hand with your palm facing down, you indicate that you need to be in control. If you extend your hand with your palm facing up, you can appear overly docile. Try extending your hand with your palm relatively flat, so that you offer to make full contact with the other person’s hand. If you cup your hand, you indicate that you distrust the other person. Avoid a fist bump in the interview since this is reserved for someone who is close to the interviewer. Keep it professional. 

POSTURE: Leaning back shows boredom or gives the impression of insolence. It is better to sit up straight and lean forward slightly, facing the interviewer directly. Crossing your arms in front of you may indicate that you are defensive. Try to keep your arms open, even if your legs are crossed.

EYE CONTACT: Eye contact is crucial. Look the person in the eye when you are speaking and listening. To avoid giving the interviewer the impression that you are bored, look away to the left or right.

Mirror the interviewer.

If you notice the interviewer is smiling, smile back. But if the interviewer smokes, don’t light up. Mirroring works not only for behaviors, but also verbal statements. Again, this listening tool should be used with discretion. Too much can be awkward, so be alert and watch for your cue.


Ask clarifying questions.

If you do not fully understand a question, ask for clarification. Doing so signals to the interviewer that you are interested in what he or she is saying. These questions can be tricky, however If you ask questions that seek clarification on issues that are tangential to the interviewer’s communication, they derail the person’s train of thought and cause people to become defensive or withdrawn. Yet asking questions that ask for repeat information will give the interviewer the impression that you are not paying attention. Before interrupting the interviewer to clarify a point, make sure that you are listening attentively. Follow the train of thought of the speaker, and then pose a question.


Ask open-ended questions. 

Open-ended questions allow the interviewer to respond as he or she desires, and also demonstrates that you are open to what the interviewer says. The responses might challenge your assumptions, so they mitigate miscommunication. They also allow you to steer the interview in a way that gives you information about the company and job. The information you gather from these questions will assist you in evaluating the interviewer and the company.


How to Handle Damage Control on your Job Interview

How to Handle Damage Control on your Job Interview

How to Handle Damage Control on your Job Interview

How to Handle Damage Control on Your Job Interview

All interviews will not go perfectly, as much as we would like them to. This is why we need damage control. For example, let’s say you arrive at the interview and draw a blank when the receptionist asks with whom you’re meeting. It won’t look good if the receptionist later tells the interviewer. 


Here are some scenarios and fixes:

  1. Arriving late to an interview. Call the interviewer or the assistant to let them know you are running late. If you will be more than 15 minutes late, ask if it is still OK to come in or if you need to reschedule. You can always use the traffic as an excuse. If it’s an area you have never been in, say “I underestimated the traffic in this part of town,” or that certain roads were closed due to an accident or there was a flood.
  1. Can’t remember the name of the person you are meeting. There are a few things you can do to solve this problem. This is a pretty easy fix. Call the operator at the company and ask for the correct spelling of the person’s name. If you can’t remember the first or last name, then ask the name of the person under the title the person holds.
  1. Mispronouncing the name of the person you are meeting. The trick above normally works pretty well. When you call the receptionist and ask for the spelling of the interviewer’s name, also ask their pronunciation. Pay close attention to the way it is pronounced since some people might have a name that is hard to pronounce.  


  1. Spots or tears in your clothes. If you get to the interview and notice that have ugly spots or tears on your clothes and notice them when it’s too late, acknowledge it and get past it. Don’t whine too badly, just move on with the interview. If it’s an ugly spot, you can say you have lunch or breakfast, and spilled some food on your clothes, and didn’t have time to change or clean it up.
  1. Interviewer seems to have an attitude toward you. Keep your cool, and don’t say something you will regret. You never know who this person might know that you also know. Never burn bridges, even though you know you will not be getting the job. People are connected through different people and networks. Take the high road, and show that you have class and professionalism.
  1. You answer a question incorrectly. This is a tricky one. You will need to be at your sharpest here, in case you answer a question incorrectly or did not understand the question. If the interviewer seems perplexed or asks how you arrived at that response, you can say, “Sorry, I spoke incorrectly,” or, “Let me explain what I meant by that.” Asking them to politely repeat the question works too.


How to Handle Damage Control on Your Job Interview
How to determine if the interview was a success
  • Did you “click” with the interviewer, was there chemistry and rapport and a good back and forth?
  • Were you able to answer all the questions that the interviewer asked?
  • How would you rate the interview from 1 to 10. 1 being a disaster, and 10 being perfect.
  • Were you confident in the way you presented your questions and responses?
  • Did the interviewer ask you if an offer was made, when would you be available?
  • Did the interviewer ask you why you are looking to leave your current position?
  • Did the interviewer ask you about your current salary expectations?
  • Did the interviewer ask you who you solve a particular problem if presented with an issue?
  • Did the interviewer ask you about your proficiency in the job you are doing, and
  • Did the interviewer ask you about your role, and to give them an example of “A day in the life of”?
  • Did the interviewer ask you about your drive to and from work, and if it would be a problem? This is normally asked for someone who is applying for a job that lives across town and has a longer than usual commute.
  • Did the interviewer ask you about remote work, or required travel for the position? This would be a pretty standard question for someone in a sales role.
  • Did the interviewer ask you about your leadership and management style, and why you use that style?
  • Did the interviewer explain what the position is about, what the job responsibilities are, and clear expectations for the position?
  • Did the interviewer tell you about the company, its history, what they do, who they sell products to, and why the position is open? This might be a position that just became open due to growth in the company, a new office was open, a manager is needed to manage a team, or that it’s a replacement position.

If it’s a replacement position, ask why the last person in this role resigned, was terminated or how long they were there. This should be a telling sign as to how long they keep their employees.   

  • Did the interviewer ask when you are available for a second or subsequent interview or when they want to schedule another interview?
  • Did the interviewer ask you about your education, and how it relates to your position?
  • Did the interviewer ask you how you handle recalcitrant employees (If this is a management position)?

Rate each question above based on how the questions were asked (If they were asked), and how you responded. If you responded with detailed explanations, and the responses from the interviewer turned to “chitchat” of a personal nature about the interviewers likes…….say for example how their favorite football did (If you went to the same school they did for example), or their favorite places to vacation, etc., then this could be good sign.

Look for body language from the interviewer to give you a queue if the interview went well, or if it was an unsalvageable disaster. Always stay positive regardless of how it goes. Facial gestures give away a lot about how someone feels in an interview, and that could help you turn it around if you see a gloomy face on the other side of the table.


How to Ace Telephone Job Interviews

How to Ace Telephone Job Interviews

How to Ace Telephone Job Interviews

Getting past an interview screener so you can be invited in for a face-to-face interview is what you want at this stage.


A good resume with impressive credentials may not be enough to get you the face-to-face interview that you want.

Most companies will probably have you go through an initial phone screening interview to make sure you meet the minimum qualifications and requirements that the human resources recruiter or hiring manager has specified in the job description.

Based on the way I do pre-qualifying phone screens, I normally shortlist ten to fifteen candidates who best match the job requirements, then I invite about five of those candidates in for a face-to-face interview who have exhibited the qualities and skills needed for the role.

It’s important to know that the goal of the interviewer is to gather enough information to determine whether or not they want to pursue you as a serious candidate, and take the next step in the interview process with you.

Here are some helpful tips that should help you ace the telephone interview, so you can be invited to a face-to-face interview.


Pre-Interview Preparation: You will typically have one of two phone interview scenarios. A scheduled interview and an unscheduled interview. If you have already scheduled and confirmed a phone interview, then that’s great!

The unscheduled interview might come in the form of a call to ask if you have a few minutes to talk about the job opportunity you applied for. This type of call might also come at a bad time when you can’t talk because you’re not in a place where you can talk comfortably.

In cases like these, it’s best to politely ask the phone screener if you can schedule the call for another time that works better for you and them.

Make sure you are in an environment that is comfortable to talk in, and that you have no distractions or background noise.


Do your homework and research the company: The most efficient research tool is the internet. Visit the employer’s home page, read articles written about the company, and go to forums, blogs or video stories that list the company with related articles about how they do business, etc.

A good source I would recommend is LinkedIn. It is likely that they will ask if you know anything about their company or what they do. Having relevant company information in front of you will help if they ask any questions.


Keep a positive attitude: Maintain a high level of energy throughout the phone interview. You don’t want to put the person on the other end to sleep. Start with proper posture while you’re speaking on the phone. Smile when you ask and answer questions. Keep a bottle of water handy in case you get dry mouth. Relax and take a few deep breaths before the interview starts.


Take Notes: Having notes with answers to certain questions should help you breeze through some of the recruiter’s questions. When answering their questions, make sure you don’t sound like you are reading from a script. It will sound obvious and they can pick up on things like that.



Listen carefully before you speak: Make sure you speak directly into the telephone and avoid using the speakerphone on your home phone or cell phone. You want to make sure you hear things like the persons first and last name, the company name or division they work for, their job role or title, why the position is open, and other important information that you will need to know.


Be ready to spend fifteen to thirty minutes on the phone: A typical phone interview will likely last between fifteen to thirty minutes. An interview phone screener will have a series of questions that they will ask you to determine if you are a good fit for the role.


How to address the Interviewer: Address the interviewer by their last name…..Mr. or Mrs. unless they say it is OK to call them by their first name. If you feel a connection on the phone, you can politely ask if you can address them by their first name.


Interview Focus: You should be focused on the interview. Don’t eat or chew gum, or have any other distractions that will not allow you to be laser focused on the interview. If you are near your computer or any device that gets notifications or pings of any kind, you want to turn those off, or be in a room or area where they will not distract or disrupt your call.


Ask clarifying questions: You should be able to learn the correct spelling of the interviewer’s name and everything you wanted to know about the position by the end of the interview.

Make a list of questions before the interview to make sure you fully understand the role, the position expectations, schedule and reporting times, compensation, and other related questions.


Turn off call waiting on your mobile phone: If you knew they were going to call, make sure to turn off call waiting. Distractions from other people calling your phone will give the interviewer the impression that you didn’t care enough to take this preventable step. You might want to make sure your mobile phone is fully charged as well.


If you are calling from a landline: Be sure to turn off your mobile phone. I would recommend you completely turn it off, or put it in a room where you are not able to see any calls coming in.


Give accurate and detailed contact information: This information should be clearly displayed on your cover letter and resume so your interviewers can easily connect with you.


Make sure you know which job and company you applied to: I see this all the time. I call someone to talk about a position I have open, and they mistaken my position for another one that is similar to mine. Don’t get confused between the different jobs for which you’ve applied.

Keep track of all the positions you applied to, when you applied, what was the specific title of the position, and the company name. Make sure you have the correct job description, company and contact person’s name in from of you so you know exactly who you are talking to, and the position you are talking about. It would help to do a LinkedIn search to find out a little more about the person, their title/role, etc.

For other job related statistics and relevant data, you can visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website at



How to be prepared for all phases of a Job Interview

How to be prepared for all phases of a Job Interview

How to be prepared for all phases of a Job Interview

Each phase of a job interview will be different. It’s important to know where you are in the process, and how you can leverage each stage of an interview.

Job interviews are a two-way discussion between you and a prospective employer. The interviewer is attempting to determine whether you have what the company needs, and you are attempting to determine if you would accept the job if offered. Both of you will be trying to get as much information as possible in order to make those decisions.

Traditional Format

The interview that you are most likely to face is a structured interview with a traditional format. It usually consists of three phases. The introductory phase covers the greeting, small talk, and an overview of which areas will be discussed during the interview. T

Middle Phase

The middle phase is a question-and-answer period. The interviewer asks most of the questions, but you are given an opportunity to ask questions as well. The closing phase gives you an opportunity to ask any final questions you might have, cover any important points that haven’t been discussed, and get information about the next step in the interview process.

Introductory Phase

This phase is very important. You want to make a good first impression and, if possible, get additional information you need about the job and the company.

Make a good first impression. You only have a few seconds to create a positive first impression, and that impression can influence the rest of the interview and even determine whether you get the job.

The interviewer’s first impression of you is based mainly on your body language. The interviewer is assessing your overall appearance and demeanor. When greeting the interviewer, be certain your handshake is firm and make eye contact.

Wait for the interviewer to signal you before you sit down. Once seated, find a comfortable position so that you don’t appear tense or uncomfortable. Lean forward slightly and maintain eye contact with the interviewer.

Your posture shows that you are interested in what is being said. Smile naturally and show that you are open and receptive by keeping your arms and legs uncrossed.

Avoid keeping your briefcase or handbag on your lap. Try to appear relaxed and confident.

Use your knowledge of company information. You should get this information about the company in advance. Be sure to prepare your questions in advance as well.

Ask questions. Deciding exactly when to ask your questions can be tricky. Your chance to ask questions in the traditional interview is typically late in the interview. How can you get the information you need early in the process without making the interviewer feel that you are taking control? Timing is everything.

You may have to make a decision based on intuition and your first impressions of the interviewer. Does the interviewer seem comfortable or nervous, soft spoken or forceful, formal or casual?

These signals will help you to judge the best time to ask your questions. The sooner you ask the questions, the less likely you are to disrupt the interviewer’s intent or agenda. However, if you ask questions too early, the interviewer may feel you are trying to control the interview.

Try asking questions right after the greeting and small talk. Since most interviewers like to set the tone of the interview and maintain initial control, always phrase your questions in a way that leaves control with the interviewer.

Perhaps you can say, “Would you mind telling me a little more about the job so that I can focus on the information that would be most important to you and the company?” You may want to wait until the interviewer has given an overview of what will be discussed.

This overview may answer some of your questions or may provide some details that you can use to ask additional questions later.

How to be prepared for all phases of a Job Interview

Middle Phase

During this phase of the interview, you will be asked many questions about your work experience, skills, education, activities, and interests. This is the assessment part of the interview. The interviewer wants to know how you will perform the job in relation to the company objectives.

Your responses should be clear and concise. Use specific examples to illustrate your point whenever possible. Although your responses should be well-phrased and effective, be sure they do not sound rehearsed.

Remember that your responses must always be adapted to the present interview. Incorporate any information you obtained earlier in the interview with the responses you had prepared in advance and then answer in a way that is appropriate to the question.

Below are frequently asked questions and suggested responses. Give a specific example to illustrate your point for each question.

How to be prepared for all Phases of a Job Interview

What is your weakest attribute? (A stress question)

“I’m a stickler for punctuality and promptness.” “I’m tenacious.” “I’m a perfectionist.”

What is your strongest attribute?

“I am organized and manage my time well.” “I work well under pressure.” “I am motivated and eager to learn.”

What do you hope to be doing five years from now?

“I hope to still work here and have increased my level of responsibility based on my performance and abilities.”

What do you know about our company? Why do you want to work here?

“You are a leading provider of widgets on the West Coast.” “Your company has a superior product/service.” “Your company has the largest market share for your product in the world.” “Your company is a leader in your field and growing.”

It would help if you try to get the interviewer to give you additional information about the company by saying that you are very interested in learning more about the company objectives. This will help you to focus your response on relevant areas.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Give a specific illustration from your previous or current job where you saved the company money, helped increase profits, or improved processes. If you have just graduated from college, try to find some accomplishment from your school work, part-time jobs, volunteer work, or extra-curricular activities.

Why should we hire you? (A stress question)

Highlight your background based on the company’s current needs. Recap your qualifications keeping the interviewer’s job description in mind. If you don’t have much experience, talk about how your education and training prepared you for this job.

Some Questions You Should Ask

“Could you give me a more detailed job description?” “What are the company’s current challenges?” “Why is this position open?” “Are there opportunities for advancement?” “To whom would I report?”

For other job related statistics and relevant data, you can visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website at