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  • Interview

    A Step-by-Step Guide to Acing Your Next Job Interview

    The Ultimate

    Success Kit

    Jeff Ayers Content Manager

    A Publication of

  • Table of Contents

    • Introduction

    • Chapter 1: Prepare

    • Chapter 2: Practice

    • Chapter 3: Impress(ion)

    • Chapter 4: Perform

    • Chapter 5: Follow Up

    • Additional Resources

  • Opening thoughts…

    Y o u d i d i t . You willed your way through creating a resume. You navigated

    the application process and submitted your materials for review. You passed

    unscathed through any pre-screening and HR pitfalls. You grabbed the fleeting

    attention of the Hiring Leader, who found your qualifications up to snuff.

    N o w i t ’ s t i m e f o r t h e i n t e r v i e w . Interviews often bring about

    anxiety for job seekers. Many of us simply aren’t accustomed to selling

    ourselves and our qualifications. But interview skills can be learned. The

    process can be broken down and each element perfected until anxiety melts

    away and you are fully prepared to win your dream job.

    In this eBook we will cover interview preparation strategies (including

    company and interviewer research), practice methods (such as mock

    interviews with a friend), keys to successful first impressions (like tips for

    proper interview attire), how to perform on the big day (focus on the

    employer’s needs) and follow up techniques (using the ‘Thank You’ email to

    continue the conversation).

    I n t e r v i e w s a r e a b o u t b u i l d i n g a c o n n e c t i o n with your

    future colleagues, manager and company. When you are fully prepared and

    your mind is free of small worries, you can focus on being your best self, on

    connecting with your interviewer and sharing your value.

    Jeff Ayers Content Manager Silverman McGovern Staffing



    1 Prepare

  • Preparation is crucial

    D o y o u r r e s e a r c h . You should be well versed in the company’s history

    as well as its latest news. Interviewers are unlikely to quiz you on the

    company’s past or present. However, a solid understanding of the

    organization’s origin, its mission and its recent successes provide valuable

    context for how your position might contribute.

    C o m p a n y X . c o m . Thoroughly review the company website. What is

    their mission statement? Who are the key personnel? What do they brag

    about? Small touches, like commenting on a recent blog post or

    complimenting the manager on a recent company award, show you care about

    the job and the organization.

    K n o w t h e j o b d e s c r i p t i o n i n s i d e a n d o u t .

    • Know your role: Where would you fit into the organizational structure?

    What would be your responsibilities?

    • Speak their language: Do you understand their jargon? Can you use it to

    discuss your own past experiences?

    • Have the right questions: Can you see how this position will progress into

    the future? Do you need some clarity on job expectations?

    W h o i s y o u r i n t e r v i e w e r ? Check out your interviewer’s LinkedIn

    profile. Identify any shared experiences, connections and interests. Building a

    rapport with your interviewer will help ensure a successful interview.

    W o r d o f m o u t h . Glassdoor is a treasure trove of useful information for

    job seekers. Many employer pages include testimonials from previous job

    applicants regarding the interview process. Learn from those that went before



    2 Practice

  • Practice makes perfect F r i e n d s , f a m i l y a n d p a r t n e r s make wonderful practice

    interviewers. Running through common interview questions (next page) and

    your answers can help hone your skills and boost your confidence.

    Plus, having an extra set of ears listen to your answers helps weed out

    unnecessary information or awkward phrasing. We often don’t notice when

    our own stories or explanations stray away from the main point and start to

    ramble. A second opinion can help remedy that problem.

    T r a v e l t h e i n t e r v i e w r o u t e a t l e a s t o n c e . Whether

    you’re driving, taxiing or taking public transit, make the trip to your interview

    location prior to the actual interview. Not only will the trip help you time your

    departure on interview day, it will relieve any anxiety about getting misplaced

    along the way.

  • Common questions:

    • Can you tell me about your last position?

    • The interviewer wants to know how well you can describe your

    past experience and how that experience may relate to their job


    • What is your biggest strength? Weakness?

    • What they’re really asking: Do you know yourself? Be honest

    about your weakness, but show how you’re addressing it.

    • Why did you leave your last job?

    • Focus on the positives. Answer the question honestly, but avoid

    bad-mouthing former employers or placing blame on others.

    • What interests you about this job? This company?

    • Let your preparation shine through. Dive into aspects of the

    position and organization that you find exciting.

    • Can you tell me about a time you had a disagreement

    with a coworker? How was it resolved?

    • Are you professional? Disagreements happen. Adults find

    common ground and move on.

    • Can you tell me about a time when you faced a

    challenge at work? How did you overcome it?

    • Are you resilient? Resourceful? Explain how you approach

    complex problems and work to find solutions.


    3 Impress(ion)

  • First impressions matter

    D r e s s t o i m p r e s s . Short of wearing a

    tuxedo or evening gown, it’s difficult to

    overdress for your interview.

    Look your best. Looking good boosts your

    confidence, and confidence implies


    H a n d s h a k e s a n d e y e c o n t a c t

    show confidence and help build trust early in

    an interaction. Don’t stare at your feet and go

    in with a firm handshake.

    B r i n g e n o u g h t o s h a r e . Have

    multiple copies of your resume on hand. You

    never know when another member of the team

    will pop into the interview. Having multiple

    copies shows preparation and forethought.

    …We make a reasonably accurate assessment of a person from observing just a few seconds, or a ‘thin slice’, of their behavior.

    Source: “Acting on impulse,” The Guardian, 4.6.2009

    “ ”

    *Image courtesy of


    4 Perform

  • How to perform like a pro

    B o d y l a n g u a g e s p e a k s v o l u m e s . An open, upright posture

    conveys confidence and comfortability. Avoid hunching and crossing your

    arms or legs. Look up and make eye contact when speaking rather than

    staring at your resume or off to the side.

    B e c l e a r , c o n c i s e a n d c o n f i d e n t . Stories about your past

    experience should have a clear beginning, middle and end. They should

    be relevant to the job being offered as well as short and to the point. If

    you feel nervous, relax and speak more slowly, more carefully. Not only

    will this give you time to think, it will make you appear more confident.

  • How to perform cont’d…

    I t ’ s a l l a b o u t t h e m . Yes, you are the one being asked all of the

    questions. But interviews, and your answers, are really all about the company.

    Every company with a job opening has a need. Your job is to show you can

    meet that need. You need to speak to how your skills and experience will make

    your future boss’s life easier and help the company reach its goals.

    B e c u r i o u s . All interviews will include a chance for you to ask a few

    questions of your own. Don’t waste the opportunity. Ask questions that

    validate your qualifications and reveal information about the employer.

    • What are some of the goals you envision for this position in the coming


    • This question shows you’re already thinking about results. It also let’s

    you gauge whether your up for the task (but of course you are!).

    • What skills would you consider critical to success in this role?

    • You can then follow up with relevant experience you may have using

    those very skills.

    • What are your favorite aspects of working at Company X?

    • Pretty standard interview fare. Allows you to hear some of the

    benefits of working at Company X from an insider’s perspective.

    • How do you see this position evolving in the future?