AQS Recruiters


An Executive Search Firm . . . filling your needs
137 Tropical Lane, Corpus Christi, Texas 78408
phone: 361-882-3380   cel: 361-779-4811

General Interviewing Tips

In any competition, from a spelling bee, to the sports arena, to a battlefield, the contest is largely won long before the engagement begins - in the research, preparation, training, and review, so that every contingency can be adequately covered.   And your preparation for each interview is similar.   You never know exactly what will happen, but by being ready, you can eliminate a lot of the uncertainty, and know how to react to different scenarios.

Successful interviews require careful preparation and that is the purpose of this review, to assist you in presenting yourself and your skills to your best advantage.   Although you may have heard many of these recommendations before, consider the information carefully with the understanding that these proven techniques are presented to ensure your success.

Please be prepared to implement these suggestions.

First we are going to cover general pre interview preparation and interviewing skills that are applicable to all interviews.   Information specific to a telephone interview, a on site interview, and the questions you should be ready to ask or answer are covered in more depth on seperate pages you will find by clicking the links.

Pre Interview Preparation

  • Company Website - Make another review of the company s web site, making notes of information that would be relevant to your prospective position.
  • Other Resources - Make use of any other sources of information available such as network contacts, industry resources, your recruiter s knowledge, etc.
  • Questions - Read over your resume to be sure you are familiar with the information there.  Review the references to commonly asked questions, think about your responses that will best convey your knowledge, experience, and personality.
  • More Questions - Begin your list of questions, remember some of these questions will be to gain information while others will be asked for effect.   The interviewer does not know the extent of your investigation, the time and effort you have spent to learn about them.  Ask questions regarding some technical aspect of a process or procedure that will powerfully demonstrate the extent of your knowledge.
  • Contact References - Contact the people you would like to use as references.   Make sure they are willing to give you a good reference and that you have current contact numbers for them.
  • Never lie.   Never exaggerate. - Whenever you tell the truth, you don't have to remember what you said.   lying on a resume is becoming one of the most common ways that people stretch the truth.   This game of employment Russian Resume Roulette is getting riskier and riskier because more human resources professionals are more aware and watching.   Almost 40% of human resources professionals surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management reported they've increased the amount of time they spend checking references over the past three years.
  • Do not try to use impressive words.   The more natural your conversation is, the more readily you will be understood and the more impact it will have on people.   If your message is lost, it does not matter what you say.

DO NOT under any circumstances ask any questions regarding salary or benefits.   On some occasions interviewers have asked about current salary and expectations.   Be honest about your current compensation (my base is__, my bonus is __, my next raise is expected__).   In reference to you expectations your answer should be 'I expect to consider your best offer based on my education and experience, but right now tell me about ' and change the subject!   We WILL drill this point over and OVER

This is VERY, VERY important.   Many candidates do not realize the danger of focusing on dollars at this point.   The purpose of the interview process is to determine whether the opportunity is the right one for you at this point in your career.   Think of it as 'enlightened self-interest' or taking the John F. Kennedy approach to interviewing: 'Ask not what this company can do for you, ask what you can do for this company.'   This way, you can present yourself as a loyal, hard-working, virtuous, and dedicated candidate, rather than as an opportunistic job-hopper who d prefer to live off the fat of the land  

AQS can help resolve salary and benefit concerns.   It is part of our function and AQS has found over the years that our client companies treat candidates very professionally.   They find the candidate they are looking for and then negotiate the rest.   After the offer is made we will be able to evaluate all aspects of the full compensation package.   So, if the question regarding your expectation is posed change the subject.

DO NOT say any thing negative about your current or past employers.   Remain focused on the positive reasons for change and the goals you are striving for.

Fundamentals of a Successful Interview

To a large degree, the success of your interview will depend on your ability to discover needs and empathize with the interviewer.

One very effective way you can do this is by utilizing active listening techniques asking questions that verify your understanding of what the interviewer has just told you, without editorializing, or expressing an opinion.   By establishing empathy in this manner, you ll be in a better position to freely exchange ideas, and demonstrate your suitability for the job.

In addition to establishing empathy, there are four intangible fundamentals to a successful interview.   These intangibles will influence the way your personality is perceived, and will affect the degree of rapport, or personal chemistry you ll share with the employer.
  1. Enthusiasm --- Leave no doubt as to your level of interest in the job.   You may think it s unnecessary to do this, but employers often choose the more enthusiastic candidate in the case of a two-way tie.   Besides, it s best to keep your options open -- wouldn t you rather be in a position to turn down an offer, than have a prospective job evaporate from your grasp by giving a lethargic interview?
  2. Technical Interest --- Employers look for people who love what they do; people who get excited by the prospect of tearing into the nitty-gritty of the job.
  3. Confidence --- No one likes a braggart, but the candidate who s sure of his or her abilities will almost certainly be more favorably received.
  4. Intensity --- The last thing you want to do is come across as "flat" in your interview.  There s nothing inherently wrong with being a laid-back person; but sleepwalkers rarely get hired.

Both for your sake and the employer s, try not to leave an interview without exchanging fundamental information.   The more you know about each other, the more potential you ll have for establishing rapport, and making an informed decision.

The Short and Long of It

Many of the interview questions will be presented in an open-ended format.   There are two ways to answer: the short version and the long version.   We always suggest to candidates that they say, 'Let me give you the short version.   If we need to explore some aspect of my answer more fully, I d be happy to go into greater depth, and give you the long version.'

The reason you should respond this way is because it s often difficult to know what type of answer each question will need.   A question like, 'What was your most difficult assignment?' might take anywhere from thirty seconds to thirty minutes to answer, depending on the detail you choose to give.

For request such as Tell be about yourself have a short 30 second synopsis (short version), or ask Where would you like me to start?   This will allow the interviewer to give you some guidance on the key areas (s)he is interested in.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to always remember that the interviewer is the one who asked the question.   So you should tailor your answer to what (s)he needs to know, without a lot of extraneous rambling or superfluous explanation.   Why waste time and create a negative impression by giving a sermon when a short prayer would do just fine?

Other Points to remember:
  • Maintain a positive attitude at all times.   An unexpected event, delay, or unusual circumstance might be an excellent opportunity to show the way you operate under pressure, resolve difficulties, and are able to implement creative, workable solutions.
  • Remember you are interviewing at all times, even at dinner, an evening party, or tour.
  • We are judged by the quality of the questions we pose, they show you possess the knowledge, interest, and expertise to ask them.
  • Keep in mind that although interviewing styles may vary, few interviewers can resist a candidate who is obviously excited by the opportunity presented - so, approach the whole process with a positive, enthusiastic, and confident attitude.
  • Remember that even if it were possible to anticipate every interview question, memorizing dozens of answers would be impractical, to say the least.   The best policy is to review your background, your priorities, and your reasons for considering a new position and to handle the interview as honestly as you can.   If you don't know the answer to a question, just say so, or ask for a moment to think about your response.