Interview Tips

Phone Interview Etiquette

Use a land line. It’s more professional to use a land line when answering a call from a hiring manager for a phone interview. It demonstrates that you’ve made an effort to carve out a special time and place for the call, and you’ll have a better connection for your phone interview.

  • Observe quiet. Phone interviews require the utmost concentration. Do your best to remove all distractions and background noise, such as barking dogs, the sound of kids playing, ringing cell phones and door bells.
  • Refer to notes. Keep notes at your fingertips during the phone interview and jot things down as the interviewer talks. Also, have some questions of your own ready to ask.
  • Speak clearly. Make sure your interviewer can hear you plainly by speaking directly into your phone or headset. Phone interview etiquette dictates you let him or her finish speaking before you respond.
  • Smile! This may sound like odd advice, but if you smile when you respond, you’ll come across as more energetic and positive. Some people even suggest putting a mirror in front of you during phone interviews to help you remember to smile and be engaging.
  • Follow up. After the phone interview, etiquette says you should send a note thanking the interviewer and reiterating your key points.

In-Person Interviews: The Hiring Manager’s Perspective

Questions that hiring managers may be considering during an in-person interview include:

  • Can you do the job? Interviewers want to know if you have the ability to handle the basic responsibilities of the role. They will likely ask many questions to this effect during the in-person interview. They’re interested in the skills you have and your relevant work experience.
  • Do you really want the job? Companies want to hire someone who is genuinely enthusiastic about the opportunity. They’ll be closely listening to the way you give answers during the in-person interview to evaluate your true level of excitement. Your attitude and the questions you ask will indicate the sincerity of your interest and how motivated you are to land the position.
  • Will you fit in? An employer wants to gain a sense of how well you’d fit in with the corporate culture, and there is no better opportunity to observe this than during an in-person interview. Be yourself and let your personality shine through.

Common Interview Questions

Following are some common job interview questions you might be asked the next time you meet with a hiring manager and tips to avoid becoming tongue-tied:

Q: Can you tell me a little about yourself?

A: This is one of the most common interview questions. Your answer should be brief yet include enough information about your relevant skills and experience that the hiring manager understands how you could benefit the company.

Q: Why do you want to work for our company?

A: Your response should demonstrate that you have researched the organization prior to the interview and believe the job is a good match for your skills.

Q: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

A: The first part of this job interview question is fairly easy to answer, but describing your weaknesses is a different story. A sound approach is to name an actual weakness but follow it up with steps you are taking to overcome the flaw.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?

A: With this question, prospective employers are hoping to get a sense of your drive and ambition. While avoiding sounding inflexible, demonstrate your goals for professional growth and career advancement.

Q: Do you have any questions?

A: Ask one or two targeted job interview questions yourself. Inquiring about the position’s growth potential or the company’s long-term objectives, for instance, demonstrates your interest in the position and may shed additional light on the intricacies of the job.

Job Interview Tips

Don’t forget to research the company. A survey from our company found the biggest mistake applicants make in interviews is not knowing enough about the firm. Do some digging on the Web, tap members of your network for their insights and work with a recruiter who can offer additional information about the firm.

Don’t let nerves undercut your communication skills. Keep your responses to interview questions concise. When asked a question, take a deep breath, pause and collect your thoughts before you begin to speak. Avoid verbal crutches (e.g., “um,” “like,” “uh”) and refrain from making jokes or discussing controversial subjects.

Don’t exaggerate your interest or qualifications. This is one of our most important job interview tips. While it’s necessary to express enthusiasm for the position, candidates who answer every question with upbeat eagerness may come across as insincere. Also avoid overstating your qualifications.

Don’t be negative. Avoid disparaging comments regarding former employers, colleagues and companies. Also stay away from self-deprecating comments, which do not support a positive image or demonstrate competence.

By taking these interview tips to heart, you can make a better impression on hiring managers.