The Job Interview
The Job Interview
Debra Davenport (Executive Professional Mentor, Licensed Career Counselor & Employment Agent) gives expert video advice on: What are the key do's and don'ts for a great interview?; What do I do when more than one person is interviewing me?; What are good tips for a telephone interview? and more...
What happens during a "job interview"?
The great thing about job interviews is that no two are alike. And every applicant needs to be prepared for any variety of circumstances that might arise during a job interview. Sometimes a job interview is a few minutes of small talk, meet and greet chatting and then getting into the meat of the interview which is, what is your background, education experience, how can you be of benefit to us here in our company. And then a question and answer period for the candidate, where they have the opportunity to get their questions answered by the interviewer. That's a typical job interview, but that is not always the case. Sometimes you might be surprised by a group job interview when you think you're only going to be interviewed by one person. And sometimes it can be a more situational type of job interview, where you're asked more about how would you handle a particular type of situation, rather than to tell the interviewers about your background and experience. So it is best to be prepared for any number of different types of scenarios at a job interview.
What should I wear for my job interview?
Always dress very professionally for every interview. For men that would usually be a suit and tie and for women that is usually a skirted or a slacks business suit as well. Always dress for the position that you are really wanting long term rather than the position you are applying for today. So, even if you are going for a receptionist type of position or an entry level job; dress for the management job that you hope to have in a few years. You can never go wrong overdressing for an interview. Make sure that your clothes are pressed and clean and your shoes are in good shape. Never wear too much jewellery if you are a woman, or to much make-up, and make sure your hair isn't over done. You want to do things in a manner that is simple, tasteful, professional, and sophisticated. You can never go wrong if you follow those rules.
What are the key do's and don'ts for a great interview?
With regards to the job interview, there are many keys do's and don'ts for an interview. The first thing you can do in an interview is to make a great impression, make eye contact, smile, and give a nice, firm handshake to your interviewer. This will set a very positive tone for the rest of the interview. Wait to sit down until the interviewer asks you to sit down. Don't put all your belongings on his or her desk. Make sure you keep your things to your side or in your lap. Their desk is their space, so be respectful of that. Also, wait until you're asked a question until you start speaking. Make sure you maintain great eye contact and smile a lot during the interview. This really makes a big, big difference. Use positive body language in the interview; nod when the interviewer is talking and lean forward when you're very interested in what they have to say. At the end of the interview, as soon as you get the cue from that person that the interview is over, that's your cue to leave. So stand up, thank them again and don't forget to ask for the job before you leave. That's another important thing, they won't be expecting that question, and it always makes a terrific ending impression as you're on your way out the door.
What do I do when more than one person is interviewing me?
When more than one person is interviewing you, it's important to make sure that you adapt your communication style to both of those individuals. So if you are, for example, being interviewed by a male and a female, remember that males tend to communicate much more directly and much more concisely, whereas females tend to like to communicate in stories and they like to discuss more feelings-oriented subjects. Keep that in mind as you're answering your questions so that both people feel very included in the interview. Likewise, if you are a male being interviewed by two women, you're now going to know how to adapt your style a little bit to make sure that the two female interviewers feel comfortable communicating with you.
What are good tips for a telephone interview?
Telephone interviews can be tricky because you can't see facial expressions or body language. So, the best thing to do is to make sure that you are very high energy, upbeat, you use a lot of inflection in voice, and, because that's all you have to make that great first impression is your voice. So that really needs to sell you in a phone interview and also find out from the employer what again is it that they're really looking for in terms of this position so that you can maximize the time you have with them on the telephone to really sell yourself to specifically what their objectives are.
Can a potential employer ask me to take a lie detector test?
Lie detector tests are illegal 99% of the time. The only time that an employer can ask for a lie detector test is if you are applying for some type of government or high-security type of position. In that case, yes, you would need to submit to a lie detector test. Otherwise, they're not legal.
What are illegal questions that an employer should not ask me?
Employers are not allowed to ask any questions relating to ethnicity, family status, childbearing status, anything that relates to culture, gender, family status, anything like that. Absolutely, they cannot go there.
What do I do if an employer doesn't call me back after an interview?
If an employer doesn't call you back after an interview, don't be shy about calling them. It's very important for you to be proactive about your career search. Don't wait. They may be busy. They may be out of town. They may be interviewing other people. It's important for you to keep your name and your resume in the front of the employer's mind while they're going through that decision making process. It's also imperative that the day you interview with this employer, you send a handwritten thank-you note to them and to anyone else in the office who may have assisted you - - their assistant, their receptionist, anyone else. Again, that helps to keep your name and your face in the front of their minds at all times.