Quality Consulting

Interview With Precision

  1. Do your homework
    • Find out as much as you can about the employer and the role before the interview.
    • A corporate Web site is an excellent source for this type of research.
    • Check your local reference library for news or magazine articles on the company.
    • Talk to other IT professionals who have worked with the organization before.
  2. Role play
    • Practice your interview skills before meeting with a potential employer.
    • The "role-play" is an excellent way to anticipate interview questions and to prepare answers.
    • Have a friend or colleague play the interviewer while you rehearse your responses.
    • Insist that your friend or colleague play a tough interviewer.
    • Repeat the role-play several times until you feel confident and prepared.
  3. Dress for success
    • While many organizations have adopted "business casual" attire, a business suit is usually the best choice for an interview.
    • Alternatively, slacks and a button-down shirt, or a skirt with a blouse or sweater are suitable casual looks.
    • T-shirts and blue jeans are almost never appropriate.
    • Keep your outfit simple and professional, avoiding distracting jewelry, strong colognes, and flashy accessories.
    • Ensure that you appear clean and neat to project a polished, professional image at all times.
  4. Know the logistics
    • Show your respect for the interviewer's time by being prompt for all appointments.
    • Make sure you know exactly how to get to the interview site.
    • Many organizations have multiple sites and/or buildings - know exactly where you need to go.
    • Make time allowances for traffic or other delays.
    • Bring along the name and telephone number of the person with whom you are scheduled to meet.
    • If you absolutely must miss the interview, provide as much notice as possible so the meeting can be rescheduled with minimal disruption to the interviewer.
    • Bring along an extra copy of your resume in case the interviewer does not have one.
  5. Bond with the interviewer
    • When you first meet the interviewer, make a great first impression.
    • Greet the interviewer with a friendly smile, a firm handshake, and direct eye contact.
    • Forming a bond with your interviewer can put you both at ease throughout your meeting.
    • Show that you are a likeable person who will make a positive addition to the team.
    • Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you.
  6. Talk
    • Begin by asking questions that will help you navigate the meeting.
    • Determine what the interviewer considers to be the "ideal" candidate and shape discussions of your skills and experiences to that model.
    • When you respond to questions, provide complete, detailed answers.
    • When describing your skills, include related experiences such as courses you have taken, volunteer projects you have worked on, or similar technologies you are very familiar with.
    • Try to keep your responses under 60 seconds in length, checking back with the interviewer to ensure the question has been adequately answered.
  7. Listen
    • Avoid monopolizing the conversation - spend as much time listening as you do talking.
    • Allow the interviewer to fully explain the opportunity to you and to gain some assurance that you are truly interested.
    • Pay close attention to the questions asked and provide concise, informative answers.
    • Listen for clues as to what the interviewer wants to hear.
    • Active listening can help direct the conversation toward the skills and strengths that will help you win the position.
  8. Think about your weaknesses ahead of time
    • Interviewers may ask you to list some of your weaknesses in addition to your strengths.
    • These types of questions are not designed to trick you, but to test your honesty and how well you know yourself.
    • As you describe weaknesses, discuss steps you are taking to improve, such as courses or additional reading.
    • Your ability to admit to your minor weaknesses will reflect positively on you in an interview, particularly if you show dedication to improvement.
    • Do not mention weaknesses directly related to the role at hand which will likely disqualify you right away.
  9. Honesty is the best policy
    • Take care not to exaggerate about skills you do not have.
    • Overstating your skills may cause irreparable harm to your reputation later on.
    • Speak honestly about all of your past interactions with colleagues, clients, and projects.
    • If you are asked about negative past experiences, discuss these truthfully and tactfully.
    • Explaining what you learned from negative experiences will illustrate your commitment to growth as a professional.
  10. Remain positive
    • Frame all questions and comments so that they reflect positively on you.
    • Pose all questions in a positive tone.
    • Your tone will speak volumes about your attitude toward the position and your sense of professionalism.
    • Ask about the job content before asking about compensation and benefits.
  11. Recap pertinent information.
    • By the end of the interview, ensure that you have all information you require to decide whether you want to accept the position.
    • Be certain that you are clear on the role and what will be expected of you.
    • Ask whether there will be adequate opportunity for advancement.
    • Taking a moment to recap your discussions throughout the meeting will show that you are a good listener who is skilled at summarizing.
  12. Close the interview by soliciting feedback
    • Before leaving the interview, solicit immediate feedback from the interviewer.
    • Leave yourself the opportunity to uncover and address any unanswered questions or concerns.
    • Focus on the negative, asking the interviewer exactly what might prevent him or her from bringing you into the organization.
    • Close the interview only after all outstanding issues have been addressed.
    • Thank the interviewer for his or her time and reiterate your interest in the position.