An interview is an exchange of information between both parties. You need to be sure this is the employment position you are looking for. In addition, the company needs to confirm you are who your resume says you are and that your personality fits the culture of the company. The interview is 80% character traits and 20% technical skills. The character traits that are usually judged are: professional appearance, attitude, personality, energy and enthusiasm. The required technical skills provide the company with the best profit margins possible. These include: training, cost control, sales, and cleanliness.
Before the Interview
Discuss with your recruiter the duties and requirements of the position, what to expect on this interview, the personality of the interviewer, the possibility of testing, etc. Your recruiter will give you information about the company prior to the interview, but it is advisable to learn as much as you can on your own.
Know the location of the interview! If you have any doubts, call the company and ask for directions. If necessary, drive the route the day before the interview. Expect traffic delays so give yourself plenty of travel time. Plan to arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the interview is scheduled. This shows the appropriate enthusiasm and preparedness. Arriving any later might indicate time management problems or lack of enthusiasm. Be prepared! Before entering, take four deep breaths and remember you are the best. Relax. It’s Showtime! Put a smile on your face and walk in with confidence. Introduce yourself to whoever greets you and tell them the reason you are there.
Professional Dress Tips
For men: Crisp, starched, long-sleeve shirt with tie (Power tie, solid color, preferably in a red tone). For Assistant Management unit positions a jacket is optional. If a jacket is worn, wear a dark jacket. Dark pressed dress slacks. Again, for a unit position below GM, starched Dockers are appropriate. Dress shoe: preferably black, with dark socks. Jewelry should be limited. Try and keep it to a wedding ring/class ring and watch. Facial hair is not desirable during an interview and can be grown back after you start your new job. Do not wear heavy perfume or cologne. Body piercings are not acceptable for management positions.
For women: Skirt or Dress Slacks; wrinkle-free blouse and jacket, professional dress pumps. Make-up should be moderately applied. Long hair should be put up or at least pulled back. Do not wear heavy perfume or cologne.
Some of our companies will prefer a more casual look more in line with their corporate culture. Unless otherwise instructed by your recruiter, follow the above advice. Remember, no drinking or smoking before the interview. The interviewer might pick up on the smell and instantly disqualify you.
Always bring at least 2 copies of your resume. Try and keep your resume to one page if possible. Oftentimes the employer is working from a faxed copy or has misplaced it, or in some cases hasn’t received one. Offer a clean copy to your interviewer. Keep the other copy in front of you to assist you in remembering dates and details as the employer goes through your resume. You are going to do such a good job on this interview that the interviewer may want you to meet with someone at the next level that day, so be prepared!
Have at least three typed copies of your references. These must be professional references. Provide names, position, company name and phone number of each reference.
Don’t forget to inform your references that you are using their names as references and prepare them for phone calls verifying employment.
Make eye contact and always have a firm handshake. The interviewer will be looking at your personal traits– professional appearance, attitude, personality, energy and enthusiasm. Professional appearance includes body language, physical appearance, and the way you dress. Stand tall and proud and look straight ahead and not at the floor. Your attitude, personality, energy and enthusiasm are reflected in your verbal communication. People can hear excitement and enthusiasm in your voice. If you don’t have these traits in your voice, then you probably won’t have these traits in your work. Verbal communication also includes which words we choose to use. Do you use positive, encouraging words or negative words? Watch out for slang and any type of profanity. Sloppy use of language might translate into the way you conduct your business.
Remember, you wouldn’t be there if the interviewer wasn’t interested in hiring you. Take a seat. Relax, but sit up straight. Don’t cross your arms or hold your hands. You will need to have your hands free so that you can use them to emphasize what you are saying. Act like you belong there.
Listen and watch. This is probably the most important skill of all. By concentrating not only on the employer’s words, but also on the tone of his or her voice and body language, you will be able to pick up on the employer’s style. Once you understand how a hiring authority thinks, pattern your answers and actions to subtly mirror the interviewer’s. This will help build rapport. Remember, no one likes to buy anything of value from a stranger, and you are selling yourself.
Be prepared to answer questions concerning accomplishments. Companies hire people for one of two reasons: to make money for the company or to save money for the company. Translate your accomplishments into these terms and you present value to the company. Give hard facts about past accomplishments, not the warm fuzzy buzzwords most people use. An example of a hard fact statement: I refined the training program and cut food costs by 1.5% and through LSM I increased sales by 5%. I am a proven performer and I can do the same for your company.
Speak positively of your previous work experiences. Never say anything negative about anyone, because the interviewer will wonder what you are going to say about him or her.
Make your answers thorough, but be concise. Don’t ramble and don’t be vague or try and hide something. People can usually tell when you are trying to hide something and this will not result in a job offer.
Be prepared to ask questions about duties and responsibilities– to whom you would report, training, etc. Also, ask the interviewer about his or her background and what he or she likes about the company. Remember, unless the employer brings it up; don’t ask about salary or benefits on the first interview.
Express your interest in being an employee for the company, and after the interview ask what the next step is in the process and move to set a date for that step. If it is a second or third interview and you still like what you hear, ask when you can start!
Always remember to thank your interviewer for his or her time and get that business card!
Compensation and Benefits
First interviews are a “get to know” interview. Unless the client asks you directly, never bring up salary and benefits on the first interview and never ask for more money than was previously discussed.
On the first interview, you must convince the employer that you can provide value to the company and you must show enthusiasm for the job. If asked about compensation, never use what we call a “hard” number. Just state what you are making currently or in your last position, re-express your interest in the job, and simply state that you would seriously consider their best offer.
Listen to your recruiter. Your recruiter works with these clients every day and will inform you of a realistic range to expect from the company and for your current experience level. We won’t send you out for an interview where the compensation package doesn’t fit the range you are currently receiving. Asking for more compensation than your experience or the position warrants will swiftly eliminate you from consideration.
If you are currently unemployed, don’t expect an offer equivalent to what you were making. Each month of unemployment takes off about 10% from your last salary. Unfortunately, these are the facts of life. Don’t be discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific salary discussed. The interviewer will probably want to communicate with their company first, or interview other applicants, before making a decision.
After an interview, you need to call your recruiter and brief them. If you have any questions or concerns that didn’t get answered during the interview, express these to your recruiter and they will get them answered. We must have this feedback before we contact the client. We know that you will do such a good job on the interview that the client will want information ASAP on your interest level, your concerns, and the possibility of hiring you.
When you get home later that day write a note of thanks to the interviewer and send it immediately.
We are confident in your interviewing skills, and know you have what it takes to get the job. Get out there and expand your career path!