Saturday, September 30, 2006

10 Steps To A Successful Interview

  1. Arrive on time.
  2. Introduce yourself in a courteous manner.
  3. Read company materials while you wait.
  4. Have a firm handshake.
  5. Listen.
  6. Use body language to show interest.
  7. Smile, nod, give nonverbal feedback to the interviewer.
  8. Ask about the next step in the process.
  9. Thank the interviewer.
  10. Write a thank-you letter to anyone you have spoken to.

I hav found that although this sounds simple it is important to think about these things before hand.

Questions You Should Ask in Your Job Interview

Always prepare questions to ask.

Having no questions prepared sends the message that you have not been thinking about the job.

Avoid asking questions that are clearly answered on the employer's web site and/or in any literature provided by the employer to you in advance. This would simply reveal that you did not prepare for the interview, and you are wasting the employer's time by asking these questions. Never ask about salary and benefits issues until those subjects are raised by the employer.

Remember that an interview is a two-way conversation. For you, the interview has two purposes: One, to sell yourself, and two, to evaluate the position. After asking questions, the interviewer usually invites you to ask questions.

By asking informed questions, such as the following, you not only gain knowledge about the potential employer, but you also make a good impression:
  • What is the size of the division, sales volume, earnings?
  • Does the company plan to expand? What are the company's strengths and weaknesses compared to its competition?
  • What are the significant trends in the industry?
  • Could you explain your organizational structure?
  • Can you discuss your take on the company’s corporate culture? What are the company’s values?
  • How would you characterize the management philosophy of this organization?
  • Are any acquisitions, divestitures, or proxy fights on the horizon?
  • What do you think is the greatest opportunity facing the organization in the near future? The biggest threat?
  • How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? And by whom? How often?
  • Would there be opportunities for advancement, and, how long before I might be considered for one?
  • What qualities do you prize the most in those that report directly to you?
  • How does the organization rank within its field?
  • What is the reputation of the department (or facility) to which I am applying?
  • How is this department (or facility) perceived within the organization (or corporation)?
  • What have been its goals in the last year, and, did it meet them?
  • What would be the goals of the department (or facility) in the coming year?
  • Do you think those are aggressive or conservative goals? Who set them?
  • What problems or difficulties are present in the department (or facility) now?
  • What are the most important problems to solve first?
  • What will be the greatest challenge in the job?
  • What are the greatest strengths of this department and company?
  • What would you expect me to accomplish in this job?
  • What is your management style?
  • How often would we meet together?
  • What responsibilities have the highest priority?
  • Can you describe a typical day for someone in this position?
  • How might these responsibilities and priorities change?
  • How much time should be devoted to each area of responsibility?
  • What qualifications are you looking for in the person who fills this job?
  • What are some examples of the achievements of others who have been in this position?
  • How many people have held this job in the last five years? Where are they now?
  • Why isn't this job being filled from within?
  • What is the history of this position?
  • What are the traits and skills of people who are the most successful within the organization?
  • If this position is offered to me, why should I accept it?
  • Why did you come to work here? What keeps you here?
  • What do you see in my personality, work history or skill set that attracts you to me?
  • How soon do you expect to make a decision?
  • If I am offered the position, how soon will you need my response?

When the position involves management of other employees, you may also wish to ask some of these questions:

  • How much authority will I have in running the department (or facility) ?
  • Are there any difficult personalities on the staff?
  • Have you already identified staff or staffs that should be let go or transferred?
  • Have you already identified staff members that are stars and are in line for promotion?
  • How many employees would I supervise?
  • What condition is morale in, and why?
  • May I see an organizational chart?

Finally, you may want to discuss issues of compensation.

Following are some suggestions for questions pertaining to salary and benefits packages:

  • What are the benefits and perks?
  • What is the salary range?
  • What is my earnings potential in 1, 3, 5, and 10 years?

If commissions are involved, ask about the median salary of a person holding a position comparable to that which you are seeking.

Article by Pam Pohly

Handling a Meal Successfully During Your Job Interview

A meal can be very important to your job search success!

Most employers have busy schedules and will arrange interviews during meal times. Sometimes, an applicant may share breakfast with one group, lunch with another and still another for dinner. All the while, the applicant is expected to answer questions well while the interviewers eat. You could be critically scrutinized on your table manners and conduct in addition to your answers to the interview questions.

Employers may want to see you in a more social situation to see how you conduct yourself, particularly if the job for which you are interviewing requires a certain standard of conduct with clients and superiors. Many times, meals are the only time that certain groups of workers can find to assemble together for an interview.

Tips for Interview Dining Etiquette:

Follow the lead of your host or hostess. You should wait for your interviewer to ask you to sit down before taking your seat. If he/she doesn't ask you to sit, wait for him/her to be seated, then sit. During the meal, sit up straight and keep your feet flat on the floor or cross your legs at the ankle. Crossing your legs during the meal can cause you to slouch, and looks too casual. As soon as everyone is seated, unfold your napkin and place it across your lap, folded, with the fold toward you. Do this discreetly. If you need to leave the table, place your napkin on your chair, folded loosely. Only after the meal is over should you place your napkin on the table to the left side of your plate (never on your plate!). You should not push your chair back and cross your legs until the meal is completely finished.

What to Eat & Drink During Interviews:

Here are some general tips on what to order. Let your interviewer order first and order a meal for yourself that is less expensive than his or hers. Pick a meal that is small and easy to eat. Try to steer away from sandwiches, shellfish, spaghetti, pizza or any other foods that are messy and may require a lot of handling. You want to eat quickly so that you can focus on your interviewer and answering questions. It is a good idea to drink water, tea or juice, steering away from alcohol, even if your interviewer has ordered alcohol. Even if the food you are served is not cooked correctly or not to your liking, never criticize or state a dislike for a food that is served to you. You could be evaluated for your grace in such situations.

How to Eat During Interviews:

Take small bites so that you can quickly finish chewing before speaking. Never speak with food in your mouth! You may not have much time to eat if you are being asked a lot of questions; remember that the main point of the meal is to interact and eating is secondary. Unless you are eating a sandwich (try not to order a sandwich), you should keep your left hand in your lap and bring it only to the table when operating a fork and knife together. Never rest your arms on the table.

More Tips for your Interview Meal:

Remember the purpose of the meal. While the interviewer may engage in more casual conversation during a meal, remember that this is still an interview. You will be evaluated on this meeting. Be prepared at any moment for the interviewer to ask serious questions - you will want to be as thoughtful and concise in your answers at a meal as you would sitting in front of the interviewer's desk. Typically in an interview, you are the guest and so the meal is paid for by the company. Your host will most likely pick up the check so you won't have to deal with it.

Remember to thank your host for the meal at its conclusion. A thank you note will be a nice touch as well.

Article by : Pam Pohly Associates

Asking for a raise - HOW, WHEN & HOW MUCH ?

You've been working at a place for a while and proving your worth, and it's dawned on you that you should ask your boss for a raise. There are right ways to do this and wrong ways. Here are some things to consider.The first thing you must ask yourself is do you deserve a raise? Are you an asset to the company? Have you increased profit turnovers? If you have answered yes to these than you definitely deserve a pay rise.

Stay positive

Make sure you come up with a good reason for asking for a raise. Perhaps you're working harder than everyone else. Maybe you're bringing in more money than others. A good reason for a raise does not include the reason that "you've been there a long time." While time of service is important, you need to prove your worth.


Think carefully first about when the best time is to approach your boss. You don't want to ask for money the day after your company is going through some downsizing. Wait for good news. If you've recently had a run-in with your supervisor for one reason or another, now is not the right time, either. You want to be asking for a raise when conditions are right both for your particular situation and for the situation of your company. Try to strike at a time when profits are up, or just after you've finished a major project that made the department look good.

Approaching the subject

Have a basic plan ready. Focus on all your accomplishments, any new business that you have brought to the company, how you've made your department and, ideally, your boss, shine. Have you put in a lot of over time? (we don`t mean the week before you are about to be asking for a raise).

Important Your raises and promotions will come more quickly if actually have a good track record and you've put in long hours and shown the creativity that fuel raises.

The question of money

Take your time and do your research before you even think of asking for a raise. The worse thing you can do is ask for an unrealistic pay rise or worse still not know how much to ask for.Do your researchResearch salary information. Find out how much other people in your position would or do make. Know how much you should be paid. If you can take any kind of documentation or maybe even a quote in with you when you approach your boss for a raise, that may prove helpful.


Check newspaper ads, the Internet or even the local Chamber of Commerce, as well as simply talking to people to find out how much you deserve to be earning.

Don`t sound desperateYou are asking for a raise so you think you deserve one. But what ever you do don`t sound desperate. Be aggressive. When you talk with your boss about a raise, talk as if you absolutely, undoubtedly deserve the raise. Above all, never talk about any debts that you have this will make you come across unprofessional.

Most important Don't use an ultimatum, unless you're prepared to follow through. If you are going to say you'll quit if you don't get the raise, be prepared to quit.

7 Frequently Asked Questions in an interview

Well all of us know the basics to attend the interview. Like Dress well; Shined shoes; Crisp shirt; No bulky brief cases; Cell phone turned OFF; Arrive 15 minutes before the start of the interview; Have copies of your resume with you; Hair combed; Not too much perfume or cologne; Simple jewelry.

Once you are in the interview room then, you got to look at the interviewer in the eyes, smile, and with a FIRM handshake, tell them how happy you are to be there. Once you start talking to the interviewer, keep your physical gestures minimal. I have tried to bring up a set of 7 ( its my lucky number) very Frequently Asked Questions and sample answers for them.

1. How would you describe yourself? / Tell me about yourself ?

This is the most frequently asked or should I put it as, the first question that any interviewer would ask the candidate. The interviewer prefers to know about you from your perspective. Need not give personal details, until or unless asked for. Start with describing what you want to become? Your previous work experience if any, your academic background to support your job? What are your strengths? What will be your contributions to the company? Etc.,Sample replyMy background to date has been centered on preparing myself to become the very best Recruiting consultant. Let me tell you specifically how I've prepared myself. I am a graduate in MBA (HR) from the prestigious university.... My past experiences have been in Technical Consulting Company and Internal recruiter for a leading blue chip company. Both aspects have prepared me well for this career…

2. What are your strengths?

This seems to be a easy question to be answered, right? Assure that you do not miss out pointing the strengths that will present you to be the best fit for the position applied.So to know what your skills are first assess your skills, and you will identify your strengths. This is an exercise worth doing before any interview. Make a list of your skills, dividing them into three categories:

a. Knowledge based skills: Acquired from education and experience (e.g., computer skills, languages, degrees, training and technical ability).b. Transferable skills: Your portable skills that you take from job to job (e.g., communication and people skills, analytical problem solving and planning skills).c. Personal traits: Your unique qualities (e.g., dependable, flexible, friendly, hard working, expressive, formal, punctual and being a team player).

When you complete this list, choose three to five of those strengths that match what the employer is seeking in the job posting. Make sure you can give specific examples to demonstrate why you say that is your strength if probed further. Sample replyI am technically very strong in Java, XML, etc.I posses good written and oral communication, have participated in various debate competitions and won awardsI have the ability to identify potential problem areas, skill to solve them and produce result.Team member to the core and have the ability to lead the team.

3. What are your weaknesses?

Probably the most dreaded part of the question. Everyone has weaknesses, but who wants to admit them, especially in an interview?. The best way to handle this question is to minimize the trait and emphasize the positive. Select a trait and come up with a solution to overcome your weakness. Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate more on professional traits.
Sample reply"I pride myself on being a 'big picture' guy. I have to admit I sometimes miss small details, but I always make sure I have someone who is detail-oriented on my team."

4. How do you handle pressure?

To survive in this competitive world we need to develop the ability to handle pressure. Firstly give your view on stress and then explain a situation where you handled pressure well.
Sample replyStress is very important to me. With stress, I do the best possible job. The appropriate way to deal with stress is to make sure I have the correct balance between good stress and bad stress. I need good stress to stay motivated and productive. Then give an example of a time when you handled stress with ease.

5. What do you expect to be doing in five years?

Wow this is a 90% sure question that I end up answering in almost all the interviews I attend. I remember having given some bizarre answers to this question. Once I told my interviewer that I would like to be in his position in this company in next five years, which brought a smirk on the otherwise dreary interviewer. Always think BIG here, tell him that you have always wanted to climb up the career ladder at good pace and you would be in a senior or Top management level, provided there are opportunities for growth prospect in the company.

Sample responseAlthough it is hard to predict the future, I sincerely believe that I will become a very good Recruitment Manager. I believe that my abilities will allow me to excel to the point that I can emerge as an entrepreneur and may even end up opening my consulting company. My ultimate goal continues to be, and will always be to be the best at whatever level I am working.

6. Evaluate your ability to handle conflict?

Honestly I know, I have not had any conflicts in my career. But then the interviewer will not accept my answer if end up telling the truth. So I have to weave a story to convince him that I do have the ability to handle conflict with ease, if any would arise in future. You need to provide couple of points that can convince the interviewer that you have skills to solve problems and conflicts.Sample responseI am good at handling conflict.

Working in a team, there are times when members of a team have difference of opinion. Being a good listener, I make sure that the member is given opportunity to defend his opinion. My decision-making skill helps me to hanle the conflict and solve the problem. I would always make sure that I fully explained the situation, the policies behind my decision, and why those policies exist. Usually by the end of the conversation, the person could see the other side of the situation.

7. Given the investment our company will make in hiring and training you, can you give us a reason to hire you?

You can always expect this question to be fired, if you attend an interview at some MNC’s. They invest to hire and train you, if selected. So they demand to hear the answer from you as to why should they hire ‘you’?

Sample responseI sincerely believe that I'm the best person for the job. Not only do I have the ability, but also bring an additional quality that makes me the very best person for the job, my attitude for excellence. Not just giving lip service to excellence, but putting every part of myself into achieving it. I think my leadership awards from my college, and my management positions are the result of possessing the qualities you're looking for in an employee for this position.
These are some of the very frequent questions i have confronted in various interviews I attended.

By Bindu Vijayakumar

Job Interviewing Tips - The Steps to a Successful Job Interview

Prepare for your next interview by following these steps to a successful job interview:

Preparation is Key

When preparing for an interview, take the time to research the company and industry before hand. This shows that you are resourceful and have a genuine interest in the position. You can utilize the internet to learn about their product and services, history, mission statements, etc.
If possible, drive by the company the day before - getting lost can make you late for the interview, in addition to making you nervous and anxious. Make sure to take with you names, addresses, and dates of employment from previous employers along with extra copies of your resume. Make sure to fill out the application completely - do not write "see resume."

First Impressions

It is important that you reflect a positive attitude - do not dread the interview. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Take a deep breath and relax. Remember the interview is not an interrogation - it is an opportunity to present your work history and personality as it relates to the position. Remember that professional dress is key. For women, a nice blouse, blazer and skirt/slacks are suitable. For men, a dress shirt, tie, blazer and slacks are appropriate.

Arrive 10 minutes early, and be positive and friendly to the receptionist and other people in the office. They could be your future co-workers. Never chew gum or smoke before, during, or after an interview, even if offered. When you are introduced to the interviewer stand up straight and give a firm handshake.

The Interview

Let the interviewer set the tone and pace of the interview but not necessarily control the interview. It is your responsibility to express to the interviewer your qualifications, work history and why you are the best person for the job. Sell yourself! Answer the interviewer's questions directly, but give details.


Q: Have you worked on MSWord?
A: Yes, I have used MSWord for the last 3 years and I am very comfortable with it.
Make sure to relate your answers to the position you are applying for.


If you are interviewing for a customer service position, talk about your experience dealing with people and problem solving.
Remember to never offer personal information (unless directly related to the job) or talk negatively about previous employers.

The Closing

At the end of the interview, be ready to ask some questions. You need to show your interest in the company & position. We suggest that you do not ask questions related to salary or benefits - they are not appropriate at this time.

Sample Questions:

Why is this position open?
Please describe the personality that fits this description.
Please describe a typical workday.
If you are interested in the position, be sure to let the interviewer know, even if they don't ask. Say - "I appreciate the time you have given me and I am highly interested in joining your company.

What is the next step?

Always send a hand written thank you note as soon as possible (if you met with more than one person, send one to each person individually). Include again that you appreciate their time and why you feel you would be the best person for the job. Be short and simple. If you haven't heard from them within a week, call to politely inquire. Do not call too often, as you do not want to pester them, but do call to express interest.

Always remember to be yourself and answer all questions honestly

You should feel confident that no matter what the outcome may be, you presented yourself to the best of your abilities. If one job doesn't come through, it probably wasn't the right one for you and there is another out there that is!

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