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Interviewing Tips

Updated 03/29/2017
This is an evolving list.

    Zig Ziglar, the master of motivational speaking, would often tell his audiences
"you can have anything you want in life if you would just help other
     people get what they want.
What most interviewers want is validation you
     understand the topic and can provide favorable honest feedback to meet their
     objective to find the best person for the job.
Your challenge find what the
     interviewer needs to hear that YOU are the one to be offered the opportunity and
     how you showed extraordinary aspects.

          BELIEVE in yourself ... if they didn't you would not be in that room with them.
          And if you don't believe in yourself and project that ... who will? Lack of
          confidence in your ability will be detectable and trigger interviewer concerns as to
          why you are there.
Never be cocky or arrogant but feel confident you possess                 the skills, knowledge and experience for the position you have applied for.
While waiting for an interview, size up other candidates to assess your plan
          against your competitors.

         Generally, the interviewer has some key points they want to hear and will directly
         or indirectly, associate points for a response grade. This does not mean you have
         about 35 minutes of a 60-minute interview to address their questions. Getting to
         the core of their question quickly provides maximum points on your performance
         so avoid going down "side streets" with answers or example of what you did.  If
         they want those they will ask and that time generally is on "their clock" not yours.

         Questions regarding technical requirements, design objectives, functional use and
         planning requirements can easily take many weeks or longer in the real world.  
         for any focus area the interviewer is looking for
allowing you to target his area of
         interest versus "taking the grand tour of New York" and avoiding Central Park.

        Some interviewers will provide a well-defined question guiding you to the area to
        answer. Some will want you to talk about New York City but never mention any
        Borough or particular aspect or location within New York City.
Try to get a defined
        focus area
before you start answering the question so everyone in the room comes
        out a winner!

        Sometimes an interviewer may want to hear a "larger more detailed picture" about
        yourself or your work. Just make sure you and they are on the same page for what
        they want you to provide.

        If any questions ask about a "negative" (your worst class, your worst manager,
        your biggest failure, your weakest skill, etc.) always take that negative and show
        how you worked to turn it around into a strength or improved it in some manner.
        Everyone has a negative in their history so don't act like you are the only perfect
        person in the universe.
What they don't want to hear is a long string of negative
        comments without resolution or improvement.


The interesting thing about Interviewing is it touches on so many different areas which can be seen by some as a negative. I see it as a golden opportunity to go for the "Gold" by leveraging the resources available, along with practice, to nail the interview with confidence whether it is a screening or one of potentially many formal interviews.

As of September 2016 there are no less than 15 different topic areas that involve
aspects of Interviewing (Believing, Happiness, Career Break/Careers), Communications, Confidence, Emotions, Gut Feelings, Hiring, Interview, Listening, Passions, Perseverance, Purpose, Success and Talking) plus others beyond these in the
TED Video Section.  

TED Videos are normally under 20 minutes so view those of interest within the above sections. Not everyone may be a good fit for your immediate needs to pick up some of the insights and tricks to promote yourself better, including those on Body Language and Hand Use. Going in well prepared stacks the game more in your favor so go in confident, go in ready, go in a winner!

VIDEO:  Addressing Your Weaknesses - Forbes

MMedia:   Amy Cuddy Article & Videos

ARTICLE:  Amy Cuddy probes snap judgments, warm feelings, and becoming an "alpha dog."

VIDEO:  What to Do With Your Hands during an Interview 

  1. In 2010, researchers compared photos of those with at least 8 hours sleep the night before versus those who had not slept in 31 hours.
    Those in the last group (31 hours of no sleep) were perceived less attractive, less healthy and sadder.

  2. In a 2014 Chinese study, researchers had male and female look at photos of other people displaying neutral expressions. Having a label of "evil and mean" were deemed less attractive versus no label or a label of "decent and honest".

  3. In 2016 research, a contracting body language can make you seem less attractive. Men and women who were in the expansive (open positions as if to reach out for something) where more likely to be selected than those in the "closed" positions (crossing arms, hunching their shoulders, etc.).

  4. A 2013 study found that women with high levels of the stress hormone cortisol were perceived by heterosexual men as less attractive. Researcher say this is possible as high cortisol (and lower stress) indicate health and fertility.

  5. In 2011, researchers used more then 1,000 subjects showing them photographs of members of the opposite sex and asking how attractive the people in the photos were. Men rated the most attractive women when they looked happy and least when they displayed pride.  Women rated men most attractive when they displayed pride and least attractive then they looked happy.  Guys: look happy, not proud.  Ladies: look proud and no so happy.

  6. A 2009 study found that not being funny at all - and even having an average sense of humor - is less attractive than having a great sense of humor.
    Gender did not play a role, as
    a poor sense of humor was equally unattractive in men and women.

  7. A study published in 2004 found attractiveness depends a lot on traits like helpfulness. Students at the start and end of a six-week archaeology class were asked to rate each other on different personality traits as well as attractiveness. Researchers found those who were rated as average at the beginning of the course were rated less attractive if they'd proven to be lazy.

  8. In a 2006 study, researchers recruited heterosexual couples to answer questions like how much they were turned on by their partners and how many other people they'd had sex with during the course of the relationship.
    Meanwhile, the researchers took DNA from the participants' mouths as well as their partners' and brought it to the lab for testing to compare their Major Histocompatibility Complexes (MHCs) [which are immune-system genes].
    The more similar their MHCs were, the less attracted the participants were to their partners and the more likely they were to have had sex outside of the relationship. Studies also found we avoid partners who smell too different from us.

  9. In a 2006 study, participants read blurbs about men and women, who were described as either intelligent or unintelligent, dependent or independent, and honest or dishonest. They were asked to rate people on a number of criteria, including how much they liked the people and how attractive those people were. Honesty was the only trait out of the three to have a substantial effect on attractiveness and liking.

    Amy Cuddy: People Judge You Based on 2 Criteria When They First Meet You - Business Insider 2016-01-16


Knowledge is Power!
How can you consider working for a company without what the company is like to work for or if they are solid? Who want's to jump from one train wreck to another?

You need this information for your own decision making PLUS the ability to share your knowledge with the Recruiter(s) you will talk with. Recruiters are amazed how few people have any knowledge of their company while some Candidates are at a loss why Recruiters also have so little knowledge of recent news at their company.
Being able to "update" them makes a "plugged in" person even if you just learned the information two nights ago on the local news.

SO ... how can you research a company to get the Power?

1.  How does this company make money?
     a)  Visit the company's web site ... only about 30% of applicants do this!
     b)  Do a Google Search and see what comes back on them.
     c)  If you have time and they are a publically traded company (they are listed on
          a stock exchange), call the Investor Relations number and request a copy
          of their most recent Annual Report. It's free.
     d)  The company's mission: What is the goal? Satisfied customers? An
          outstanding dining experience? Super technical in a language you can
          understand without hassle?
     e)  What is their current financial status and recent developments? 

2.  Why do they do what they do?
     a)  What are their driving values and is this something you agree with?
          It is hard to work for a company that does something you see morally wrong.
     b)  What would the passions be of people who are working there?
     c)  What is the company's mission statement or mission in business. This can
          help get you involved and seen as part of their team. Including these themes
          in your Resume can make a difference.
     d)  How successful are they?

3.  What's going on currently?
     a)  A company's Facebook Page should let you see what's popular and current.
     b)  Newspapers can reveal accomplishments, releases or issues you may find
          good for an interview.
     c)  If it is a publicly held company (you can buy their stock), look at the price of
          their stock over the past 90 to 180 days to see how well they are doing. You
          can also review Stock Analyst reports on the company for insight.
     d)  Any reports of activist investors trying to take the company over or split the
          company up to release large amounts of cash quickly?

4.  Questions you may want to consider in doing your research:
     a)  How big is this company?  Are the local, US regional, international or are
          doing business in most countries of the world?
     b)  How many employees do they have and where are most of them based?
     c)   Who is their principal competitors and how well do they complete?
     d)  Any major changes being talked about such a pending change in their
          high level Executive Officers, widespread layoffs, corporate takeovers?
     e)  Does this company have a clear and realistic view for the future?
     f)   What are their major products and what are they responsible for?
     g)  Are their goods and services highly valued and of good or superior quality?
     h)  Who are the consumers of their goods and services and where?
     i)   Any word of legal trouble with major recalls or government intervention?

5.  Ask people you know what they know about this company.
     a)  Do they buy the goods or services without hesitation?
     b)  What to they think or know about the company or people working there?
What is the reputation of the company?

6.  For companies who sell stock here is a free way to get lots of information.
     The Securities and Exchange Commission offers a free tool, EDGAR, to review
     documents public companies must submit to the Commission. Unlike an
     annual report, these documents must be dead honest ... no fluff, no puff, no
     lies. You can learn about long term plans, recent major purchases they made,
     plans for new products or plants, expansion into other countries, and many
     other things. The key document you want is the "10K" report.  It is big but it
     contains great detail so you want to allow plenty of time to review it. 
     All this can be yours for free by going to

7.  Research those you will interview with ... it's fair game!
     Ask the Recruiter who you will be interviewing with. Then use LinkedIn in the
     "stealth mode" to keep them from knowing you checked them out. Go to their
     web site at  At the bottom of the first web page there is a
     place you can enter a person's name. Do it. You can expect a long list of
     people found so look for the appropriate city and other clues. Then read what
     this person is sharing with the world about themselves. You now have an
     advantage in that you know their background, how long they have been with
     the company, prior employers or job positions, Recommendations they have
     and for what ... potentially really good stuff if you think about it.  


      Getting an interview is great!  But now you have to face the problem ... you don't
      interview well at all because you get uptight and a bad case of the jitters. It is
      understandable, this one interview can make or break you in a tight job market so
      no pressure, right?

Here is some guidance for this or other interviews:
  1. Become well prepared with knowledge of the company and as many facts and details as you can remember. This goes to show legitimate interest in the company thus the job. Research shows only about 10% of all interviewee's have visited the company's web site and that is a quick and very convenient place to quickly gather current information.

    Publicly traded companies are often the easiest to research to regulatory matters.  Press Releases are often posted on their web site or you can subscribe to for free and access date from them.  For publicly traded companies they must file information with the Securities Exchange Commission. EDGAR is a free powerful tool from the SEC to extract filings from specified companies. Currently I recommend you use the website's search capability to find EDGAR items to point you to the current location and use information on EDGAR. The 10-K report is very long but contains detailed information. Unlike a Press Statement, companies must report only facts to the Federal Government.  Data first was collected for EDGAR in 1984.

  2. Watch your local news including the Business Section of the news paper. 
    I was asked by one interviewer what I knew about their company and I cited the full sized jet his company just donated for a flying eye hospital to fix eye problems for children in developing and underdeveloped counties. It was a simple thing, the people in the United States let their children see again by treating them and the local people become very positive on the United States. The interviewer was hanging on my every word as they knew nothing about this yet it happened that week.

    Know what challenges the company is facing. Are they doing well? Is a
    group trying to shut them down? Has a foreign country where they build their items using the military to take over the plant? Did they just declare their largest and best quarterly results in history?

  3. Get aligned physically with the interviewer so you face them directly (or as close as possible for multiple interviewers). Position your shoulders so they are parallel to the interviewer's shoulders (or turn when multiple interviewers are involved to become parallel with their shoulders). When have you ever seen a television reporter with bad posture or turned away from you the viewer? It makes for solid eye contact which helps build credibility. Do not stare as this can make the interviewer worry what
    your intentions are. Insure your feet are flat on the floor to provide grounding. Keep your hands in a comfortable position for you! Do not cross your arms or lock one hand into the other with fingers interwoven.

  4. Gesturing adds emphasis when used with key words you say and can make a stronger impression with the interviewer. Waiving your hands wildly makes you look like someone they don't want to be around. Using your voice to add emphasis also can score points if done in a meaningful manner. This helps to show passion which is important. Going overboard shows something negative. Watch speeches of Ronald Regan in how he spoke to the public and the strong impact he left with his viewers.

  5. Many will be caught up with the jitters or even fall victim to telling anxiety lies. The best solution is to enlist someone to conduct a mock interview with you and ask pointed questions. Ideally this is someone who does or has interviewed people before and not just some friend who was available for an hour. The more realistic it can be made the more you will improve. Continue until YOU feel confident and the person helping you detects that you are more relaxed and confident.

    Confidence is good but overconfidence can be a deal killer. It is fine to talk about your accomplishments as statements of fact but keep them focused and short to make the best impression. If they want to hear more they will ask.

  6. ALWAYS bring extra copies of your resume as you may never know how many people will be attending, never stapled. Offer the interviewer a copy before the interview begins as it may help them making you their new best friend!

    This shows professionalism, kindness, respect to everyone and preparation. Mangers may only have a computer scanned copy of your Resume which lacks any formatting including blank lines, bold text and other aspects that make your Resume attractive and very readable!

    BASIC SALES:  Always present the product in the best possible light to get the sale. In an interview the product is YOU and YOUR RESUME! And you never know who has been asked to assess you OUTSIDE of the Interview Room from Security to Reception to the Manager's Secretary.


Link from Career Services at Princeton University.
Offers a 7-Step Interview Prep Plan and includes a Pre-Interview Research
Worksheet (link at their web site) to help you in the interview.

This also has a number of good articles using the left menu for a variety of topics

-  4-Year Career Action Plan
-  Career Development Process
-  Making Connections (Meeting & Networking Techniques)
-  Resumes, Letters & Online Profiles

-  Launch Your Career

Do not forget to CONFIRM your interview details. To insure you have it all, ask
-  about Date and Time (including Time Zone just to be certain)
-  with whom you will be meeting (and if others will be in attendance)
-  what the address is and which building and who is your contact going to be
-  is there any security involved on entering the property and/or building?
-  where should you park your vehicle?
-  will this session require you to provide a demonstration or presentation?
-  normal duration for the interview?

Know Thyself ... know you forwards and backwards as that sometimes is the way interviewers ask questions about you. Volunteerism is growing in America, talk about things you have done to help others. Include any leadership roles you help as this is a "gold star" for you.

Know the Interviewer ... find out who you will be talking to or meeting with and pull them up on LinkedIn. If they are not on LinkedIn, network to find out something about them. What college/university did they attend especially if you attended. Did they study the same field you did?  Did they work placed you work at or in comparable positions or companies. Do they have interests or hobbits in common with you that you can mention? All of these can build a relationship that provide you with an added advantage to get the job. Just don't let it be anything more than a brief conversation and take time away from what it really important!

In the interview, what key points will you be promoting about yourself? You only have so much time. Create your mini-career success stories in advance allowing you to select the discussion to meet their topic and showcase well with your qualifications to fit the company's stated needs. People buy due to need. Are you prepared for the "generic" questions such as "Tell me about yourself", "What are the greatest accomplishments you have", and "Why should we hire you." Where possible use example in your answers to add value and strength to your answer.
Know the company values and include them in some of your answers.

Do you know this company? Some companies will do the "deep dive" into you prior to the interview especially through Social Media. (You did lock down your pages so only YOU can update or approve for posting, right?) So many people get into deep trouble from messages and especially pictures of you or your friends doing something people do not do in public or other places. It may have been funny then but it could be the end of your opportunity.

But have you researched them? Only about 10% of applicants take the time to visit the company's web site. Almost none visit press release web sites to find news released by the company that has left or has yet to make the web site. Showing you know more about the company than the interviewer is impressive and it's not hard to do!

Do a "dry run" to the location on the same day of the interview at about the same time to judge traffic impact and look for potential signs of future road construction that could further increase your travel time. Being late is never good. Make sure your part sounds conversational. Get someone who has interviewed applicants before to give you feedback during a practice session. Remember the STAR or SAR response format they may request. Get this right and you can be a superstar! Get it wrong and you're an also ran. This is important.

Insure you have sufficient good clean unfolded copies of your resume PLUS any supporting material and cover letter(s) submitted for each person planned or possible in the Interview. You can always leave them or take them home but do NOT find yourself even one copy short. This goes to preparation and planning.

Have a copy of the Job Description for your reference just in case.

Conduct mock interviews with people you feel comfortable with and some you don't know well if possible. Using people who are hiring managers makes this even better practice.

ALWAYS have questions for the hiring manager. Do not get into salary, hourly wage, benefits or the like as it is too early for that. Ask about the company's culture, types of projects you may be working on, and other work related items to show interest.

Block out enough time for your travel there, the interview, potential additional time with the hiring manager, and your return trip to avoid overbooking yourself.

Insure you have sufficient rest and are totally refreshed and energized for this important meeting. Exercise for some can remove nervous concerns. Do not add any extra caffeinated or high sugar based beverages prior to the Interview.  

On the day of the interview, allow some extra time to visit a Restroom to insure your clothing still looks good, hair good, do your "super person" pose, etc. before you make your critical first impression. Try to schedule things so you announce yourself no more than 10 MINUTES before the Interview. Many support people will interrupt the manager when you arrive which can irritate the hiring manager. If needed, sit in your car reviewing your materials.

When called in for the Interview, take a deep breath to calm your nerves, offer a good handshake to the hiring manager with a warm smile and clear voice. They are there to learn about you. Your smile, handshake and eye contact plus sitting up straight in the chair can frame the entire interview in a very positive light. Keep to the subject question and do not go long or into side stories your responses. If they are interested, they will ask for more detail. Be positive and shine!

Manage the Interview Process. Consistently promote yourself. Clearly present your personal brand, unique value proposition and concise success stories. Assume you can use 2-3 minutes for your response to keep the interview moving and to avoid any nervous rambling. Understand their question: answering a different question is not good plus details become greater as the interview progresses. If you do not understand something in the question, ask for clarification; you do not want to answer inappropriately for their question.

Asking questions about the company, the position, the Manager and the team will help you understand if this is the place for you and send strong signals to the interview team. Is this a new or additional resource on the team? What are some of the projects you would be engaged on? What is the work environment and opportunity for growth and advancement? Why do you like working here and has anything ever caused you to consider leaving?

Always end the interview asking about the next steps and timelines. This shows interest, helps you gauge their hiring plan, and a point to consider "touching base" with them if things stay silent. Many companies are bad about leaving interviewed candidates in the dark after hiring someone or even having them start work.

What do Do with Your Hands During a Job Interview


Some interviewers are undertrained and can't control themselves. The problem we
face is youth is the symptom, not the cause, of age discrimination. Managers are to hire for open-mindedness, flexibility and being social with others. Some managers associate this exclusively or mostly with youth versus those with experience.
One fear is, being the same age as their parents, can they manage, worse discipline someone the age of their parents? If they can't, they are the problem not you.

Discussing being on leading edge activities can dispel age concerns while lamenting about the "good ol' days" will suggest you are well beyond over the hill. Combat this perception by presenting yourself as a resourceful, and very "coachable" team player. Describe where you adapted or even introduced new technologies to a problem in the recent 5 or so years. Talk about helping younger team members through their challenges. Talk about the wealth of constructive feedback and how you found ways you could perform better and steps you took to achieve more using actual examples. Talk about interest and passion in what you do, why it drives you, what excites you. Reflect that you are open-minded, curious, ready to adapt to new circumstances and sociable enough for the position.

Don't walk into the trap of trying to act 25 when you're 55; it won't be bought. Use your body language tactics and other verbal and nonverbal communications. Good ideas, innovation, the ability to teach and share information, to build skills in team members is not "owned" by any age group or generation. It is something found in good people of all ages. 


This section is very dynamic as the next court case could change anything. Yet there are some questions that you should be on-guard if they arise in an interview.

How old are you?
You can simply state you are over the age of 18 but be careful NOT to make a joke of it as that could draw negative attention to it. You are not required to submit a photo ID which often includes your birth date. If asked, indicate that you are concerned about identity theft and would prefer not to hand it over until it's determined whether you will be joining the team.

What's your nationality?
Nationality, citizenship status, or duration in the United States are questions you do not have to answer. If these question arise, simply state your legal ability to work in the United States. If some of your education was outside the United States, state your legal ability to work in the United States.

Are you married?  Do you have any children?  Are you planning any children?
Interviewers can ask if you used another name professionally or during your education but they can't ask about marital status, children or any plans for children. Sometimes these questions are innocent "ice breakers" in asking about your family. Redirect the question back to the interviewer by saying "It sounds like family is important to you. Are you married?" You maintain the friendly banter without disclosing your personal information.

Do you have any spiritual beliefs?
Your spiritual beliefs, religious affiliations and religious holidays you observe are off limits. See if there is a concern about your ability to work certain days of each week of certain times of day that are required for the roll and keep your spiritual beliefs outside the questioning.

How long would your commute be to this office?
Distance is not relevant.  When you would be able to start each day or would you relocate for the position is fair. If relocation is likely, state you are ready to move in your Resume and discuss any local family support if it exists. This helps reduce the potential "flight risk" you might pose to hiring you.


You receive an e-mail, perhaps a call, informing you when the MegaMassive Corporation has scheduled an interview with you. You learn this will require you have an Internet equipped video device with audio with a certain software package ready for the scheduled time.

Understandably excitement hits you first then potentially followed by some level of panic and apprehension about the setup, work required for a video interview and all that technical stuff.

Welcome to what is being used at some large corporations; the "Vidbot Interview".

Once you connection is established, you will see for some number of seconds, the first question you are to answer. Next your camera will turn on and you are to begin responding to that question. This will be followed by the next displayed text question then your video recorded response until such time that you have completed all required questions and you are allowed to disconnect and hopefully await further information from the company.

The recorded responses raises temptation to repeatedly review a response for what was said, body positioning, facial expressions, hand use, forehead perspiration, and other details not available for "instant replay" in a live interview. Will this bring scrutinizing to disqualify candidates after extensive review of 5 seconds in a question?

Wikipedia defines an interview such that this process fails to meet the definition as reported.

Understandably it is sterile process which is predefined, automated, has no potential for human variations including voice inflections, eyebrow movement, eye movement, pupil changes, physical gestures or the like making a legal challenge rather challenging. It removes their people from the "data collection" and wasted time asking questions or providing insight into the question. Certainly a candidate can communicate as they see appropriate without opportunity for any clarification on the question, proposal of an alternate but similar question or situation, or other possibilities that may arise for the benefit of both parties.
Questions regarding fair balance between external and internal candidates may be questioned.  

Your question to answer is simple: Is this a company you want to work for?

The potential for this process to be modified and/or embraced at other companies seeking to minimize cost and exposure exists but has not been seen as being quickly or widely embraced. The question is, will it?  


Screening interviews are normally conducted by a member of the Human Resources Department to get additional insight into your background and confirm you have the requirements they need and can be a good candidate for the position. This is typically a call no longer than 30 minutes.

Often when they call, they want to start right then and not set a date and time.
When this call comes, if you are not in a quiet place with information readily available to you, ask if they could call you back at a time when you can be ready.

Doing an interview while driving, at a sports event, in a shopping mall, you are in a meeting or have guests over, etc., this is a bad situation what will hurt your performance. Let them know why you need to reschedule without going into great detail ... they should understand.

You do not want your answers to be misunderstood due to noise or be under pressure from your surroundings or not catch some important information such as when your interview will be.

Related articles for perspectives:
Story from reprinted in Wall Street Journal


Telephone interviews offer do not require worries about attire, travel, parking and other challenges involved. But there are some things to consider for these calls:

On a telephone call, no one can see you or what you are doing. So leverage that!
     1.  Plan to stand up. This allows better air flow within your body making your
          voice sound better.

     2.  Have your material around you at eye level. This allows you to quickly look
          at documents they may be asking questions about and it gives you an equal
          playing field.
            a)  Anything you sent to them, have around you
            b)  Any talking points you wrote up, have that around you
            c)  Have a copy of the Job Description

     3.  If you have a condition that does not allow you to stand for the 30 minutes
          or so for the telephone call, sit up tall for the air flow.

Last thing you need is to have a planned call when your schedule is crammed with
other activities.  You want this to be a relaxed calm environment. Budget time to review material in advance, to have the call in a controlled comfortable quiet setting. This helps signal you are serious about the interview.

If this is strictly a telephone interview, consider the risk of being distracted by a PC or tablet before you and rushing to look things up during the call. Have all your information positioned around you during the call and do some homework to insure you have an understanding of all acronyms in the job description to avoid any confusion and printed laying before you.

Talking points are always important for maximum impact  List key activities you have had that align to their needs. A list of prior roles may help build confidence in your abilities. You should already have information on the company and ideally you have researched the interviewer using social media. Knowing their background and personality can create opportunities to build relationships or help you know whether you can converse with them on technical points without leaving them feel bad about themselves and their skills.


Always confirm the address, building, room, contact names and telephone numbers prior to the Interview Date.

Drive to the location at the time you would leave for the interview. You are looking for signs of construction that may delay you, clear traffic congestion that will delay you, road signs that are confusing, conflicts on where to enter the property, if there is a security guard who may delay your entry pending conformation, areas subject to flooding should it rain, etc. Being aware of these potential delays helps you look better for not being late. It is easier to ask forgiveness for being slightly early than beg forgiveness for being late and reducing your own interview time.

Reaffirm the meeting the morning before the interview just in case stuff happened.

Listen to the traffic report for potentials of major traffic impacts or last minute road closures along your route.


Bring several additional copies of your Resume, unfolded. You may find there are additional participants for your Interview. You may find some lack a copy of your Resume. You may find the only have a "Candidate Tracking System" copy of your Resume which is challenging at best to read. You can offer them a crisp, clean, organized and attractive copy ... making your well remembered for planning.

If you have a "Brag Book" or other material to support your candidacy, bring one but never leave it. Offer to come back and provide them a copy. DO NOT e-mail it.
You want to additional face time with the hiring manager for a potential conversation and follow-up discussion. Even if you have thirty copies in your car, setup an an appointment to bring a copy to them

Language: do not curse no matter what.  Enough said?

Know when to stop talking. You're not there to tell your life story or complete details on sharpening pencils. Respond to the question as asked, then stop.  If they need or want additional information they will ask. IF you are in doubt, you may also ask for confirmation whether the question was fully answered for them or if they would like additional details in given area.

Never speak negatively about a previous company, manager or co-worker. IF YOU MUST it should be part of a question involving your "worst" and how you turned the situation around to a positive. No employer will hire someone who one day will spill the dirt on them.

Dress Business not Business Casual. You always want to over dress for interviews to show respect and professionalism but do not dress Formal. A suit or blazer is good to meet professional dress codes. On a very tight budget? Check out clothing at Goodwill stores. Your personality can compliment any wardrobe issue especially if you are a pending or recent graduate. If you wear any accessory, make it a special one that can draw a question for you to discuss a fun story behind it. Piercings, tattoos, odd colored hair or styling are generally not appropriate. Every impression matters in the interview process.
See the subtab for Attire.

A very strong "memory trigger" is music. Avoid playing any music even with headphones/earbuds as it is not seen as professional and can be heard.
It also raises the question how long you could go without music. You also do not want them to hear music they really hate or music that is tied to that horrible person they just divorced and the ugly 3 year battle that was or music loved by a deceased family member clouding their minds either way in your interview.

Another strong "memory trigger" is scent. Avoid the use of any aftershave, perfume, cigarette or cigar smoke, alcoholic beverages, or others items detectable by the nose. DO NOT SMOKE before your interview! You run the risk of triggering a memory that was unpleasant or very disturbing to them and thus more likely costing you from an unbiased interview. The scent or act of chewing gum will destroy your professional credibility. Memories cannot easily be removed once triggered from an interview so don't bring a trigger in with you.


Assume you will be under surveillance once you turn into the company parking lot. Security is a big thing for the total property, inside and out. Be and act as a true
An article in (06/22/2016) indicated one major company uses a behavioral psychologist evaluating candidates while acting as the Receptionist. Their advice: Don't pick up any magazines.

From the first to the past person you encounter, be courteous to all as some of the people you will encounter or be seen by may be providing feedback on you. Show you are happy to be there. Consider using the restroom to insure your clothing is as it should be, your hair is as wanted, and there are no problems of things where they shouldn't be or things attacked that should not be. Use some of this time to relax from your travels and review notes for the interview.

Announcing you have arrived too early can cost you points. Let people know you arrived about 5 minutes before the interview. Earlier than that and you may be interrupting something. Later than that and you reduce YOUR INTERVIEW TIME.

Insure you park where directed to. The ability to follow directions can be VERY important. It can cost you evaluation points parking in the wrong place, get your car towed, potentially sprayed by accident, or picked up by a giant forklift and place on a large bundle of wood prevent you from driving off ... and it does happen.

Big Data tools and analytics are being used to determine if a potential candidate is qualified for a position per the above article. Accessing HackerRack to evaluate code of programmers is a potential based on number of others joining as a sign of confidence in the individual. goes further with the potential of an employer contacting your contacts including former bosses and clients to assess your fit and verify your online profile. Looking for continuity is another point cited, such as saying you want Fortune 500 employers yet you applied to a Tech Startup on Twitter or posted a profile on AngelList.

Observe and assess those waiting as they may be candidates. Notice and assess the person coming out of the interview.

This may raise question on whether an employer engages in such actions is a company above other questionable actions. It is legal for an employer to tap an employee's telephone as the telephone and network access are paid for by the company. The same for monitoring e-mail, monitoring time arriving and leaving, etc. In the end the call is "owned" by the potential new employee.

There are also questions about the article about a company paying for a psychologist to sit as a Receptionist. Whether some of this activity may actually violate credit laws as it was once perceived by legal scholars. is a good company but may have fallen victim to a questionable submitted story.  

Click to enlarge image


You hire because you have a problem. Therefore you must hire a problem solver.
People who can't discuss in depth their problem solving success may not work.

  1. Problem solvers have a natural desire and inquisitiveness to expand their
    skill sets and knowledge and do so on their own initiative - no one had to
    tell them to go learn. If there is no sign of self-directed learning activities
    this person may not be a problem solver.
    -  Last time they took a class or learning something new
    -  What hobbies do they have or attend events on weekends or evening events

  2. Problem solvers see all knowledge as useful at some point. Their brains and
    small areas are stuffed with information waiting to be called upon.
    -  Is this person a natural researcher and avid user of Google
    -  Is this person defer all questions with "I don't know" vs. "Let me check"

  3. Problem solvers see a problem coming from the present situation.
    -  Does the person provide a clear example of prior trouble shooting
    -  Does this person sense something but that was the end of it

  4. Problem solvers can quickly revamp a plan to resolve what is not working.
    -  Do they have examples of creative solutions quickly
    -  Do they fear not being right or blame mistakes on others

  5. Problem solvers are good listeners that can add insight/ideas to conversations
    versus being a distraction or non-participant.
    -  Do they interrupt you during the interview
    -  Do they talk over you or forget details on information shared

  6. Problem solvers have a very strong work ethic; working hard, smart and
    show great time management.  Never late especially when others depend on
    them to be on time.
    -  Do you work after hours and under what circumstances?
    -  Are the committed to a full 8 hour work day, more or less.

  7. Problem solvers possess emotional intelligence exhibited by a sense of
    humor, positive attitude, empathy and compassion for others. They know
    to leave dark emotions out of the office and when to be a team or work on
    their own.
    -  How do you stimulate resolution to problems within a workgroup?
    -  Do you share the problems you see at work with others outside the

  8. Problem solvers are proactive when indications of a problem arise or are
    discussed by other teams ... it's in their DNA.
    -  What steps to you take when there is the indication of a potential problem?
    -  When a problem is identified, how should it be handled?


You may have everything they require and want on your Resume, but that does not mean the job is yours. Applicants have been distilled to a small select number of Candidates and the competition will be fierce. Do your research in advance of any calls or interviews. Provide detailed answers to questions. Stay engaged with the interviewer even if they are a bad one. Assumptions on your strengths as a Candidate can create a wrong impression to the company.  

It's amazing how many FEAR this question or spend the entire hour going back to their birth. The question they REALLY want answered is whether you can communicate in a concise series of sentences what your qualifications for this job are. Aunt Gertrude and Uncle Fritz are not part of your discussion. Brevity is a good plan for this question. Should the want more detail, they will ask.

It is good if you can align yourself with the position at hand but they are more concerned about your ability to communicate with clarity, confidence, enthusiasm and passion without making errors about YOUR story. So what errors could I make about my own story? Let's start with pausing, delaying, stalling or fumbling around to get started suggesting you don't have a good answer. This creates concerns about your lack of self-awareness, self-esteem and even basic communications skills.

        1.  Minimize your words by starting with a summary.
             This will take take most interviewers by surprise and shows your ability to
             quickly be 
concise, creative and compelling them to listen more.

        2.  Do you have a motto or favored quotation you life by?
             This shows deep thinking and career planning and the ability to
yourself and a means to stay focused.

        3.  Do you have a personal philosophy?
             This shows you have done some thinking on how your life and/or
should be driven. You are a thinker and are focused.

        4.  What would others say about you who know you best?
             Provides insight that you are self-aware.

        5.  Google yourself for insight.
             Unexpected and potentially memorable but don't sound immature, lazy, 
             or someone who really doesn't know who or what they are.

        6.  Your Passions related to the position.
             Our passions get us excited and it shows quickly. Employers love
             employees with work related passions - just don't try to fake it!

        7.  Early career focus.
             Discuss a part of your life where you began preparing for the work you are
             in today and/or applying for.

        8.  Title of a Play, Movie, Show, Musical
             What would a producer use for a title for life? Gets attention.

        9.  Show and Tell.
             Have something with you that you can demonstrated your passions with.
             Beware of trips like no WIFI, blocked or slow connections. Low tech may
             be the highest impact as it's more reliable and potentially easiest to see.

       10. Compliments I receive.
             Shows you are self-aware and open to feedback from others and the
             potential to grow and improve. Also a nice self-serving testimonial.


Most interviewers have never had formal training on how to interview or interest in being part of the interview. Here are some signs this is true:
  1.  Abandoned in the some Room
     Everyone gets busy and sometimes "things slip off the plate" or are delayed.
     A question you must ask yourself is: If this person is that overloaded or they
     treat people they are hoping to impress in this manner, do I really want to
     work here?  How will the interviewer excuse their actions abandoning you if
     it is 15 or more minutes are now lost out of your interview?

  2.  Unprepared Interviewer
     One would think since these are normally scheduled well in advance that the
     interviewer would be prepared for this meeting like any other meeting, right?
     If an interviewer wants you to "walk through" your resume for them and THEY
     have no questions this is a significant reason for concern, especially since
     you most likely would be reporting to this individual. BIG RED FLAG.

  3.  No Understanding of the Job
     Some interviewers may be a substitute due to illness, sudden emergency at
     home, many possibilities. HR normally looks for fit, skills and knowledge to
     meet the job needs. Without looking at the candidate from all perspectives
     you may be setting up a bad hire.

  4.  Limited Time, Can't Answer Questions
     You are entitled to answers to your legitimate questions. If they are unwilling
     to invest the time with you, consider that the end of the interview and shame
     on them.

  5.  Never Saw Their Face
     Did the interviewer ever look up from their sheets to look you in the eye?
     Are the requestions really "low class" that can be found in hundreds of lists
     of interview questions that fill time but not insight into a candidate? And if
     they won't look at you, why was this not done via telephone? Consider this
     a place that you drop off your list of targeted companies.

  6.  Down Talkin' Ya'
     Interviewers you treat you like a second class citizen or worse should not be
     considered for the role of your next manager. Companies need great talent
     Such treatment of applicants should prompt the company to interview for
     the new manager. This suggests company management is not doing their

  7.  Candidate Surplus
     An Interviewer has no business talking about competition for the position or
     efforts to pressure you into something you will regret. Anyone who pulls a
     power play in an interview will do it to you in other areas if hired. Get away
     from these "individuals" to someone who understands good employee

  8.  Old Style Interviewing - Older Style Interviewer
     Some questions cited by researchers in this topic include:
     -  "Why should we consider you for this job when we have many other
          talented candidates to select from?"
           *  This is very unusual for a good company to ask which does not
              reflect well upon the manager or the company.
         -  "If you were a fish/a fruit/a bottle of water/a bar of soap/whatever ...
              what would you be and why would you be that?"
               *  This can be a good test for candidates to see how well they can "think
                   on their feet" by responding with something then defending their
                   response. Questions involving fast decision and defense are often
                   found for interviews of airline pilots due to their need to quickly assess
                   a problem then expeditiously implement the correct solution to save
                   lives. For the rest of us, being a natural springs water bottle from
                   any state or country doesn't really change or save the universe.

    9.  No insight into their decision plan, schedule or timeline.
         The interviewer should offer this but often do not. The candidate should ask
         this question if not discussed. Items often or sometimes involved include:
           a)  where is the company in terms of the current cycle of interviews

           b)  what is the planned completion date for this cycle

           c)  when will you move forward with the selected choice or people?

           d)  is a second round planned and when is that projected to start/end?

           e)  when do you need to have the selected person on-board by?

           f)  when do you need to have contacted the selected person by?

         Some dates may be "soft" dates but companies do not often hire out of
         desire but out of need thus at least their completion dates should be firm
         and well known.


  1. Communicate why you want the position
    Do you have a friend or other connection inside the company that encouraged you? Not making a memorable impression can hurt your candidacy. Give them a reason why you want it, whether it is a contact, is very much with your passions and interests, other compelling reasons besides you need some cash flow.

  2. Tell your Story
    Be honest with your hopes and aspirations. This builds some trust and can gain you an edge for legitimate reasons.  Remember keeping responses short is good and avoids over-sharing. If they want more they will ask for more.||

  3. Forget Negotiations for Now
    So many unprepared people want to jump into negotiations too early. This begins when they make an offer and it's below what you need or know they offer. Review their policies and benefits as these are incremental value and are often tax free. Understand some pitfalls like paying expenses for professional training, licenses or certification as these can require considerable time, effort, and up front cash. And remember, you will need help here. These people negotiate every week ... and how often do you do this type of specific negotiation?

  4. Be Decisive
    Decide what you want to do and do it. Not doing so wastes time on your job search, raises questions about your sincerity and abilities to do a good job. Trust a job that fits your personality, qualifications and skills. Remember if you talk to HR, they are by intent not your friend. They represent the Legal Department of the Company not your family. Do your homework and get input before you accept a position. 

  5. Touch on Soft Skills (Emotional Intelligence)
    Companies are rediscovering the need for soft skills, or interpersonal skills. 
    Skills are essential in the "toolbox" of any leader or manager. These are sometimes referred to as a person's "EQ" (emotional intelligence quotient) which is a cluster of personality traits that characterize one's relationships with other people. These skills can include social graces, communications abilities, language skills, personal habits, cognitive or emotional empathy and leadership traits. Soft skills are not easily measured but can be identified in part during an interview. Emotional intelligence is about empathy and connection.  Keep any anger or sadness out of the interview.

    A person's EQ is an important part of their individual contribution to the success of an organization. Nearly all companies have face-to-face encounters within the company at different levels and between the company and their customers. A list of some of these skills include:
    -  basic interpersonal communicative skills
    -  critical thinking
    -  emotional literacy
    -  empathy
    -  life skills and life skills-based education
    -  people skills
    -  social intelligence
    -  social skills
    -  theory of multiple intelligences
    -  21st century skills
    -  vocational skills
    The above can be found at, our prefered resource.


This is an opportunity to do many different things so pick for the time you have:
1.  About the Manager and his Employer
     a)  What have you enjoyed about the company and work during your tenure

          This helps relax any tension that may have come from the interview and
          goes to the Interviewer on a personal level on their insights on the company.
          This is a more general question than the alternative question below as it
          allows the Interview more room to talk which can be good for your benefit.
          But as with the second question listen for the honest and spontaneous
          response versus a "rehearsed reaction on auto-play".

     b)  What do you enjoy most about working here?
          This helps relax any tension that may have come from the interview and
          goes to the Interviewer on a personal level on their insights into the
          company. This could include perks or professional growth affording your
          insight into HOW the company works. Listen for the honest and
          spontaneous response versus a "rehearsed reaction on auto-play".        

2.  Let me mention some related skills I have that were not seen as required.
      This allows you to showcase additional value to the company if you do it right,
      or show values that may be of marginal to no value. Doing your research in
      advance to understand their situation and problems needing resolution to
      present relevant skills and experience they may assume you would have or
      they may have forgotten about as being important. Either way, showing value
      add is an important sales tactic. 

  3.  What is the timeline for decisions on any candidate pool reduction and a
determination of the selected candidate?
        Not asking suggests lack of interest or not a high quality candidate. Show you
       are interested using this signal. Plus you obtain insight whether they are want
       to move quickly or are interviewing but cannot hire anyone just yet adding a
       delay to their decision and your potential employment.

  4.  What areas of my skills and experiences do you see as not being to the level
       you may be wanting or needing?
        Here is your chance to provide anything they may have missed or not
        understood or to reinforce the quality and levels of what you can provide and
        examples of what you did in these areas. This question can save your job!

  5.  Is there any material I may have or review to gain more insight into this
       interesting opportunity?
        An opportunity to fill in any gaps they may see in your skills or experience. If
       you have a "Brag Book" with you pull it out and show them. If not offer to
       bring it to them. You WANT the additional time before them to build the
       relationship and address any questions or interest they have. This also reflects
       the interest in you.

  6.  What is your management style in helping team members to grow in skills
        This should give you insight into how good this person is as a manager and if
       their style is compatible with you. A mismatch in style is never good. If they
       pause trying to provide an answer, they have not managed people very long. 

  7.  How are high achievers recognized within the company?
        Suggests you are a high or over-achiever which is attractive to a manager.
        Such formal recognition helps drive better raises and promotions quicker.
        Avoid the trap of asking what you would have to do.

  8.  What you you share with me about the team I would be working with?
       This is very powerful if you sense sincere interest in you, it shows you interest
       and plays to the manager's ego. This is the person you may be working for so
       pay close attention for details about the job. What skills do they bring out and
       other attributes you shown to be important by the manager.

  9.  What will be the greatest challenge for me if I am offered this position?
       This is power as it also shows sincere interest in you being there and gets the
       hiring manager thinking about you being on their team. It offers greater vision
       into the position and may reveal problems you could face. Be aware of your
       non-verbal communication during this question to avoid shown concern over
       the challenges as it could disqualify you as their candidate.

10.  T
wo of the top reasons people leave a company is the management and the
        culture.  Your question could be:
       a)  In the Interview, ask about how they manage people, their expectations
            and their way of handling matters that may arise.

       b)  For culture, look at the company website and social media resources
            for insight. Is everyone in three-piece corporate suites, is it business
or casual attire? Is their Friday relaxed? Check for comments posted
employees at which also may include salary ranges
by employees for given job titles.

       c)  Is this a place that mandates clean desktops or allows apparent messy
           ones?  I
s there the sign of strict structure or is innovation and creative
           encouraged? Are long hours involved or is family-oriented values and
           policies promoted?
Are single parents with kids expected to work long
           hours to achieve a big 
goal? Many of these will require getting honest
           contacts within the company to provide accurate insight. Employers are
           looking at lengths of employment 
as a potential indicator of future trouble.
           Know what you are signing up for.

 11.  While not normal during an interview, prepare yourself if the offer does not
        come or the offer is 
very low. An immediate offer may suggest they are in a
        bad crunch to get somebody now, you walk on water, or prior candidates have
        declined their offer.

        You can negotiate but only within a few percentage points. Do not burn

        bridges as word travels fast. If one company wanted you there will others out
        there but more interested in keeping talent.

 12.  Near the end, express your interest in what the job involves and your desire to
        be offered the position. Then ask if there is any area they may be concerned
        with in your ability to be a strong performer for them in this role?

1.  Did you get a business card from everyone in the room?
     You will need that information to send "Thank you" cards, follow-ups, forward
     any additional information they may request, etc.

     Did everyone get one of your business cards?

2.  Did you give each person a warm handshake and a great smile while thanking
     them and hoping to hear from them soon as you are more interested in the
     exciting opportunity now.

3.  Any opportunity to bring your "Brag Book" later to the key decision maker to
     visually see the value you brought to past employers? NOTE: Take one with you
     to the Interview, but if they ask for a copy, indicate that is your only copy BUT
     you could create a copy to provide one to them. This gets you in front of them
     again which normally increases your chances for success.

4.  Do you have Thank you cards in your car along with a good writing surface and
     a dictionary to insure no spelling errors. Leaving the card in the Lobby or with
     a Receptionist is normally the quickest delivery route.  nternal mail within a
     company is now to take up to 6 working days plus the 2-3 days for the US
     Postal Service.  edEx is faster but at a much higher cost.

5.  In your Thank you note, drive home an important point that differentiates you
     from the others or an important point you forgot to mention.  lways drive the
     value to a customer who wants to buy something which could be you!


Some publications advocate a thank-you e-mail within 48 hours after the interview. Why delay using the fastest method currently available and look no better than the competition?

   1.  Bring Thank You cards with envelopes and a Dictionary with you.  Write
        your note(s) on paper or on your laptop/tablet and after some crafting to
        insure the note is not over loaded with your message, do the Spell Check!
        Then the smart part.  ards are memorable, e-mails are common place.
        Consider adding anything you did not discuss that is high value for them.
        If they had interest in your "Brag Book" reaffirm you will work to duplicate it
        and bring them a copy.  ou WANT the extra "face time" to build your special
        relationship with the manager that your competitors will not have and further
        your sales pitch to secure and show you're going an extra mile for the job.

        A card offers limited space to help you make your message high impact.
        Save e-mails for discussions and more detailed matters. It works better.

Take the Thank You card(s) back into the office and see if the Receptionist
        can leave them for Internal Company Mail.  f the office is not massive they
        should arrive no worse than 2 days.  inimal risk as the cards stay within the

   3.  Set an appointment to deliver your "Brag Book" or other materials they had
interest in.  o NOT just drop it off as you want the "face time" with the
        manager and maybe some of the other decision makers.  f others are there
        to look at it, that is a very positive sign for you!

        Before you leave, ask what the timeline is looking like for a decision. People
        can have timelines changed in short notice, especially when the found THE
        right person.

   4.  Never stop your Job Search until a few weeks after you start work.
what looks good during a courtship suddenly turns ugly. Keep
        your ability to 
resume your search quickly just in case. If you have a Recruiter
        involved, ask many
 questions but understand THEY work for the EMPLOYER
        and NOT 
you. They take a loss should you bail on them or turn the offer

   5.  As the expected timeline comes to an end, check with your Recruiter first if
        you have one, any HR contact you were given next, then the hiring manager.
        The manager has many things going on and may be the most difficult to get.
        Human Resources is busy but they may have seen your paperwork moving
        through the process to bring you on-board. If this fails, leave a voicemail for
        the hiring manager.


Always do a self-assessment from the interview:
 1)  What were your feeling going into the interview:
      Were you comfortable and confident and if not, why not and can you fix this?

 2)  Were you uncomfortable in the interview, and if so, for what reasons?
      If so, is this something more practice or support will/could help resolve?

 3)  Was this interview more demanding, easier or harder than your last one?

 4)  How can you make the next interview stronger and more productive?

An interview that does not go well does not mean the interviewer saw it that way.
Depending on their experience they may have recognized your normal "jitters" and disregarded them in your assessment. Everyone has sat in that chair before for the first time. 

Some companies list all jobs on a web site. By checking this site you may be able to determine if they are revising applicants for interview when the job posting is
removed or submitting to it has been suspended or blocked.

Some employers will allow you to see the positions you applied for. Some will tell if another candidate was selected. If the listing is still there, you are potentially still in the running. Beware many things can happen in the background process or selection and positions being offered.

Using their web site versus bugging people for information they may not have or
can not disclose does not make you popular for the next round of hiring.
companies will simply "Black List" you from further consideration but will allow you
to submit to positions. Request made to the employer if you were blacklisted will
generally go unresponded to.


This is a common question heard. My Resume was perfect. I was applauded at
the end of the Interview. They wished me well as they walked me out the door.
Why am I not hearing anything?

Accept the possibility your Resume may have been marginally sufficient to get you into the Interview Room but your performance stunk. You waste their time, they are paying it back. This doesn't happen often but it can happen.

There are other potentials for what's going on behind the closed doors that can impact your offer from being delivered:

The position has been put on hold or being delayed. Causes are many
  pending reorganization which could change staffing needs or skills
pending downsizing or sale of the business unit this is for
  other business units are not ready for this resource yet
-  costs are under scrutiny causing a delay
-  salary brackets are being reviewed

       2.  S
omebody's family member, distant relative or college roommate was 
            tagged for the position.

       3.  An internal candidate was hired often for a promotion.

The position was used for an internal candidate promotion, external
            candidates may not have been actively considered

The position was defined resulting on no external candidates were seen
            as acceptable
, usually due to industry specific skill set they now need.

From the interviewing a new skill was needed for this role but never was
            part of the job description. You didn't have the new skill.

       7.  T
he position was merged with an existing position.

A contractor was retained and the potential of making this a full-time
position will be assessed next year.

The position's perceived need no longer exists.

Make up your own reason as there are so many potentials to consider.

The thing to remember is, with all the "unanswered possibilities" you can speculate yourself into a state of inaction during a career transition. Do not consider your performance or materials submitted as components of your not being hired.

Every interview you get builds your confidence and ability to perform. Some advocate you apply for a job you don't want at a company you don't care about
just to get interviewing experience. Others simply seek out people who have interviewed people and ask their involvement for a practice interview. So what if they use an actual position to interview you for that you know nothing about? It adds some stress and helps you learn additional skills in a tough interview.