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How to Interview Effectively

How to Interview Effectively

Author: Laurie Knafo/Thursday, September 25, 2014/Categories: SNI Companies, SNI Financial, For Employers, SNI Certes, For Employers, SNI Technology, Accounting Now, Staffing Now

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Stop right there! If you want a successful interview, start by thinking about what to do before the interview. Preparing for your interview is probably the most important step in ensuring you will have an effective interview.

You’ve been invited to come in for a fact-to-face interview. Here are some steps you need to take before you enter their office:

  • Write down the date, time, interview location, and who you will be meeting.
  • Know the title of the person(s) with whom you will be meeting.
  • Print out a map and review directions to the interview location.
    - Take a test drive so you know how much time you’ll need to arrive at the office and get in the door. Be sure to allow enough time to arrive a few minutes early for your scheduled interview.
  • Review the job description and identify the qualities you think are required for the job. Write down situations where you demonstrated these skills.
  • Research the company! Head into the interview with at least general knowledge of the company and what they do! This is important!
    - Check Google, the company website, LinkedIn, and ask other friends or colleagues.

Prepare a list of questions to ask, such as:

  • What are the expectations of this role and what type of metrics am I expected to meet?
  • Why is the position available?
  • How would you describe your company culture?
  • What are the challenges of this position?
  • What training programs or incentive schemes are available?
  • What are the promotional opportunities?
  • Ask about company growth plans - new products/services, etc…
  • What is the staff turnover?

Create a list of 3-5 scenarios/situations you can manipulate to fit some of the most common behavioral questions often asked in an interview.

A large part of any interview is about getting to know you; your personality and whether you’ll fit in with their team. It is important to be open and honest about yourself; you want to work with people you enjoy as well!

Leverage your network. Maybe someone in your network is connected to this company. Referencing a shared connection can sometimes be the key to breaking the ice during an initial conversation.

The interviewer is going to make judgments based on how you look, present yourself, and what you are wearing. A job interview is not the time to try an edgy new outfit. Professional, businesslike, conservative dress is best for an interview.

During your interview:

  • Greet the interviewer by name and shake hands firmly. Don't greet your potential employer with a weak handshake or with a hand-crushing squeeze.
  • Have extra copies of your resume and references.
  • Listen carefully to all questions and answer them succinctly and honestly. Give examples of previous experience relating to the questions.
  • Look the interviewer in the eye while you are talking and as you listen.
  • Your body language often says more than your words. Be aware of what your body language is saying about you. Is it conveying that you are interested, eager, and ready for the job?
  • Explain why you are a good fit. You’re personable, reliable, customer service-oriented, etc. You’ll know attributes to highlight because you came to the interview prepared!
  • Never speak negatively of past employers.
  • Close the interview by asking for the job: Express your interest, recap a key point from the interview, and ask when you might hear back regarding a placement decision.
  • Thank them in person for taking the time to meet with you!

Be sure to follow the interview with a written thank you note to those who took their time to interview you for the job.

I guarantee that the time you spend preparing for your interview will be time well spent!


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Laurie Knafo
Laurie Knafo

Laurie Knafo

Laurie Knafo is Regional Vice President for SNI. Her 30+ years in the recruiting business enable her to bring insightful counsel to companies and candidates looking to make the most out of their staffing relationships.

Other posts by Laurie Knafo
Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Laurie Knafo is Regional Vice President for SNI. Her 30+ years in the recruiting business enable her to bring insightful counsel to companies and candidates looking to make the most out of their staffing relationships.


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