How to Interview

handshakeWhen someone starts asking about how to interview, it really is as much about what not to do as it is about what you should do. As an Operations Manager I have seen lots of great examples of good job applicants and I have seen my share of applicants that could use some help. If you are currently looking for work, here are some tips that may help you through the process.

  • Showing up is half the battle! – You would not believe how many times I have had job applicants just not show up for an interview, or how many of them are late.  Just last week I had an appointment set up with a young man who was looking for entry level work. He had filled out an application two months ago, and I finally had a position that needed to be filled. His appointment time came and went without a telephone call. Unfortunately for him, I was ready to offer him a job.Another time, a young man showed up late for his interview. He seemed to have a reasonable excuse, so I decided to reschedule.  My boss  suggested I move on, but I wanted to give him another chance. Believe it or not, he was late for the next interview, and I finally got the message that this was going to be a habit. I gave up.Be on time, and show up for your appointment. Believe it or not, this may set you apart from your competition. While being on time or showing up does not seem like a difficult skill to learn, it is one of the things that is most desired in a new employee. It also seems like a trend with our current generation of new job applicants, to be very casual about the minor detail of timeliness. I recommend you take it seriously!
  • Be as charming and warm as is natural for you. Most hiring managers will make a decision on whether they want to hire you within the first 3 to 5 minutes of the interview.  Sometimes they will decide in the first few seconds.  This has a lot to do with your personal skills, your appearance, your handshake or your attitude. You need to be easy to like. If you appear to be difficult to be around, or grumpy or pre-occupied with your phone, or some other distraction, it will be easy for the manager to decide to move on.
  • Always tell the truth, but don’t talk too much! It is absolutely critical that you are honest on an application and honest during an interview. You don’t want to give any false information to an employer or screener. However, you can also hurt your chances of getting a job if you volunteer information that has not been requested. For example, if you are applying for a physical labor type of job, be careful about discussing any past injuries that may sound like they would hinder your ability to do the job. One of the most important things that a hiring manager does is make good hiring decisions. If that manager thinks that you are a health risk, they may decide to move on. Again, you need to be honest, but you don’t need to give up information that is not being requested.
  • Be careful how you talk about past employers! I was interviewing an applicant a couple of years ago, and all they could do was verbally bash their current or previous employers. This doesn’t set a good tone for an interview. It shows that you might be a difficult employee to work with.
  • Be prepared to answer a variety of “open ended” questions. Open ended questions are the type where you are asked to describe a situation from the past. For example, you may be asked to describe a time when you had to make a judgment call.  Or sometimes you are asked to list your 3 greatest strengths and your top 3 weaknesses. Be prepared with some answers to these types of questions. It is not hard to think of some examples if you put your mind to it. Depending on your answers, the interviewer will make some key decisions. If you show that you have some good responses to these questions you will be seen in a favorable light and will quickly move to the top of the applicant list.
  • Have some of your own questions ready to ask. If you do some homework about the company where you are applying, you could ask some very good questions that show you are a strong candidate. For example, you might ask about a company’s safety culture. Or how about asking about the main reason why sales were so good last year. This will show that you have spent some time researching the company and that you care about where you are looking for a job.

While these aren’t the only concerns you may have during your application process, they are some good things to make sure you have buttoned up. It is not very difficult to learn how to interview, but sometimes it takes some practice. Take some time and work through these tips and you may be surprised at your success!

If you have some examples of good or bad interviews, please hit reply and tell me about them. I would love to hear about your experience!

About The Author

Duane Rockensock

Duane (Rocky) Rockensock is a husband, a dad, and the National Reconditioning Manager for AmeriGas Propane. Since he was a teenager, Duane has loved hearing the stories of how people have started creative businesses or found ways to use their talents to accomplish amazing things. For that reason he started this blog to encourage teens and adults to find their purpose and to provide the tools and resources to make that happen!