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Interview Tips to Land Your Next Dream Job

Agile Premier Technical Interview Tips

Interview Tips to Land Your Next Dream Job

Interview Tips

Preparation – Preparation is essential to remaining calm under pressure and is the first step toward a successful interview. Here are some tips:
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get there.
  • Ask about parking availability before you go.
  • Know the exact place and time of the meeting, the interviewer’s full name (including correct pronunciation) and his or her title.
  • Research the company through the Internet or library to learn relevant facts such as annual sales revenue, principal lines of business, and locations.
  • Look your professional best. Wear business attire in neutral colors and be conservative in your use of fragrance, cosmetics and jewelry.
  • Organize the night before. Your interview clothing, briefcase and portfolio should all be prepared. Get a good night’s rest.
  • Re-read your resume before the interview.
  • Arrive poised and confident. Bring several copies of your resume and a list of references. Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and an enthusiastic smile.
Be Prepared to Answer Questions
  • Tell me about yourself. Be prepared to respond to this question by creating a 15-second “sound bite” that describes your professional background and strongest skills in two or three sentences. Vary your response according to the specific job opportunity and offer a brief description of why you would be a good fit for the position. One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to rehearse with a tape recorder and then critique your answers.
  • Tell me about your background, accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses. Employers who ask this question are usually looking for a short synopsis of your experience. Be sure to demonstrate how you’ve developed professionally and be objective when listing your strengths and weaknesses.
  • How would you describe your most recent job performance? Hiring managers tend to ask this question in order to gauge your level of enthusiasm for the work that you do. They’re also looking for a direct connection between your current position and the one for which you’re applying.
  • What interests you about our company? This question seems straightforward, but it can sometimes be difficult to answer if you haven’t thought about it beforehand. There are two important factors to include in your answer. The first is to use your knowledge of the company to show your sincere interest. Second, give a specific reason the position for which you’re applying appeals to you (other than the fact that you need a job).
  • Who was your most difficult boss and why? It’s imperative to be as diplomatic as possible when answering this question. Avoid becoming too personal; instead, focus on your previous supervisor’s management style and the manner in which he or she communicated. The interviewer is looking for some indication as to how well you would get along with your future boss, if you were hired.
  • What outside activities are most significant to your personal development? Many employers ask this question to see what kind of balance you are looking for between your personal and professional lives. While it’s good to list one or two activities, be careful not to list too many activities as the employer may wonder if outside interest will interfere with your work.
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years? Avoid mapping out a detailed plan when answering this question. Instead, describe what you feel is the next logical step or steps in your career.
Ask Questions
  • Be prepared to ask questions during the interview that are based on your research of the company and industry. Insightful and pertinent questions will demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and that you’re serious about the position. And your questions will help both of you determine if you are the right match for the job.
  • Know what questions NOT to ask. Don’t inquire about vacation time, benefits or your office space at the first interview. These questions are appropriate only after the hiring manager has expressed serious interest in offering you the position.
Here are some questions you might ask:
  • What would I be expected to accomplish in this position?
  • What are the greatest challenges in this position?
  • How do you think I fit the position?
Interview DOs:
  • Arrive on time or a few minutes early.
  • If presented with an application, fill it out neatly and completely. Don’t attach your resume unless you’re told to do so.
  • Greet the interviewer by last name if you are sure of the pronunciation. If not, ask the employer to repeat it.
  • Project energy and enthusiasm. Smile and shake hands firmly.
  • Wait until you’re offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright, look alert and interested at all times. Listen carefully and respond succinctly and articulately.
  • Look the hiring manager in the eye while speaking.
  • Early in the meeting, try to get the interviewer to describe the job and the duties to you so you can focus your responses on your background, skills and accomplishments that relate to the position.
  • Be sincere and truthful while focusing on communicating your specific professional achievements that relate to the accounting or finance job opening.
Interview DON’Ts:
  • Don’t answer with a simple “yes” or “no.” Explain whenever possible.
  • If you don’t understand a question – or need a moment to think about it – say so. Never pretend to know something or someone when you don’t.
  • Don’t rely on your application or resume to do the selling for you. Interviewers will want you to be convincing.
  • Don’t make negative remarks about present or former employers. When explaining your reasons for leaving, communicate your rationale professionally.
  • Don’t over-answer questions. If the interviewer steers the conversation into controversial – or even illegal – topics, try to do more listening than speaking. Keep your responses non-committal.
  • Don’t inquire about salary, vacations, benefits, bonuses or retirement on the initial interview unless you are sure the employer is interested in hiring you. If the interviewer asks about salary, give a range based on your research of the market, but indicate that you’re more interested in the opportunity for continued learning and professional development than in a specific salary.

Closing

  • Be proactive. Reiterate your interest in the job and the company by asking about the next step in the process.
  • If you get the impression the interview is not going well, don’t let your discouragement show. Remain poised, upbeat and professional. There may be other opportunities in the company that would be a better fit.
  • Be enthusiastic about the job and the company. The people you meet during your job search and at your interviews can become valuable networking sources, even if you don’t get the job.
  • Know the exact place and time of the interview, the interviewer’s full name, the correct pronunciation and his or her title.
  • Learn pertinent facts about the company such as annual sales revenue, principal lines of business and locations.
  • Find out why the hiring manager and/or client representative is interested in your qualifications. Agile Premier can assist you in identifying your most marketable skills and attributes.
  • Determine how the opportunity will impact your immediate and long-term career development.
  • An interview is a “two-way street.” Know what questions to ask during the interview. Your questions allow the hiring manager to evaluate your professional and personal needs. Insightful questions help both of you determine if your relationship will be mutually rewarding. Lastly, the better you understand the opportunity, the more you will be able to communicate your interest in the position.
  • Put your best foot forward. Always wear proper attire and greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and an enthusiastic smile.
  • Do plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
  • If presented with an application, do fill it out neatly and completely. Don’t rely on your application or resume to do the selling for you. Interviewers will want you to speak for yourself.
  • Do greet the interviewer by last name if you are sure of the pronunciation. If not, ask the employer to repeat it. Give the appearance of energy as you walk. Smile! Shake hands firmly. Be genuinely glad to meet the interviewer.
  • Do wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright, look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good communicator.
  • Do look a prospective employer in the eye while speaking.
  • Do follow the interviewer’s leads, but try to get the interviewer to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so that you can apply your background, skills and accomplishments to the position.
  • Do make sure that your good points come across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner. Stress achievements. For example: sales records, processes developed, savings achieved, systems installed, etc.
  • Do always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on opportunity.
  • Do show enthusiasm. If you are interested in the opportunity, enthusiastic feedback can enhance your chances of being further considered. If you are not interested, your responsiveness will still demonstrate your professionalism.
  • Don’t forget to bring a copy of your resume! Keep several copies in your briefcase if you are afraid you will forget.
  • Don’t smoke, even if the interviewer does and offers you a cigarette. Do not chew gum.
  • Don’t answer with a simple “yes” or “no.” Explain whenever possible. Describe those things about yourself which relate to the situation.
  • Don’t lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and succinctly.
  • Don’t make unnecessary derogatory remarks about your present or former employers. Obviously, there were issues or else you would not have left a prior company or be looking to leave a present employer. However, when explaining your reasons for leaving, limit your comments to those necessary to adequately communicate your rationale.
  • Don’t over-answer questions. And if the interviewer steers the conversation into politics or controversial issues, try to do more listening than speaking since this could be a sensitive situation.
  • Don’t inquire about salary, vacations, bonuses, retirement, etc., on the initial interview unless you are sure the employer is interested in hiring you. If the interviewer asks what salary you want, indicate what you’ve earned but that you’re more interested in opportunity than in a specific salary.
Be Prepared to Answer Such Questions As:
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Tell me about your background, accomplishments.
  • What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
  • How would you describe your most recent job performance?
  • What interests you about our company?
  • How do you stay professionally current?
  • What outside activities are most significant to your personal development?
And, be prepared to ASK questions, such as…
  • What would I be expected to accomplish in this position?
  • What are the greatest challenges in this position?
  • How do you think I fit the position?

Remember a lack of questions may be mistaken as a lack of interest.

Not letting these kinds of subjects catch you off-guard is a key factor in maintaining your composure during an interview. Rehearse these questions and answers in your mind (or even out loud, if you can) in the days before the interview.
  • Personal appearance that is less than professional.
  • Overbearing, overaggressive or egotistical behavior.
  • No positive purpose.
  • Lack of interest and enthusiasm — a passive and indifferent attitude.
  • Lack of confidence and poise; nervousness.
  • Overemphasis on compensation.
  • Evasiveness; making excuses for unfavorable factors in work history.
  • Lack of tact, maturity and courtesy.
  • Condemnation of past employers.
  • Inability to maintain a conversation.
  • Lack of commitment to fill the position at hand.
  • Failure to ask questions about the position.
  • Persistent attitude of “What can you do for me?”
  • Lack of preparation for the interview — failure to get information about the firm, resulting in inability to ask intelligent questions.

If you are interested in the position, let the interviewer know. If you feel the position is attractive and you want it, be a good salesperson and say something like: “I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen here today; your company, its products and the people I’ve met. I am confident I could do an excellent job in the position you’ve described to me.” The interviewer will be impressed with your enthusiasm.

Don’t be too discouraged if no immediate commitment is made. The interviewer will probably want to communicate with other people in the company or possibly interview more candidates before making a decision.

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 as a way of testing your reaction.

Thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration. If you have answered the two questions– “Why are you interested in this position?” and “What can you offer?”– You have done all you can.

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