Re: Winning the Interview
> If you wear a suit when you come to
> interview with me, then the only jobs
> you'll be considered for are the ones
> where that is the expected dress on the
> job: sales
That's just plain silly. Wear the suit for the interview is a good idea, period. For most people, the interview will be the first contact with the employer. You will probably not know everyone you will be interviewing with. Why take a risk of some one pre-juding you (like you Phil) based on appearence? Once you get the job wear what is exceptable.
Winning the Interview
If your seeking employment I have a few tips that might make the difference for you:
1. If you interview is arranged by a recruiter, ask the recruiter for some background information about the people you are meeting. Sometimes the recruiter can give some insights about the people your interviewing with. Something that you can use for small talk when your walking from reception area to the conference room or office where the interview will take place. Having some knowledge of a persons behavior or attitude can make a different in the way you present yourself during the interview. Ask the recuiter to tell you what questions they might ask you. Often during an interview, you might speak with 3 or 4 people, all with different aspects on job position. For instance you might meet with a manager, who make more interested in how you work as a team rather than how well can code. You want to project the image, that you meet all of their requirements. Having this foresight will allow you to prepare and think ahead what answers you will provide to them. Wars are won and lost by intelligence information, so are interviews!
2. When submitting your resume, for a position, tailor your resume so that it fits best with the position. Don't lie or mis-represent yourself, but expose your skills and work experience that best matches the position. For instance, at one time you might have worked on a project is very similar to the position. Put that project on your resume! Don't take an approach that one resume fits all, because your sure to lose out on a lot of interviews! Don't waste your time submitting your resume for positions your not interested or your not qualified for. You just wasting your time and some elses too. Ask the recruiter for advise on how to set up your resume. Ask them: "What do I need empathize on my resume so that they interview me?"
3. Always dress properly. Wear a suit regardless if the company your interviewing with is wearing cutoff shirts and jeans. You want to present a image that you are serious about the job. Be early! If you are running late, Always! I repeat Always, call ahead and let them know you have been delayed. If you don't take the interview serious by being on time, why should the employer?
4. Be polite and friendly. Always think before you speak. Don't be in a rush to blurt out an answer only to have to retract or revise your statement later. If you blunder your speech, tell them that your a bit nervous. It happens! If they ask you a technical question that your unsure of, ask them to provide you with some further details. If you still don't know the answer but you have a general idea how to find out, explain to them the steps you would take to find the answer. If you completely lost just say your not sure, or "I don't recall having faced that issue". Nobody knows everything!
5. Ask questions about the company and about the position. Ask about what current projects are in development and what future projects they plan to work on. Ask what are some of the issues they are having with thier projects. Then fire back with your experience with similar projects and issues. This process will show them that your interested in them, not just a paycheck, and that you can communicate. It also gives them some further insight into the way your skills and experience fit in with the position.
6. Be prepared! Bring several Clean copies of your resume along with a pen and pad. You may wish to draw a picture or a diagram during an interview. You might be asked a technical question, and if your english (or whatever the local language may be) is hard to understand, you will have the ability to write down or draw an answer so that they can follow you. Before going on the interview, run down scenarios of questions you may be asked. Work out how you want to phrase your answers. For instance, an Employer might ask: "So, what was the reason for leaving your previous job?" or "Where do you see your self in five years". You want to answer like a true business professional. No wineing, no bickering, no baggage. If your leaving or were laid off, don't bad mouth your previous employer. You don't want to come across as someone that may go "postal" if your laid off again.
For the five year question, answer that you plan to move up to the next level ( if your a junior programmer, say you want to be a senior programmer, if your a senior programmer say you want to be a program architect) Don't say that you expect to be a millionare or anything reflective of your personal life. Focus all of your answers on company or business.
Check up on the technology or other aspects of the position. Especially if you haven't done any related work for some time. Look on the Web or pick up a couple of related trade magazines. Find something useful to bring up as small talk that is related to the position. For instance: "I was reading this article about XYZ company that was working on a solution to a similar issue" or "Did you here about XYZ coming out with...". You can also research some details about the company your working on perhaps on the company's web site or from the recruiter. " So what's this XYZ product/project I heard about?".
Always remember that your selling yourself as a product and the employer is a potential customer. You must be able to fulful the needs of the employer otherwise they have no use for you!
7. Ending the interview. At the end of the interview ask them if they have any questions. This gives them a chance to think about anything they might have forgotten to ask. If they are open with you, the might provide you some hints about any doubts they have about you. It gives you one last chance to resolve any issues. Ask them if they would like a copy of your resume. And if approprate provide them a brief comment that reflects your interest in working with them, and don't forget the handshake and thank them for their time!
8. Alway follow through on the interview. If half-way through the interview you think you may not want the job, continue to the interview process like you want this job anyway. You can also turn down the offer later. If you have any doubts ask questions to be sure you have the facts straight. Sometimes you may also get conflicting information about the position if you interview with more then one person. If the conflicts have not be resolved by the end of the interview, ask the recruiter to find out for you.
9. After the interview follow up with the recruiter. Tell the recuiter who you spoke with and how well you did with each person. If you decide you not interested in the position tell them why. Even if you don't like the position or you feel your not qualified, provide the recruiter with any information you can about the position and people you met. This will help the recruiter find a candiate and to prepare the next candiate for the position. In return that recruiter is more likely to help you find a position. The better the relationship you have with a recruiter, the better of chance you may have of getting a job!
10. Be prepared to provide references. Contact your references prior to the interview and let them know you might be using them as a reference. Tell them what position your seeking so that they are prepared to provide a good response for you. Don't use people you don't trust as references. You don't have to use managers, you can use co-workers or even people you've worked with in the past.