Most hiring decisions are made at the first interview. How you come across in that interview could be as important as your experience and job talents.

Here are some interviewing tips that will help you get the job you want.

Before The Interview:

  • Learn as much as you can about the company salary and benefits. Friends, neighbors and relatives who work for the company are good sources of information. Libraries, local chambers of commerce, etc. are also helpful.
  • Learn everything you can about the job and how your previous experience and training qualify you for the job.
  • Write down the things you will need to complete applications: your background and experience list (contains names of former employers, schools, training, etc.) a resume or summary of your work experience samples of your work (if practical). Also include any work-related or community service awards that you have received.
  • Be sure to bring your social security card, driver's license, union card, military records, etc.

The Interview:

  • Dress for the interview and the job. Don't overdress or look too informal.
  • Always go to the interview alone. Arrange for baby sitters, transportation, and other pitfalls ahead of time so that you can be on time and relaxed in the interview.
  • Find common ground with the employer. Pictures, books, plants, etc., in the employer's office can be conversation.
  • Express your interest in the job and the company using information you gathered to prepare for the interview.
  • Let the interviewer direct the conversation.
  • Answer questions in a clear and positive manner. Show how your experience and training will make you productive in the shortest time with minimal supervision.Note:
  • Speak positively of former employers and co-workers no matter why you left even if you were fired from your last job.
  • Let the employer lead into conversations about benefits. Your focus on these items can be a "ram off." But, don't be afraid to ask questions about things that you really need to know.
  • When discussing salary, be flexible--avoid naming a specific salary. If you're too high, you risk not getting the job. If you're too low, you undersell yourself. Answer questions on salary requirements with responses such as, "I'm interested in the job as a career opportunity so I'm negotiable on the starting salary". Negotiate, but don't sell yourself short.

"Closing" the Interview:

  • If the employer does not offer you a job or say when you will hear about it, ask when you may call to find out about the decision.
  • If the employer asks you to call or return for another interview, make a written note of the time, date and place.
  • Thank the employer for the interview and reaffirm your interest and qualifications for the job.



Information from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration