Interviewing Tips

First Impressions

It is true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The first impression you make will determine the course of your interview so keep in mind that you are meeting your prospective employer for the first time. Your appearance, conservative clothing and relaxed attitude will all contribute to the overall impression you make.

Dress to Impress

Trust your Consultant or Staffing Manager to advise you on what to wear to your interview. They know the environment of the company where they are sending you. While many companies now have casual environments, it is usually best to stick to professional dress. We recommend that men wear a suit and that women wear a suit, pantsuit, or professional dress, regardless of the dress code of the office. Remember, the minutes spent with an interviewer may have a major impact on your future. The time you invest making a few simple preparations could result in a job offer!

Men:
  • Suit
  • Clean, crisp white shirt
  • Conservative tie
  • Hair trimmed
  • Buffed shoes
  • Fingernails short and clean
  • No facial hair


Women:
  • Skirted suit or pantsuit
  • Conservative length skirt
  • Clean, well cut hair
  • Appropriate daytime make-up
  • Shoes in good condition – no stilettos or sandals
  • Fingernails clean – conservative nail polish
  • No sleeveless or low-cut tops

Do Your Homework

Gather as much information about the company as you can prior to your interview. Your library and the Internet are the best references for this type of information. Being aware of a company's size, recent growth and products or services will prove helpful to you during your interview. Print out or make copies of relevant information and highlight facts to learn more about their industry.

  • Place the printout in your portfolio to take on your interview.
  • Identify 2 questions related to their company to ask. This shows that you have done some research on their organization which shows a true interest in the job.

Date and Time

Be sure you have the date and time of your interview marked on all of your calendars - paper and electronic.

Directions

Check your directions carefully and allow ample travel time (use Google Maps to print out directions)...then add an extra ten to twenty minutes for emergencies. Driving to the location the night before your interview to be sure you know where you are going is often a good idea.

Arrival Time

Above all, BE PROMPT! Your prospective employer may be on a tight schedule, which could cut your interview time short or cause you to miss your interview entirely. Arrive 15 minutes early. Never show up late! That would immediately indicate that you would also be late for your job. Arrive 15 minutes prior to your interview so that you have time to sign-in, catch your breath, and get your head focused on the success of your interview. Don't come 20 minutes early and just sit in the lobby. If you arrive more than 15 minutes ahead of time, stop at a restroom to double-check your appearance or walk around a bit before entering the company's lobby. Be sure to call your Consultant at Red Zone Resources if you will be unavoidably delayed. If, upon arriving, you are kept waiting by the interviewer, please be patient.

Don’t Smoke!

If you’re a smoker, it will be tempting to smoke a cigarette prior to the interview. It is natural that you may be a little nervous and smoking probably calms your nerves. However, the smell gets in your hair, clothes, etc and it can be a major turn-off to managers, even on a sub-conscious level.

Cell Phones

It’s best to leave your cell phone in the car. While you wait in the lobby, it may be tempting to use your cell phone to text or talk. However, if the company has a receptionist, s/he may notice this and inform the manager. Using a cell phone makes you come off as easily distracted—not a good quality to have.

Your First 5 Minutes

Think of your first five minutes as an introduction to a new acquaintance. Smile! Relax! Think of how you would like someone to respond if you were the interviewer. You would want them to be relaxed and show you the qualities that would make them a good employee. Talk to the interviewer and let them see why you are a good fit for their company. This is your moment to shine. You have a lot of good qualities, so let the interviewer see them. When you're smiling, your body relaxes and you communicate better.

What To Bring With You

Bring a Portfolio with your resume, references, and questions written down for you to ask them. Start off by showing your interviewer that you are prepared and efficient. They may forget to bring your resume to the interview. You will look good if you have an extra copy for them. Be sure it is the same version you (or Red Zone Resources) sent to them so that it doesn't appear that you have had to make corrections to get the job. If you have more information, you can tell it to them during the interview.

The Interview

Following these basic guidelines common to most interviews can help you make a good impression:

  • Have a firm handshake (Men - don't grip a woman's hand too hard)
  • Establish eye contact upon handshake
  • Sit up straight
  • Open portfolio
    • Take notes
    • Have your questions written down
  • Even if you bring a resume, fill out an employer's application. Consider this your first test of how well you follow instructions.
  • Speak confidently and honestly about your work experience as it relates to the job for which you are applying.
  • Be aware of your grammar, diction and posture.
  • Look directly at the interviewer and smile often.
  • Do not chew gum or smoke, even if these items are offered to you.
  • Leave your cell phone in the car.
  • Try to refrain from answering questions with only yes or no answers.
  • Ask questions that show you are interested in the position and the company.
  • Don't bring up the salary in the initial interview or ask for more than the job pays. Salary is not an issue unless an offer of employment is made to you.
  • Refrain from discussing personal problems or talking against former employers.
  • Be careful not to talk too much or too little.

Remember, you are there to sell your talents and abilities. Convey your strong points with sincerity and enthusiasm.

Concluding Your Interview

Thank your interviewer for their time and express a positive interest in the job. If you are offered the job, never turn the offer down on the spot. Thank them for the offer and ask for time to think it over. Many times people are caught off guard by receiving an offer and aren't sure how to respond. Minor problems that may cause you to immediately reject an offer may be resolved in later negotiations. If you decide that you still want to turn the offer down, your Placement Consultant will convey your answer to the company for you. Call your Consultant or Staffing Manager as soon as possible after the interview, but don't call from the employer's office. Your Consultant or Staffing Manager needs to know your opinions concerning the interview so that the proper actions or negotiations can be instigated on your behalf.

Reconnect With Your Interviewer

Stand out from the crowd by emailing a 4 to 8 sentence thank you note to Red Zone Resources so the recruiter can proof your message and forward it to the hiring manager on your behalf.

Questions You May Be Asked

When the client asks you questions, give them specific examples to answer their question. For example, if they ask you if you are organized, give them examples of how you have kept a former executive organized. If they ask you if can work independently, give them examples of how you have been successful at working independently. Take time to consider how you would answer this sampling of typical interview questions.

  • Why do you want to work for us? Or, why are you here today?
  • What type of work do you want to do?
  • Why did you choose your field?
  • What do you know about our company? Or, want to know about our company?
  • What did you like most about your previous jobs? What did you like least?
  • What are your immediate career goals? Or, what do you plan to be doing in 5 to 10 years?
  • What do you consider to be your weak points?
    • Be prepared to share 1 weakness, if they ask. Always choose a weakness that is actually a positive (perfectionist, such high expectations of yourself that sometimes you are hard on yourself, over achiever, etc)
  • What do you consider to be your strong points?
    • Be prepared to brag on yourself and have at least 3-5 adjectives to describe yourself that would be pertinent in the position you are interviewing for. Also think of examples of how you have used those characteristics to be successful in your past jobs.
  • Do you prefer working alone?
  • Is working overtime a problem?
  • Tell me about yourself.

A good way to prepare for an interview is to role play with a friend. Practice answering the questions above. Being prepared will raise your level of self-confidence. Be sure to take a clean copy of your resume. Good luck on furthering your career!

PLEASE NOTE: If Red Zone Resources arranged the interview, please send us the thank you note in email format so that we can forward it to the client on your behalf. Since we have a relationship with the client, emails from us take priority for the client.