Top 10 Interview Tips for the Best Interview Experience

download (9)So you’ve mastered the resume! How wonderful and now you have an interview, even better! Congratulations! You’ve now made it to where everybody wants to go. If you’re getting ready for your next interview take a look at our Top 10 Interviewing Tips. I can’t guarantee your success at getting the job but it may help make you stand out in the crowd.

Basic Interview Tips

1. Be on time or early

It should be noted that this shouldn’t be on the list at all except Human Resource people tell me all the time that their candidates are late. Just remember it’s better to be early and wait for the hiring manager than be late and make them wait on you. If needed, make sure you’re there 15 minutes early.While I was in the service if you weren’t 15 minutes early you were already late. I have to admit that this has carried over to my career. I even show up early to telephone conference calls. I’ve worked for people who laugh as I’m hanging on to the phone waiting for the meeting to start!

2. Dress for success

Dressing for successful interviews doesn’t have to mean boring. There are a few tips on how to dress for the occasion but for me there is really only a couple of real points to remember.

  • Wear a jacket (Yes men you should wear a tie preferably not clip on
  • Wear something someone can comment on and ask you questions about Like an interesting piece of Jewelry or a tie pin. Also checkout what the hiring manager is wearing maybe they also have an identifying piece on that may help you start a conversation and build a connection.

3. Bring copies of your resume

Even though most companies will forward your resume to the hiring manager because they are through an automated talent system they may be hard to read so make sure you bring clean resume including a cover letter. If you have more than one interviewer and you know the names make sure that the cover letter is addressed to the Hiring Manager that you are interviewing with. If they don’t tell you their names prior or you only have one name put the one name you have. But if they don’t, put To Whom it May Concern.

4. Make Eye Contact

Establishing good eye contact during an interview can make the difference in whether you successfully get a job. Your eyes serve as the window into your confidence, interest level and professionalism in an interview. Maintaining good eye contact throughout the interview doesn’t exactly mean staring at the Hiring Manager the whole time. It should appear natural and friendly so you can look away from time to time. If you get intimidated or distracted when looking into their eyes, you can look at their forehead

5. Use Non-Verbal Language

From the opening handshake to your smile, posture, and eye contact during the interview, the way you present yourself non-verbally plays a crucial role in how Hiring Manager judges your interest and enthusiasm for the job. Be polite and be yourself. The default job-interview facial expression would be your smile. Your handshake should be firm, but not bone-crushing. Once the Hiring Manager invites you to have a seat, sit up straight and try sitting slightly toward the edge of the chair to appear eager. If you’d like to go back to the basics check out this article from Quint Careers on Basic Interview Tips.

The Best Interview Tips

6. Have you done your Research?

Research, research, research and let me stress Research. You will know of the hiring manager and hopefully you will know any additional people that you would interview with.

Researching the Hiring Manager

First order of business is to make sure you look them up on LinkedIn. Check out this article on How to Research a Hiring Manager before an Interview. Next up you should look them up on Facebook and Google +.

  • Find out if you have any common hobbies or interests
  • If you can befriend them on LinkedIn to check out their connections to see if you have anyone in common
  • See if you have a common Alma matter or a competitive one each can bring bonding over which makes the interview more successful.
  • See if they have prior service in the military (All veterans are proud of their service)
  • Check and if they’ve won any awards

Researching the Company

Make sure you research the company as well so you can show off your new found knowledge.

  • Look at their company website
  • Check trade journals and industry news. Set up Google Alerts this will send you notification if they are in the news.
  • If this is a public company go to Yahoo Finance or Google Finance and check out their quarterly earnings Report. This can come in handy when you’re answering questions and can even help you figure out the best questions to ask.

7. Bring questions!

Remember that the questions you ask will determine the their culture is like. Also the hiring manager is going to be the person you will be working with. What their attitude is will also define how you interact with them in the future. Remember you can refer to your notes so write down the questions you want to ask before hand.

8. Take some notes

You’ve already done a lot of research don’t but you’ll find out a lot more as you go through the interview. Take notes! I had an interview with the hiring manager and she actually brought up the fact that I didn’t take any notes. I think she wanted to make sure that I was paying attention and even basically tested me during the interview. I didn’t receive the job offer but I passed the test. I always thought it may be because I didn’t take notes. Well I’ll always wonder about that…

9. Ask questions

Tying the above question together you’re going to hear clues as to how the culture works, what the hiring manager wants and what is most important to them. Listen carefully and you can almost guarantee that you’ll find the right questions to ask. Look for keywords like “I need someone who is organized”. Pay attention to the questions generally the answer is right there in front of you.

10. Closing the Interview and Following Up

Make sure you get cards/email address to write thank you notes. I always ask for a card because you’ll be wanting to follow up with a thank you note either snail mail or email. From each person if they don’t give you one, call up the Recruiter and ask them. If you still can’t get that the next best way is to look at the email address of the recruiter to see what their email is and then. Make sure you send the email/or thank you note within 24 hours. Don’t delay as you want to be on their mind while their making the decision. Too late and the decision will be made without you.

Good luck in your job search!

At Interview Ally we succeed by providing personalized Career Strategies, Interview Techniques, and Career Assessments based on each individual. Our Employment Professionals succeed by personalizing our approach to our client. We’ve successfully placed interns, new graduates, experienced professionals and executives in Fortune 1000 companies.

Interview Ally is dedicated to helping our clients by education and a personalized approach. Our services are designed for each client to assist them in understanding who they are and helping them establish the goals and give them the tools to succeed in their career.

You Can’t Over-Prepare for an Interview

A colleague and I were doing some interviewing of upcoming college graduates at a university campus. Most of them were very prepared, looked presentable, asked great questions, and seemingly did their research. There was one, though, who stood out from the rest, and not in a good way.

Out of the gates I knew this was going to be an interesting interview. He showed up ten minutes late for his interview time. He looked literally as if he had awakened ten minutes before the interview. He had on an old sweatshirt, jeans, and sandals and hadn’t bothered to brush his hair.

He hadn’t researched my company, didn’t understand what products we developed beyond our flagship product, and didn’t know what types of jobs we were looking to fill. The most amazing thing, though, was that he came in expecting me to sell him on the company versus him demonstrating why he was someone worth pursuing. My decision was made in the first minute of the interview. It was my easiest interview of the day.

If you want to work at an organization, the message is crystal clear; you have to put the effort in up front to impress them enough to want to talk to you more. First impressions do matter greatly, and it’s not enough to just avoid a negative first impression. Neutral first impressions will at best position you equally with other candidates and, at worst, put you at the bottom of the list. Why some candidates gamble with first impressions completely boggles my mind; it is completely within the candidate’s control to create that positive first impression. If someone doesn’t care enough to make the strongest impression possible then I don’t want them as an employee. End of story.

Get prepared for that interview and use the following as some ideas to help you:

    1. Do your organization research – In today’s internet culture, learning about most any organization is only a few mouse clicks away. Learn about what the organization sells, how many employees they have, their sales and net profit, their key business challenges. The more you know and the more you can show you know, the more you’re likely to impress your interviewer.


    1. Talk to someone who already works at your potential employer – Got a friend, relative, or casual acquaintance who works at the organization? Buy them a cup of coffee and learn about their experience with the organization. You may learn things that either confirms the organization is a good fit for you, or that cause you to not want to work there.


    1. Ask someone to mock-interview you – Ask a friend, colleague, or family member with experience in interviewing to run you through a mock interview. The goal isn’t to be gentle and lob softball questions at you. Your mock interviewer should ask you the difficult questions and get you out of your comfort zone. The better you are able to respond to the difficult questions in a mock interview, the better you’ll do when the real interview comes along.


    1. Learn as much as you can about the job – Ask your contact at the company for a job description prior to the interview. Talk to others who work at the company. Talk to someone with a similar job at a different company. Any little bit of information you can dig up will help.


    1. Learn about your interviewer – Find out the name of the person or persons who will be interviewing you. Has he or she written any books? Has he or she published any articles? Is he or she doing a speech or presentation somewhere you can attend? Do you know someone who might know the person? Does the interviewer have information either on the organization’s website or his or her own website? You may learn about a common interest or idea that could help you establish a connection with your interviewer.


    1. Dress the part – For Pete’s sake, dress like you want a job. Make sure shoes are shined, shirts or blouses are pressed and hair is combed. Even in today’s casual environment, most employers are expecting interviewees to dress business formal. I’ve never chosen to not hire someone because he over-dressed for an interview, but I’ve declined quite a few who looked like they just crawled out of bed.


  1. Be on time – ‘Nuff said.

I can’t think of a single instance in my experience where someone had been eliminated from a job search because they were too prepared for the interview. Do your homework, prepare for the tough questions, and dress up for the interview and you’ll leave a positive impression on your interviewer. It may not guarantee you a job, but it certainly won’t hurt your chances either.

Great Tips for Practicing Interviews

download (8)Start right now! Remember you’re not alone your family and friends want you to have that job. Even I want you to land the job of your dreams. It’s really weird when I first got out of the Navy I was so completely nervous every time I applied for a position let alone tried to even think about Interviews. My heart rate would go up. My hands would sweat. My mouth would dry out and taste like an old sock. So what helped – practicing interviews with a partner. I used my sister but you can use a friend or a family member. Also informational interviews can be a big help.

Find an Accountability Partner

Well there’s my first tip – practice your interview in front of a partner. This will help you get clarity on things you need to work on. Look for someone who has experience if you know someone who works in human resources use that person if they are willing. They can give you a perspective on what the recruiter or the hiring manager is looking for when they interview you. If you can try and get more than one person as nowadays you will end up with a panel interview so you need to practice making eye contact with multiple people when answering a question.

Try to refine your answers so they start sounding natural. Write down your answers and then practice them in front of a mirror. Practice making eye contact and how you gesture when you speak. This is difficult to do by yourself as you are always more at ease when you’re by yourself. However speaking out loud when your practice the dreaded “Tell me about yourself?” questions will really help you refine how you describe.

Plan Your Wardrobe

I have a winter suite and a summer suit basically because Dallas is extremely hot so having a lighter weight suite helps with making sure that I’m comfortable. The University of Sydney has a great sight on what you should where and why check it out here.

Research Company and Hiring Managers

Remember to research the company and the hiring manager, as well as anyone else you may be interviewing with. If you already have the interview make sure you research the company. If not you should probably start researching companies you want to work for. That way you can concentrate on getting to know the people you want to connect with to help open up opportunities within that company. Try for a half a dozen of companies within your area. Don’t just concentrate on ones you know take a look around within a 25 mile radius and see what’s available.

Practice Your Interview Closing

Remember you want to leave with the idea of either further interviews or when they expect to make a decision. Try for something like I really enjoyed speaking with you and would love to know the next steps. This article from Quint Careers has some great tips for closing the interview.

This should help you get started. Remember the more you prepare the smoother your interview should go and the less nervous you’ll be.

Best of luck in your job searching!

At Interview Ally we succeed by providing personalized Career Strategies, Interview Techniques, and Career Assessments based on each individual. Our Employment Professionals succeed by personalizing our approach to our client. We’ve successfully placed interns, new graduates, experienced professionals and executives in Fortune 1000 companies.


The 4 Types of Interview Questions and Answers That Will Help Land the Job!

download (7)During an interview, all companies would want to know about you and of course the way they get to know you is through questions. All of the questions are designed around 4 types of core competencies. Once you’ve mastered these types, you can easily modify your answers no matter how they ask the questions.

Basic Skills

Employers would be asking questions geared towards understanding your basic skill level for the job you’re applying to. They would evolve around the following things.

– How well you comprehend their questions and how well you respond – listening and speaking skills. Here are some tips to help you through this one as it goes on throughout the interview.

  • Use a moderate tone with plenty of energy
  • Don’t mispronounce words if you’re not sure just substitute for a word you already know how to pronounce
  • Try to avoid filler words like “yes; “uhm” “so” and “like”
  • Avoid sighing when your thinking of an answer
  • Avoid looking up when thinking

– How well you can perform basic functions of the job. This will depend on the level from entry to executive.

  • For entry level they will ask questions about reading, writing and arithmetic
  • For a midlevel non managerial position they’ll ask about your skills with common software platforms i.e. Microsoft Office, Excel, Word.

Thinking Skills

When interviewers are asking about thinking skills, they want to understand how you solve problems, how you make decisions, and how creative your problem solving skill is. In general, they will ask a lot of open ended questions. Make sure you have a few of these on hand for the interview and practice, practice, practice. Here are a few guides to help you through.

– Think about a time when you were working on a project and you had a number of different choices to solve a problem. Walk us through your process on determining the answer. What was the outcome?

  • Make sure your answer is relevant to the job description
  • They will look for evidence that you are willing to learn and grow as an employee
  • They are not looking at the outcome as much as they are trying to understand your process and the manner of thinking involved in making the choice

– Describe the process you followed to pick the college you attended

  • More geared for entry level or interns. Make sure you’ve thought these through and walk them through the process. Make it a good story.

OK I’ve saved the best for last. Everyone will want to know if you personally can fit in with the organization. It’s very important to research the company to ensure you will fit in with the job. Check out the below question and always ask your self is this me?

– Tell me about a time when you had to work closely with a coworker whom you had trouble working with. What did you do?

  • Take stock we’ve all worked with people we didn’t get along with or who were difficult but we had to make it work. Make sure you keep it positive and ensure the outcome is positive.

– Tell me about a time you disagreed with your manager or supervisor?

  • OK let’s face it. We don’t always like our manager or how they work. What do you do to make this work?
  • Make sure your reference can speak to this.
  • Demonstrate how you solved the problems or conflicts with your peers as well as how you built effective relationships with supervisors.

Take a look at this article on effective job interview questions for employers. It will give you an idea of what employers are looking for.

Good Luck in your Job Search! Remember if you need help practicing for an interview our flash coaching services just might be the thing for you!

At Interview Ally we succeed by providing personalized Career Strategies, Interview Techniques, and Career Assessments based on each individual. Our Employment Professionals succeed by personalizing our approach to our client. We’ve successfully placed interns, new graduates, experienced professionals and executives in Fortune 1000 companies.

Interview Ally is dedicated to helping our clients by education and a personalized approach. Our services are designed for each client to assist them in understanding who they are and helping them establish the goals and give them the tools to succeed in their career.