The time you spend with a company interviewer may determine your entire future. Thus, a successful job interview is an indispensable step toward fulfillment of your ambitions. This information, combined with the guidance of your MPI representative, will provide you with a better understanding of how you should conduct yourself during your interview.
Preparation for Interview
Preparation is the first essential step toward a successful interview. Company interviewers are continually amazed at the number of applicants who drift into their offices without any apparent preparation and only the vaguest idea of what they are going to say. Thus, it is important to:
1. Know the exact place and time of the interview, the interviewer's full name, the correct pronunciation, and his title and responsibility.
2. Find out specific facts about the company: where its headquarters, offices and other facilities are located, what its product or services are, what its growth has been, and what its growth potential is for the future. There are a number of research publications providing this kind of information. Among the most helpful are:
Of course, your MPI representative is also an invaluable source of information on many firms!
3. Prepare the questions that you will ask during the interview. Remember that an interview is a two-way Street. The employer will try to determine through questioning if you have the qualifications necessary to do the job. You must determine through questioning whether the company will give you the opportunity for the growth and development you seek.
4. Probing questions you might ask:
a) A detailed description of the position?
b) Reason the position is available?
c) Anticipated indoctrination and training?
d) What traits would make a person successuful in this position?
e) Company growth plans?
f) The next step?
5. Ask your Recruiter what to wear.Dress in accordance to the Company policy. A Polo shirt and Dockers or Slacks. Never wear sports clothes for an interview.
You are being interviewed because the interviewer wants to hire people -- not because he wants to trip you up or embarrass you. Through the inter-action, which will take place during the interview he will be searching out your strong and weak points, evaluating you on your qualifications, skills, and intellectual qualities. He will probe deeply to determine your attitudes, aptitudes, stability, motivation, and maturity.
Some Do's and Don'ts concerning the interview:
1. Do plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
2. If presented with an application, Do fill it out neatly and completely. If you have a resume, present it to the interviewer upon request.
3. Do greet the interviewer by his surname. ("Hello, Ms. Smith or Mr. Jones")
4. Do wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair, lean forward slightly towards the interviewer, look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile!
5. Do shake hands firmly, if offered.
6. Don't smoke even if the interviewer smokes and offers you a cigarette. Do not chew gum.
7. Do look a prospective employer in the eye while you talk to him.
8. Do follow the interviewer's leads. Try to get the interviewer to describe the position and duties to you early in the interview so that you can relate your background and skills to the position.
9. Don't answer questions with a "yes" or "no". Explain whenever possible. Tell those things about yourself which relate to the situation.
10. Do make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner. Keep in mind that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer. Make him realize the need for you in his organization.
11. Do be prepared to answer typical questions like: What type of job are you looking for? What are your strengths? your weaknesses? What do you know about our company? Why did you choose the company and job that you are currently in? What are your qualifications? What would make you more successful than other people applying for this job?
12. Don't lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly, and as to the point as possible.
13. Don't ever make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies.
14. Don't "over answer" questions. The interviewer may steer the conversation into politics or economics. Since this can be a ticklish area, it is best to answer the questions honestly, trying not to say any more than necessary.
15. Don't inquire about salary, vacations, bonuses, retirement, etc., on the initial interview unless you are positive that the interviewer is interested in hiring you. If the interviewer asks what salary you want, indicate that you're more interested in the opportunity than a specific salary, and name a fair figure.
16. Do always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on opportunity. It is better to be in a position where you can choose from a number of jobs -- rather than only one.
17. And remember: PMA -- Positive Mental Attitude!
Prepare yourself to answer questions like:
1. Why would you like to work for our company?
2. How much money do you hope to earn five years from now? Ten years from now?
3. What job in our company do you want to work toward?
4. What do you know about our company?
5. What interests you about our products or services?
6. Why would you consider leaving (or why did you leave) your present employer?
7. Can you get recommendations from previous employers or customers?
8. What have you learned from some of the jobs that you have held?
9. What do you like about your job? What do you dislike?
10. What have you done that shows initiative and willingness to work?
11. What is your major weakness?
12. What do you think determines a person's progress in a good company?
13. Are you willing to relocate?
14. How do you spend your spare time? What are your hobbies?
15. Have you saved any money? Do you have any debts?
16. What type of books or periodicals do you read?
Closing the Interview
1. If you want the position, ask for it! Ask for the next interview if the situation demands. If the interviewer offers the position to you, and you want it, accept it on the spot. If you wish some time to think it over, be courteous and tactful in asking for that time. Set a definite date when you can provide an answer.
2. Don't be discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific salary discussed. The interviewer will probably want to communicate with others in his organization first, or interview more applicants, before taking further action.
3. If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected, don't let your discouragement show. Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested in you may seem to discourage you in order to test your reaction.
4. Thank the interviewer for his time and consideration of you. If you have answered the two questions uppermost in his mind; (a) why are you interested in his company? An (b) What can you offer?, you have done all that you can.
5. Call your MPI Recruiter directly after the interview and be prepared to give a detailed account the meeting.
Epilogue: Why Job Seekers Are Rejected
Frank S. Endicott, Northwestern University Director of Placements, recently completed a survey of the 205 top firms to discover why the eager job seeker is turned down after his initial interview. These were the most common criticisms:
1. Poor personality and manner — lack of poise, poor presentation of self, lack of self confidence, timid, hesitant approach, arrogance, conceit.
2. Poor job record for no reason. "Job hopping" excessively. No career direction.
3. Poor personal appearance and careless dress.
4. Lack of enthusiasm and interest, no evidence of initiative.
5. Lack of goals and ambition; does not know his interest; uncertainty and indecision.
6. Unrealistic salary demands; more interest in salary than opportunity; unrealistic about promotion to top jobs.
8. Lack of maturity, no leadership potential.
9. Lack of preparation for the interview -- failure to get information about the company and therefore unable to ask intelligent questions.
10. Lack of interest in the company and the type of job offered.
11. Excessive interest in security and benefits. "What can you do for me?" attitude.
12. Poor scholastic record without reasonable explanation for low grades or lack of completion.
Remember, your interview should be an enjoyable experience for both you and your interviewer -- an opportunity for each of you to learn something about each other, and to benefit from the experience. Relax and enjoy yourself!
Good luck from MPI!