Attitude: The key element to
successful interviewing is not your experience, your grades, what
classes you took, your extracurricular activities, or any of the
other basic necessities. Those skills are what got you the
interview. The key element to successful interviewing can be summed
up in one word: attitude. If you want to rise above others with
better experience, better grades, or better anything, you will need
to work on developing a highly positive work attitude.
Your attitude determines whether you will "make the cut" or be
discarded. Remember, there are plenty of competitors with the
ability to do almost any given job-- especially at the entry level.
The way most employers differentiate at the entry level is by
candidates' attitudes toward the job. Your attitude is often what
recruiters will remember when the dust has settled after reviewing
ten, twenty, or even one hundred candidates--the one who was
sincerely willing to put forth their very best effort. If you have
the attitude of wanting to do your very best for the company, of
being focused on the company's needs, of putting yourself forth as
the person who will be committed and dedicated to fulfilling their
needs, you will likely be the one chosen.
Why is attitude so important? Because most companies already have
their full share of multi-talented superstars who care about no one
but themselves. Ask any manager who the most valuable member of his
team is, and he will point not to the overrated superstar, but to
the person who has the "can do" attitude, the person who can be
counted on in any situation, the person who truly strives for
Dressing: The resume was a hit,
you been called for an interview. You're summoned to the personnel
director's office at such-and-such a time. You scan the closet for
the perfect outfit, one that says, "hire me," and it's just not
there. You panic.
Perhaps this is that terrifying interview for a first job, or maybe
it's a return to the work force after a long hiatus. In a business
world that, sadly, doesn't come with an instruction manual, how do
you dress for success? First impressions are the key to interviewing
success, says Susan More, author of "How to Gain the Professional
Edge." That first impression, she says, takes only 10 seconds. Dress
"You're packaging yourself, you're taking everything they've read
about you and saying "Here I am!."
Stick to the basics. First things first- you can't go wrong with a
suit. For Men: A matching two-or three- piece suit, pressed shirt
and maybe a vest. An interesting tie (but not a flashy one) shows
personality. For Women: a matching shalwar suit and proper dopatta
is safest. light lipstick adds personality.
Does that go for all jobs? Of course, there is no simple answer for
everything. Every job interview presents a different situation. Do
your homework, says Jan Haxton, a personal shopper at Nordstrom in
Costa Mesa, CA. "If you have friends that are familiar with that
environment, ask them. Ask the human resource person and don't be
shy. If you're going to err, I'd dot it on the side of being too
Some absolute color rules: A man's belt should match his shoes. Red,
striped ties are overused- go with something more original. A clean,
neat, personal appearance is just as important as the clothes on
"Make sure you hair is in a current style, your skin is in good
shape and your make-up is appropriate to the job," Roxanne Doumani
of the Jacques Doumani Image Institute says. "Men's facial hair
should be very well groomed." The clean-shaven look is usually the
Other tips: nails should be clean, manicured and not too long. Hair
should be no longer than shoulder length if it's down, and women
should avoid girlish hair bows. Some make-up is better than none,
but it should be understated. Don't forget the inside. Image
consultants stress a well-groomed, classy exterior, but their last
word is always the same: You have to feel comfortable with the
clothes to make them work for you.
Shoes- the condition of your shoes is important; make sure they are
well-polished and clean. For women, no sandals or open-toed shoes. A
medium heeled pump is safest.
Jewelery- less is more. Wear only one ring per hand, and it's a good
idea to wear a classy, business-like watch. Nothing big or clunky.
Interview Technique Books
Questions Asked During Interview
How youíll describe yourself?
Suggestions During Interview
Keep your answer to one or two minutes; don't ramble. Use your
resume summary as a base to start.
Q- What do you know about our
Do your homework before the interview! Spend some time to collect
information including products, size, reputation, image, skills,
history and philosophy of the company. Project an informed interest;
let the interviewer tell you about the company.
Q- Why do you want to join our
Don't talk about what you want; first, talk about their needs: You
would like to be part of a specific company project; you would like
to solve a company problem; you can make a definite contribution to
specific company goals.
Q- What can you do for us that
someone else can't?
Relate past experiences that show you've had success in solving
previous employer problem(s) that may be similar to those of the
Q- Why should we hire you?
Because of your knowledge, experience, abilities and skills.
Q- What do you look for in a
An opportunity to use your skills, to perform and be recognized.
Q- How long would it take you to
make a meaningful contribution to our firm?
Not long at all -- you expect only a brief period of adjustment to
the learning curve.
Q- How long would you stay with
As long as we both feel I'm contributing, achieving, growing, etc.
Q- Why are you leaving your
Refine your answer based on your comfort level and honesty. Give a
"group" answer if possible, e.g. our department was consolidated or
Q- How do you feel about leaving
all of your benefits?
Concerned but not panicked.
Q- Describe what you feel to be
an ideal working environment.
One in which people are treated as fairly as possible.
Q- How would you evaluate your
An excellent company that afforded me many fine experiences.
Q- You may be overqualified for
the position we have to offer.
Strong companies need strong people. A growing, energetic company is
rarely unable to use its people talents. Emphasize your interest in
a long-term association, pointing out that the employer will get a
faster return on investment because you have more experience than
Q- If you could start your
career again, what would you do differently?
Nothing ... I am happy today, so I don't want to change my past.
Q- What career options do you
have at the moment?
"I see three areas of interest..." Relate those to the position and
Q- How would you describe the
essence of success? According to your definition of success, how
successful have you been so far?
Think carefully about your answer and relate it to your career
Q- How much are you looking for?
Answer with a question, i.e., "What is the salary range for similar
jobs in your company?" If they don't answer, then give a range of
what you understand you are worth in the marketplace.
Q- How much do you expect, if we
offer this position to you?
Be careful; the market value of the job may be the key answer, e.g.,
"My understanding is that a job like the one you're describing may
be in the range of Rs.______."
Q- What kind of salary are you
Have a specific figure in mind ... don't be hesitant.
Q- If I spoke with your previous
boss, what would he say are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Emphasize skills -- don't be overly negative about your weaknesses;
it's always safer to identify a lack of a skill as an area for
improvement rather than a shortcoming.
Q- Can you work under pressures,
Yes, it's a way of life in business.
Q- How have you changed the
nature of your job?
Improved it ... of course.
Q- Do you prefer staff or line
Depends on the job and its challenges.
Q- In your present position,
what problems have you identified that had previously been
Keep it brief and don't brag.
Q- Don't you feel you might be
better off in a different size company? Different type company?
Depends on the job -- elaborate slightly.
Q- How do you resolve conflict
on a project team?
First you discuss the issues privately.
Q- What was the most difficult
decision you ever had to make?
Try to relate your response to the prospective employment situation.
Shake hands firmly. Radiate confidence. Smile. Dress conservatively.
Be on time. Be natural. Be well groomed. Remember the interviewerís
Look alert. Sit up erect. Look into your interviewerís eyes at all
times. Speak with force and assurance. Interviewers like candidates
who are enthusiastic and responsive.
Donít be anxious, even if you want and need the job. (The company
wants someone who is a winner and in demand.) Ask questions about
the position -- show your serious interests in the duties and
responsibilities of the position.
Answer questions openly without holding back. Yet be direct and to
the point, avoiding long, drawn-out explanations.
If put on the defensive (e.g. "Why did you changed jobs?" Why are
you looking now?") answer as simply and briefly as possible. Keep
smiling. (An involved answer looks like trouble.)
Donít dwell on criticism of your present or previous employers. (The
prospective employer will expect similar treatment, which means
Treat the interviewer with respect. He may be under business
pressures and unable to give you the time and attention you should
Do not smoke during the interview, and NEVER chew gum. Do not ask
direct questions about salary or fringe benefits at the beginning of
Prepare for these two questions: Why are you interested in this
position and this company? What can you contribute?
Answer concisely and effectively, rehearse answers. Do your homework
and learn all you can about the company.
Stress achievements. For example: Processes developed, sales records
achieved, systems installed, absenteeism reduced, product or
production improved, etc. Donít exaggerate your skills or
Prepare for the following questions: What was the nature of your
job? What special skills did you acquire?
Did you achieve special goals? What was the typical day like on your
job? What were your supervisorís strengths? Weaknesses? Why are you
considering leaving your present job?
Beware of open-ended questions like, "Tell me about yourself", etc.
Give one example of an achievement and ask, "Is that what you had in
Beware of slouching in chair, tapping feet, playing with eyeglasses,
pencil, or nervous laughter. LOOK INTERVIEWER
Never tell anyone you are not interested in the job. Leave the door
open. The first interview is not the place to turn down an offer. Do
not tell about interviews you have had or plan to have.
If you are favourably impressed and know all the details of the
position, then ask for the job. This is very effective - yet few
In concluding, thank the interviewer for the time and consideration
Ask when you should meet again to discuss the position further. It
often takes several interviews to obtain the job offer.
Following the interview, send a note of thanks ASAP. Five or six
sentences should be sufficient. This will set you apart from most
other applicants. Write a separate note to each interviewer; obtain
correct name and title spelling from receptionist or secretary. Or
ask for a business card and give yours in return.