Interview Questions | Job Interview Tips and Help
Job Hunting Advice

Job Interview

The job interview is a process in which you control your own destiny. It is your greatest opportunity to prove yourself to a company and show that you are the right person for the position.

The interview is the crucial step in the job search selection process with the highest return on investment. The little time spent interviewing, if successful, has a greater chance of landing you the position than any other step in the job selection process. It is your moment to shine, and you want to be well polished.

I. Job Interview Tips

II. Preparing for the Interview III. Job Interview Questions IV. Job Interview Answers V. First Interview VI. Second Interview VII. Unique Types of Interviews VIII. Job Interview Follow up IX. Job Interview Help

Some job selection strategies will recommend doing exhaustive research on a job, finding the one that you think would be your dream job. After spending countless hours doing the necessary research and finally understanding more about the job than most of the staff, you are told to go and seek a job interview. Once in the job interview you would clearly be able to impress an interviewer with your knowledge of the job and would theoretically be a great selection.

The best approach is the direct opposite. The research is critical and the interview is critical, but you should reverse the order in which you do them. You should already have the interview scheduled before you go and spend hours doing research on the job. The reason is simple. Why do research and potentially waste your time if the chance exists that you might not even be able to get the interview?

You should already know the type of position that you are interested in and the jobs in certain regions that have those positions. First, try to secure the interview, and then conduct your research. The objective is not to memorize every little fact about the job, but only to have a good general understanding about the job, the job as a whole, and the particular division or department to which you would be applying. The goal is to be able to ask intelligent questions that show you know something about the job and have "done your homework." A bad question asked by someone that has done exhaustive research is much worse than a good question asked by someone that has done minimal research. You aren't getting graded on your research. No test will be asked beyond your ability to carry on a basic conversation.

A great source of job interview information in your research is the internet. First, go to the job website. Look for the programs to be posted and anything else you can quickly determine. Then go to a local newspaper site and read any recent news or articles on the job. Check out their recent job reports and read the message boards where students exchange information on the job. If you have any questions, it might be worthwhile to post a question on there and see if you get any responses. You will be able to find out a lot of background information on their internal culture. Finally, conduct some random searches using a search engine such as and see if you can find anything interesting on the Internet. If you can't find something specific about the job, then find what you can about the surrounding area.

All of these sites are great sources of information that you can use for research in the comfort of your home or job. The goal is to find out information that you can translate into questions, such as, "I noticed that your profitability was higher this year than the last. Do you think this was result of your implementation of lean manufacturing?"

Asking these questions will differentiate you from any other interviewers that haven't done any research. Also, just conducting the research isn't enough. You have to know the proper way to use that research. You can know all the facts in the world about a job, but still leave the interview without the interviewer realizing it. But don't use your knowledge as an opportunity to show off. This isn't your chance to regurgitate all of the numbers from last year's stats. You want to come across as well informed, not well rehearsed.

Even if the position that you are interviewing for is a specialist position, such as an engineering draftsman, don't think that knowing a basic surface knowledge about the job is not important. You want to give the interviewer the impression that you care about the entire company, not just that one position. The company's profitability doesn't just affect the CEO. Even the lowliest employee is impacted by the overall business environment and company performance.

Often at the end of a job interview, the question may be asked, "Well, is there anything else that you'd like to know about the job?" This is an excellent opportunity for you to ask a couple of your prepared questions, showing that you are knowledgeable about the job and have done your research.

Tough Interview Questions

There are a variety of questions that a job applicant may have to answer during an interview and each of these questions is designed to gather a different type of information. In fact, an individual may be required to answer questions ranging from a simple question about the individual's strengths to a complex question designed to trick the individual into giving more information than he or she really should. As a result, a job applicant must know how to answer both the simple and the complex questions that he or she may be asked in order to succeed. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done as some of the questions that an individual may be asked can be extremely difficult to answer. However, an individual will typically find it easier to answer these questions if he or she is familiar with some of the tough interview questions that employers typically use.

One of the most difficult questions you may have to answer is "What is your greatest weakness?" This question is designed to lure you into providing information about a flaw that may prevent you from performing the tasks associated with the position. As a result, it is very easy for an individual to provide more information than they really should. The most important thing to remember about this question is to avoid any weakness that may affect your ability to work for the company. Another tough interview question that you may have to answer is "Have you ever been fired?" This question is designed to determine if your previous employers have had problems with you in the past and, if they have had problems, if you are willing to take responsibility for the problems that you may have caused. The most important thing to remember is that you must make it sound as if you have overcome the flaw that caused the problem (unless you've never been fired and then the answer to this question is simply "no.")

A third example of a tough interview question that you may have to answer is "'I've noticed that you've had a lot of different jobs' or 'I've noticed that you've been out of work for quite a while.' Is there a reason for that?" This type of question is designed to gather information about flaws that might make it difficult for you to obtain or retain a position. Interviewers use this question because they wants to make sure that you will be able to perform the job and, if you get the job, that you will be able to perform the job for the foreseeable future.

Job Interview Skills

There are a number of skills that a job applicant may have to demonstrate in order to impress an interviewer. However, the specific skills that an applicant will be expected to demonstrate in a particular interview will vary from interview to interview. As a result, it is important for an individual to be able to focus on the job interview skills that are essential to any interview.

The first skill that is essential to any interview is the ability to communicate effectively. This skill refers to your ability to form a concise answer, speak clearly, and use your body language to your advantage. In most cases, the best way to improve your ability to communicate effectively is to practice in front of a mirror or another person. This will allow you to identify any problems that may make it more difficult for you to impress an interviewer such as strange facial expressions, nervous fidgeting, stuttering, or other similar issues related to your verbal or nonverbal communication.

The second job interview skill that a job applicant must have is the ability to appear professional. This means that you not only need to sound like you know what you're doing, but that you also need to look like you know what you're doing. In other words, you need to dress like an employee. This typically means that you should wear a long-sleeved shirt (preferably a white or blue polo or collared shirt), polished black or brown shoes (preferably leather or another similar material), trousers or suit pants (preferably black, blue, or gray), and a tie if you're man. If you're a woman, a solid-colored skirt or trousers (preferably black, blue, or gray), a solid-colored blouse (preferably one that matches with the skirt or trousers), a pair of closed-toe shoes (preferably black, brown, or navy pumps), and a solid-colored jacket will usually work.

The third job interview skill that a job applicant must have is timing. This skill refers to your ability to arrive when you are supposed to, speak when you are supposed to, and listen when you are supposed to. In most cases, this simply means that you should make plans to arrive at the interview 5 - 10 minutes early, listen to the interviewer when he or she is speaking, and wait for the interviewer to finish what he or she is saying before you respond.

Job Interview Weaknesses

One of the most important things for a job applicant to remember is that he or she must choose his or her words carefully in order to succeed. This is because each applicant is trying to make the best impression that he or she can and a single statement can greatly alter the impression that an applicant makes. It is important to remember, however, that saying something that shouldn't have been said is not the only way that an applicant can make an impression. In fact, there may be instances in which an interviewer is able to gather more information about an individual from the behavior and social skills that the individual demonstrates than the interviewer could have gathered from the applicant's answers. As a result, it is essential for a job applicant to recognize his or her own job interview weaknesses as these weaknesses may interfere with the applicant's ability to obtain the position that he or she is applying for. Unfortunately, recognizing one's own weaknesses is not always the easiest thing to do so it is important for an individual to know the weaknesses that he or she should look for.

First, it is important to avoid anything that might make you appear overly casual. This is because you are attempting to make it clear that you are a professional and clothing such as t-shirts or blue jeans and activities such as walking into the interview while you are still talking on your cell phone will not convey the image that you are trying to create. In fact, it is usually a good idea to find out if the company has a dress code before the interview so you can dress according to the company's expectations. The second job interview weakness that you should avoid is anything that may make it seem as if you don't know what you're talking about. This is because there is no better way for an applicant to appear incompetent than to say something that suggests that he or she doesn't know anything about the company or the position. The third and final job interview weakness that you should try to avoid is any statement or behavior that might make it appear as if you're uncomfortable with social interaction. This is because a lack of confidence, eye contact, and/or a lack of other social skills may make an interviewer wonder whether you can function as part of an organization or not.

Last Updated: 09/18/2014

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