When interviewing for a new position it is helpful to have the following two objectives in mind; first, sell yourself, and while doing so, find out if both the company AND the role are a good match to your criteria.
Secondly, if you are interested at the end of the meeting it is time to determine the interviewer's feedback by saying "I am interested, what are your thoughts about me as a candidate?". This will enable you to obtain positive reinforcement or give you an opportunity to deal with potential objections.
Most interviewers like candidates that ask intelligent questions as this displays sincere interest in the position and the company and suggests the candidate is taking the process seriously. Also, for many hiring authorities, questions asked can be as revealing as answers given. However, be careful not to subject the interviewer to an inquisition. Don't worry, if there is mutual interest you will have all relevant questions answered during subsequent interviews. The general rule of thumb is to limit the number of premeditated questions to ten or less. Group your questions into four categories:
- Company questions
These deal with company direction, policies, stability, growth, market share, new products or services and so on.
- Industry questions
These deal with the health, growth, change, technological advancement, and personnel of the industry as a whole.
- Position questions
These deal with responsibilities, performance expectations, reporting structure etc. of the position for which you are interviewing.
- Opportunity questions
These deal with the potential for growth and advancement within the company or its divisions, and the likely timetable for promotion if you are an outstanding employee.
Here are some other things to bear in mind that are simple, but often overlooked:
- The best time to arrive for an interview is precisely when it is scheduled, not early or late. It can be irritating to be told that someone is waiting in the lobby at 1:30 for a 2:00 appointment. The interviewer will either become distracted knowing there is someone hanging around waiting to see them, or they will scramble to rearrange their schedule to accommodate, which disrupts the rest of their day.
- It is considered common courtesy and standard business practice for a candidate to pay his/her own expenses for a local interview. Make sure to bring cash to pay for parking and other related expenses.
- Make sure to bring a few copies of your resume, and read it thoroughly before the interview, so that you are immediately familiar with everything you have written. Nothing is more potentially fatal to interview success than being quizzed on some aspect of your background that appears on the bottom of page two -- and not being able to remember the details.
- Bring materials which might be particularly good at illustrating an important aspect of your work (i.e. a portfolio), though don't overdo it. Leave your degree and letters of commendation at home.
- Do not discuss compensation at the first interview. You do not want to leave them with the impression that you are only interested in considering their company for monetary reasons. While it is unthinkable to accept or even consider a job without first understanding the financial rewards, there are more timely ways to discuss the topic without endangering your chances. If the interviewer does broach the subject your best response is to state that your interest in the opportunity is the foremost consideration; "I would be happy to consider your best offer should you feel there is an appropriate match."
- Unless instructed otherwise, be sure to dress in formal business attire, even if the company's work environment is casual. Remember, you are dressing for the interview, not the job.
- Do not condemn past employers or be evasive about unfavorable facts on your resume. Be straight forward, objective and factual about your past.
Above all, keep in mind that interviews are "pitch" meetings and you must ask for the sale! If the interviewer is encouraging always remember to finish with asking "What is the next step in the process?". This will give you a sense for how well the meeting went from their perspective and what to expect going forward. Good luck!