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Interview Prep
updated: Oct 18, 2012, 3:13 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I have a second interview coming up and I'm looking for that extra edge I can bring to the table... or just any other interviewing tips anyone has. Thanks!

Edhat readers wanted a follow up to this story... http://www.edhat.com/site/tidbit.cfm?nid=101990 I unfortunately didn't get the job. (12/15/12)
228 add

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 332960 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 03:18 PM

Are you talking about a job interview?


 COMMENT 332961 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 03:19 PM

I assume you have researched the company/organization. Just come up with some sincere questions that convey your interest in them.


 COMMENT 332966P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 03:27 PM

It is really great if you have researched the company and when you go in there you make sure and express that you know what the company stands for and that you would be a good fit because... and the company would be a good fit for YOU because... and 2nd interviews are a great time for you to interview them back. After all, it would be where you spend most of your awake time. Prospective employers are impressed with people that ask questions, it shows that you want to make sure you'll fit so that you can be there for a long time. Then after your interview, if you want the job, make sure and send them a thank you email or note for meeting with you and say something like, "It was a pleasure to discuss the position for ... with you. After I meeting I feel that I would be a great fit for your company because the position wouldn't just utilize my existing skills but would teach me new ones and allow me the opportunity to learn so much more. I look forward to hearing from you..."

They wouldn't have you back for a 2nd interview if they didn't like you so now is your time to pounce! Good luck :)


 COMMENT 332968 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 03:32 PM

thanks 966, great feedback :-) and yes, D8, it's for a job :-)


 COMMENT 332972 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 03:37 PM

Dress nicely....if you are a girl no plunging necklines or short skirts, wear natural looking makeup and be yourself. Be calm and answer each question honestly, very important to look the interviewer in the eye.

Do not under any circumstances criticize your last employer. Let them know what skills you bring to the position and that you are a team player.

Be positive, be honest, be calm and IF you don't get the job don't feel bad, it doesn't mean there is anything "wrong" with you. Just trust that the right job will come along that will be a better fit.

Good luck!


 COMMENT 332973 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 03:38 PM

oh, and also, I'm a guy, so no, I won't be wearing any plunging V necks - lol. Just a suit.


 COMMENT 332975 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 03:42 PM

Tell them you are a firefighter - you will then get a standing ovation


 COMMENT 332977P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 03:44 PM

66P makes good points.

I would add: "Are there any concerns you have about my fit for this position that you'd like me to address?" Be prepared for what you might hear and be ready on how to respond. This means anticipate what your weaknesses might be.

For your own peace of mind, ask what the next step in the hiring procedure is and when a decision will be made. If you leave not knowing, every minute waiting looms large!

And good luck!


 COMMENT 332979 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 03:46 PM

I"d also make sure to interview the interviewer. When I used to interview potential employees, I wanted to make sure they'd fit into the company culture and feel at home, so I'd have them ask me questions, to ensure compatibility. I found compatibility and "self starter" characteristics the keys to successful hires.


 COMMENT 332983P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 03:55 PM

No ideas, just wishing you good luck!


 COMMENT 332988 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 04:06 PM

I'd stay away from emoticons when communicating with the prospective employer. Good luck


 COMMENT 332989 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 04:06 PM

Go easy on the coffee and be yourself and if it was meant,you will get it!


 COMMENT 332990 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 04:06 PM

Last time I did this - I said - at the end of the interview - I will work for 5 days for free - you don't like my work - it's free -

If you are a good worker and help the company - it will show - If your a bum - it to will show -


 COMMENT 333002 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 04:14 PM

Whatever you do, don't bring your mom.
I work in HR and it's shocking to hear stories about applicants bring parental units with them to the interview and even asking if their parent can sit in on the interview! Craziness!


 COMMENT 333006 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 04:18 PM

Do your homework on the potential employer, and when you're done, do it again. I've hired people for a lot of different kinds of jobs and what stands out is the person who is prepared.

Prepared to tell me how they are going to help me. I already know what YOU want- a job- but that means zero to me. Don't worry about anything except how are you going to help this company succeed. If you can answer that, you are light years ahead of everyone else already.

Know your limitations, be honest and be yourself. Don't play games or try to be James Bond. Do the homework and you will know exactly what to say and when to say it. And you will also discover if this company is a fit for YOU. It's a two way street.


 COMMENT 333008 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 04:18 PM

Couple of additions:

Check yourself in a mirror before you walk in; save yourself any embarassment (lunch in your teeth, something in your hair, etc.) that you might have missed.

Often prospective employers ask applicants to identify his or her own weaknesses or shortcomings.

NEVER do that! Instead, say that your weakness is that you are a workaholic, who doesn't know how to turn off commitment to the outcome of a project or assignment.

Be prepared to talk a little about who you are outside of work -- you may be asked about how you fill your free time. If you volunteer or work with a professional association, it would be good to have information ready to provide.

If you have work samples, copies for the prospective employer will make you stand out from the others with whom you are competing, as will a short (three to five) list of both personal and business references (who you've previously alerted) with contact information.

Lastly, bring a firm but not overly powerful handshake and a warm smile. Let your smile rise to your eyes. If you want the job, let the interviewer know it by the way you comport yourself. Warmth without over-eagerness is the perfect combination!

Good luck!!


 COMMENT 333016 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 04:33 PM

I had scented resumes in my bag to offer if anyone at the table wanted one, the scent matched my perfume. I also made sure to remember the names as people were introduced to me, and used their name when answering questions. Lastly, I smiled a lot..and showed my positive nature. I have always gotten the job...


 COMMENT 333018 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 04:37 PM

Only rule for those I interview...be genuine. If you're close to qualified, I can train you, but if you seem fake, you're not going to fit in with my group.


 COMMENT 333021 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 04:42 PM

Don't forget to bring a few copies of your references list in case they ask. And check with your references before hand to make sure they're OK with being on your list.

If you have prior work experience, depending on the field, it's sometimes useful to bring along a portfolio of items related to previous projects you've worked on. This is not uncommon in the technology fields.

You might want to state what field you're in so others can provide industry-specific tips, if applicable.


 COMMENT 333022 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 04:43 PM

One more addition to all the good advice that 314s post brought to mind.....do NOT wear strong cologne or after shave lotion.

Good luck!


 COMMENT 333023P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 04:46 PM

No on the scented resumes unless you are applying for makeup salesperson at Macy's. Ick.


 COMMENT 333026P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 04:56 PM

If you get a chance, find out in advance about the workplace atmosphere from your prospective co-workers. And have an anecdote or two prepared in case your interviewer asks a goofy question.


 COMMENT 333038P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 05:25 PM

Make sure there isn't anything incriminating on your FB or other social media site -- I've read that employers are looking at what potential employees post. Good luck, and please let us know how it goes!


 SUMMERTIME agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 06:13 PM

One of the questions we used to ask was: If we call your last employer for references, what will the employer tell us about you.....


 COMMENT 333062P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 06:44 PM

There is a lot of great advice above with the exception of wearing cologne or perfume. You may love your scent, but the interviewer may be allergic to it or simply be put off that you and your resume smell. Save your scents for your personal life.

Bring your enthusiasm for this particular job, not just any job, with you. Show the interviewer you want to work there, not just somewhere. If you can’t summon up any enthusiasm or can-do spirit during the interview, why should they think you would do more than just the minimum when you’re on the job?

Good luck!


 COMMENT 333066 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 07:06 PM

1. Read up about the place with whom you are interviewing. Be familiar with what they do. In the interview let them know that you have read about the company, and mention something specific that you learned from your background research. 2. Dress nicely. Specifically, dress a level up (more formally) than what you would expect to wear if you get the job.
3. Plan to arrive 10 minutes early. This will give you a chance to relax before the interview.
4. Smile, introduce yourself, and shake hands firmly.
5. The first question a good interviewer asks will usually be a general question about you or your interest in the job. This is intended to let the interview start on a positive note, and to help you relax.
6. Answer the interviewer’s questions to the best of your ability. You don’t need to give really long answers; being specific is more important. Whenever possible, provide examples to document your answers. For instance, if an interviewer asks if you can manage multiple priorities, tell them what activities you are currently busy with, and explain the tools you use to manage your time (keeping notes in a day planner or calendar, making to do lists, using computer programs such as Microsoft Outlook, etc.).
7. It’s ok to:
a. Feel nervous. A good interviewer is aware that most people feel nervous being interviewed. If it makes you more comfortable to say that you are a bit nervous, that’s fine, just go on from there responding to questions. b. Ask an interviewer to repeat a question;
c. Say you are starting over with an answer if it would help; and
d. Bring paper and a pencil and take notes.
8. Near the end of the interview, a good interviewer will ask if there is anything you’d like to say that was not covered. They should also give you the chance to ask any questions. Always take the opportunity to summarize what you would bring to the job. If you are very interested in the position, tell them so and tell them why.
9. When you stand to leave, shake hands again, smile, and thank them for their time.
10. If it makes sense for the job you are interviewing for, leave something with them to give them more information (and a reminder) about you. Examples include a resume, business card, sample of your writing or art, etc.


 COMMENT 333067 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 07:06 PM

I've interviewed lots of candidates and always ask two questions: where do you see your career five years from now? And, what are you currently reading for fun? The best answer to the first question was: I want to be doing to your job after you get promoted. There was no right answer to the second question, but there sure were a lot of wrong ones.


 COMMENT 333078 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 07:37 PM

If it hasn't been said - thank you notes after the interview has worked for me the two times I've done it. Good luck!


 COMMENT 333083 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 08:05 PM

Be on time. I was in the unfortunate position of interviewing people, and the ones that were late..... GRRRRrrrrrrr!

Remember the interviewer still has a days work to do besides interviewing people so be on time and thank them for their time afterward.


 COMMENT 333113P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-18 10:54 PM

If it's a technical position, review basic math and logic. Practice solving some word problems, etc. Most tech companies give math and basic programming tests.


 COMMENT 333150 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 08:22 AM

Many of the comments here are right on the mark. But it's also important to remember that as much as you may need the job, you are also interviewing the company. It's a two-way street. be sure you achieve some eye contact when you are responding to questions. If you have a Facebook page be absolutely sure you do not have any questionable photos in your gallery or on your wall. If you have friends that commonly post racy images or use offensive language, block them immediately and let them know that it's not personal—it's just business. Know as much as you possibly can about the company. Their history, the various departments, corporate alliance partners, philanthropic activities. Know as much as you can about all of the officers at the company. Is the company listed on the stock market? If so, what has the stock been doing for the last year? Is the company growing or shrinking? Is the industry the company serves a growing industry or on it's way out. Be very familiar with the company's mission statement and think about how your own personal mission statement (if you have one) connects. Since you are also interviewing the company you will want to know about the culture there. Is the company involved in community activities in some way. Does the company support any charities? Is there substantial interaction between departments or does each department function as an autonomous part of the system? Is the CEO very involved in daily activities at the company? Remember, just as they are looking for quality employees, you are looking for a quality company to work for. Finally, once you are in, don't be a bull in a china shop. Before you start coming up with ways to make things better, take a few months to get the lay of the landscape. Develop some relationships with key people, listen to their ideas but don't engage in office gossip. Good luck and update the EdHat community when you get the job.


 COMMENT 333157 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 08:42 AM

Bring Donuts!


 COMMENT 333165 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 09:03 AM

When I interview people and ask for their "weaknesses", if I hear "I'm a workaholic" or "I care too much" I am turned off. It really sounds phoney to me. Also, if it's true, it means they don't have good self care skills, which is also a negative.


 COMMENT 333175P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 09:17 AM

Lots of good advice here, maybe some overkill in a few areas.

A lot depends on the level of the position being sought.
Personally, I'm seldom looking for someone to change the way we do things overnight.

I try to be honest and straightforward when I conduct interviews and look for the same in those whom I'm planning to hire.

I gave up on the "trick questions," as most people now are aware of those and (over) prep for them.
I do check social media and am often surprised at what people have out there. Maybe it's "harmless" fun or youthful posturing , but why should I bother when I can move on the next, presumably savvier, applicant?

I would strongly discourage aftershave, perfume or overly fancy (or fragrant) résumés and limit follow-up contact to a brief email thanking the interviewer(s) for their time. I've had some applicants who've tried too hard to be "memorable" afterwards.


 COMMENT 333231P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 11:00 AM

Use all your manners. Don't touch your face or hair, don't fuss with your hands. Avoid slang. Don't refer to people you know by their first name, for instance your spouse, as if the interviewer knows them, too. Say "you're welcome" instead of "no problem" if the interviewer says "thank you." If you are a "glass half empty" type in general, do "glass half full" for the interview-- check anything you say within your head before you say it to make sure it isn't sounding negative even if you mean it just for the sake of making an intellectual point, unless you are specifically asked to, for example, critique a business product. No suggestions unless you are asked to suggest: You are smart, but you are not the alpha dog right now.


 COMMENT 333244 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 11:23 AM

I hope we get a happy follow-up to this one too!


 COMMENT 333253 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 11:40 AM

thanks everyone. I will be sure to update you all when I hear back. It may be awhile as I may have another one after this one...


 COMMENT 333355 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 02:43 PM

You should actually never say you are a workoholic, or for example, my weakness is I'm a perfectionist. One of the most common mistakes is to answer that question in this manner.


 COMMENT 333407 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 04:16 PM

ok then 165 + 355 ... what are good things to say as your weaknesses? i personally AM a perfectionist, which also means i have an eye for detail. i think it's just a silly homogeneous question anyway, but what are things you would like to hear? i answered honestly once that i wasn't a morning person. i didn't get the job, lol!


 COMMENT 333418 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 04:40 PM

A perfectionist in theory will take "too long" to do a task from start to finish; in theory, nothing is ever perfect. Emphasize the areas where your perfectionist tendencies are appreciated (editing, formatting, otherwise finishing). You have learned to leverage your creative "starter" counterparts in order to be most effective as a perfectionist. Every firm needs perfectionists that compliment a creative type; let's just hope you're not interviewing for a creative position.


 COMMENT 333431P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 05:14 PM

I was a hiring manager for many years. Things that made me take a candidate seriously:

--Showing up on time. Almost as bad as being late is being early and then expecting me to rearrange my schedule.

--Candidates who talked more about what they had to offer my team as opposed to those who were mostly concerned with THEIR career path and advancement.

--A candidate I hired immediately came prepared with a project for our company she had developed on her own initiative. She was newly out of school, but her enthusiasm was so strong I wanted her on my team!

--No scented or cutely formatted resumes. Avoid overuse of corporate gobbledegook.

--If the interviewer is so unimaginative as to ask about your weaknesses, you can always talk about a past weakness and how you worked to improve it. You can also talk about how you are currently working on building a certain strength or minimizing a weakness.

Good luck with the second interview!


 COMMENT 333433P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 05:19 PM

When asked the "Weakness" question, I answered that I wasn't current on a few of the skills listed in the advert BUT that I have already signed up for night-classes at SBCC that will bring me up to speed so that if hired, I can hit the ground running. I was hired.


 AGENTSME agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-19 08:38 PM

Remember to write a hand-written "Thank you Note" after the interview. Good manners are important and if it's between you and another person with the same skills the note not only leaves a good impression but will help make the employers choice easier.


 COMMENT 333611 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-20 12:07 PM

Light up and share.


 COMMENT 333620 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-20 12:18 PM

Let them know that you are a fast learner a team player and that you work hard.


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