Posted by cpoblog on October 10, 2011 in For the candidate... |

The following are some suggestions considering most individuals don’t conduct interviews too often.


We suggest business attire unless client requests otherwise – minimum of a sport coat, suit if you prefer. If they haven’t suggested casual, let’s stick with business.


Allow 20-30 minutes extra for travel (depending on distance) and 10 minutes to get from car to the office. Always plan to arrive 15 minutes early to allow for time to fill out any necessary paperwork and so you can be relaxed to gather your thoughts. Please remember to have necessary information with you for filling out an application including dates, addresses, references, and phone numbers. (It’s a pain – but we all have to live through it!). Also, be understanding if the interviewer’s schedule gets delayed in any way – this is a great opportunity to show them how flexible you can be.


A good rule of thumb is to assume the “interview” begins at the time you pull into the parking lot, and to present yourself professionally from that point through departure from the company site. You never know who you’re “bumping into” before and after the actual interview and who is “watching out” for you. Also, as a rule, the candidate does not initiate salary discussions. In many circumstances, this will not be discussed at all on a first interview. If they ask you, keep your answers consistent with what was presented with your resume.


Please prepare by doing some investigation on the company by visiting their website and any parent company website that’s available. Looking at their investor information and recent news releases is also helpful. Formulate a couple of intelligent questions based on your research and you’ll find the appropriate time during the interview to raise them. Asking questions signifies interest on your part, which is important to any hiring manager, as is direct eye contact during your conversation.


If you choose to prepare further, here are some suggestions. If you were the hiring manager for this position, what would you be asking a potential candidate to determine if this person is a good fit?  Prepare answers to these questions. Think about the manager’s job and what makes someone a “good hire” other than their technical expertise – i.e. easy to get along with, positive outlook, flexible and helpful, etc. These traits are never written in a job description but are frequently the deciding factors when choosing a coworker. It’s always a good idea to practice out loud with a partner or friend so that your responses are not said for the very first time during the actual interview. It may sound silly, but once or twice through at home makes a huge difference in your confidence and inflection at the interview.


If on the day before or the day of your interview you become ill, call the recruiter or manager immediately to reschedule!! It is to your extreme disadvantage to interview under those conditions and most often the company does not appreciate the sharing of sick germs!!


Prepare an answer to the following question: “What are your greatest weaknesses and how do they affect you in a work environment?” We all hate this question and many interviewers love to ask it. You must have an answer because if you don’t, it appears you think you’re perfect. This is a tough one to answer spontaneously, so be prepared with something appropriate. Of course, in the interview, your answer should seem spontaneous!


Most importantly, take good care of yourself so you are at your best. You already have the talents and skills that they are seeking, and with a little preparation, you will do great on the interview!

By the way, here is a list of some definite “No No’s” during an interview (O.K. we know there’s no need to really mention these but all have actually occurred…so review for humor):

  • Wandering aimlessly in the parking lot looking for your car after an interview.
  • Asking for $20k more because the drive to the interview was so long!
  • Taking documentation along with you stamped “CONFIDENTIAL”…especially when it’s from a previous employer.


Best wishes for a successful meeting! ~JP, MC

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