Interview Guide

Preparing for the Interview

Candidate's who actively PREPARE WELL for interviews, PERFORM WELL during interviews. They are more confident and make a noticeably stronger impact on the person interviewing them. It is essential, no matter how highly qualified you are, to conduct interview preparation exercises.

Interview Tips:

  • Display Confidence. It is also okay to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Show Intensity. The last thing you want to do is come across flat. There is nothing wrong with being laid back, but a sleepwalker is never hired.
  • List your accomplishments prior to the interview and be prepared to discuss these in detail.
  • Answer the following question: "Describe for me the current work that you do?"
  • Write the answer down so that it flows when you are verbalizing it.
  • Present your background in a thorough and accurate manner.
  • Use action words, such as "I designed", "I lead" and "I directed", rather than passive words such as "I have experience in", "I did", "I watched", etc.
  • Display enthusiasm - leave no doubt as to your level of interest in the job. You may think it is unnecessary to do this but an employer usually will hire the most enthusiastic person at the interview

Prepare for the standard questions:

  • What are your strengths? Your weaknesses?
  • Why do you want to leave your present company?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • What do you like most about your present company?
  • What do you like least about your current company? (It is important not to "bad mouth" your current company; nobody likes a whiner.)
  • What are your short-term goals?
  • What do you want to do in terms of a job?
  • What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career?
  • Demonstrate for me through examples your: leadership, creative problem solving abilities, continuous learning abilities, ability to be a self-starter, effective communication skills. (Always using concrete work related examples that will display or prove that you have these abilities).

Be prepared for situational questions:

  • What would you do if you did not have the necessary equipment and technical resources to carry out your projects?
  • What would you do if you had a key technical contributor in your group but he/she is causing conflicts and coming in late, etc.? How would you deal with this situation?
  • How would you deal with a customer that is demanding? What if you and/or the company were unable to meet the promised project deadline?

MOST IMPORTANTLY: It cannot be stressed strongly enough how important it is to prepare questions and to formulate questions during the interview. Be prepared to ask several questions:

  • your role
  • your progression
  • their plans
  • how they do things
  • their management style
  • how you fit in
  • where they are headed
  • technical and business related questions about the company

Behavioral Questions - The client could ask

What type of role do you play in a team environment?

Can adapt to both a leadership role and/or a team player role when needed depending on the situation.

Take me through a time when you took a product or idea from inception to fruition.

Go step by step from brainstorming stage, development stage, testing stage to presentation stage and finalization stage providing specific examples and lots of detail.

Describe how you work under tight deadlines and how you manage pressure and stress.

Approach stress, deadlines and pressure positively with strong organization, focus and planning.

How have you overcome a situation where there was resistance to an idea of yours?

Go step by step through a specific example highlighting positive persuasion methods and concrete arguments that were used.

In the last 3 years, what part of your professional skill set has improved the most? How do you know you have improved?

Select a skill related to the position you are applying for and describe specifically how this skill was improved (classes, work experience, training). Compare current skill level to skill level 3 years ago to demonstrate how you know you have improved.

What characteristics does one exhibit to show that they have a good work ethic?

Honesty, dedication, integrity, hard working nature, responsibility

How have you created opportunity for yourself in your company?

Focus on new initiatives that you have developed for the company and how they have allowed you to become more successful. Show how you have looked for opportunities where you could go above and beyond the call of duty. Mention your desire to keep growing and improving yourself to be the best employee that you are capable of being.

What do you need in order to be successful in a company?

Sufficient challenge, management support, training, good team environment, potential for future development

If you left your current position – What would you miss the most? What would you miss the least?

Be very positive in both your answers, never saying anything negative about your current employer.

How do you motivate or work with different personalities within your team? How do you deal with conflict?

Recognize differences exist, use listening skills, motivate people with things targeted to their needs, understand both sides of a conflict, have controlled group discussions to deal with issues.

END OF INTERVIEW QUESTIONS – To ask the interviewer

  • Describe a typical day in the life of this position.
  • Which internal/external contacts does this position interact with?
  • What are some of the obstacles or current challenges that this position has?
  • I noticed on your website that your company (recently merged, went public, expanded, downsized, won an award etc.), tell me a little bit more about this. Does this affect the open position?
  • What is the most important skill you want a person to bring to your company in this position?

Some other things to remember:

With respect to salary, try not to pin yourself down to a specific number until you have a total and realistic picture of the compensation package. Do not bring up the issue of compensation until you are asked, or it is brought up. It is important not to dwell on remuneration, since the focus should be on the opportunity. Give a true picture of your total opportunity. Provide a true picture of your total package if you're asked for your salary. For example, "I make a base salary of x plus overtime, stock options, performance bonus, a share purchase plan as well as time off in lieu of overtime."

If the interviewer pushes for a specific salary figure that you are seeking, give the interviewer a range. Remember to consider the whole package, not only the salary, since most companies today are offering enticing packages. These packages can pay off handsomely in the future through stock options, bonuses and incentives. One of the greatest mistakes a candidate makes during an interview is that they mention a low salary number for fear of not being considered or that they will seem more attractive to the employer.

After being selected by the employer the "chosen one" (candidate) may rationalize, and rightly so, that the position requires longer hours, more responsibility, etc. or the candidate will then mention a salary review, stock options, bonuses, etc. then change the dollar value wanted. You can bet, however, that the offer from the company will be lower figure quoted first. It is very difficult to change this figure or adjust it. So please think through your requirements carefully, and make sure that they are realistic.

Remember to put the focus on what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you. Employers do not respond well to professionals whose prime motivation is salary.

Follow these instructions, and you will have a great interview. Yes, you can do it!!!


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