After the cover letter and resume have succeeded, it is time to go face to face-maybe voice to voice will come first, in the form of a telephone interview. Here are some considerations that will help you to make the most of this crucial opportunity.
Know something about the company, the job, and the person doing the interviewing. You do not have to pretend to be an expert, just show awareness of at least the basics:
- What is the business of the company?
- Is it relatively new or long established?
- What kind of customers does it serve?
- What does it produce?
- What is your interviewer’s position?
Dress for the occasion. Standard business wardrobe is easy to define and replicate. Dress as you would for a business meeting with a top client. Clothes clean and pressed, shoes shined-no rundown heels, etc.
Be on time. Not very early – never late.
Come alone. Let the emphasis properly be on you, not the spouse and kids or whoever might have made the trip.
Make a dry run on the location, if practical, to know where to park and generally solve any problems that might make you late or flustered the day of the interview.
No gum chewing, smoking, obvious perfume, aftershave, excesses of makeup, fashion, or anything else that might detract from your bearing.
Have flexible arrangements-no parking meter to feed, no early flight that must be met, and never another interview that you must get to right after this one.
Be relaxed, but not familiar. Let any informality be insisted upon by the interviewer-first names, removing jackets, etc.
Respond freely, but do not volunteer information not requested if it has any potential for embarrassment.
Be ready for the standard questions-Why do you want the job? Why do you feel qualified? Where do you see yourself professionally in five years? What can you do for the company? Are you willing to travel and relocate? What kinds of people do you get along with best?…least well? What do you like to read? Book last read? Your strong points and weaknesses? Your greatest accomplishments and failures? Tell me about your personality. How did you like your boss? Do you have any problems we should be aware of the would affect your performance in this position? Why should we hire you? When could you begin? Why are you leaving your present job? Why do you want to work for this company? What is your minimum acceptable salary? What would you like to ask me?
Stay honest in answering these and other questions, but understand that you are being tested. Do not close doors with absolute responses. Try to put a positive spin on anything you can and suggest that there is room to negotiate almost anything. Salary questions should wait until an offer is made other than to say what you presently earn, that you expect to make more, and that the advertised range would appear to accommodate that need. Do not get put into a position of being negative or getting mad. How you respond may be an important as what you say.
Wait for clues that it is time to end the session. Do not persist with questions or explanations beyond the point indicated by the interviewr’s body language and other signs that enough has been said.
Have a neatly typed list of your references’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers in case they are requested. It is assumed that you have informed them of the interview and the possibility that they will be contacted.
When the interview ends, be ready with a comfortable handshake, a smile, and an expression of appreciation for the opportunity to discuss the position. You should also say that you have continuing interest in the position. After you have returned home, send a brief letter of thanks for the courtesies extended by the employer during the interview, include any additional information that you may have agreed to send, and, again, express your interest in being the person hired. Offer to clarify questions that may arise, provide further references that might be required, and furnish any other informaiton that would be helpful.
With those things done, there is nothing to be gained by making further inquiries about the status of your application. After the interview and the follow-up courtesies, be responsive to any contact that might be made. If something materially changes in your situation, make the employer aware of it. Otherwise the ball in in his court and you can only diminish your stature by seeming overly anxious. That does not preclude a businesslike check of your status if it has been an unduly long time or if you must decide on accepting another offer.
~Resumes That Mean Business -Interviews by David R. Eyler –