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Interview Tips

Keystone Partnership and Keystone Staffing Resources interview thousands of candidates each year. Whether a candidate is an experienced job seeker or a new college graduate seeking their first "real" job, the job interview in sometimes an unnerving process. The key to making it through to the final cut is to properly prepare and deliver your answers in the interview process with confidence. Here are some practical hints and some questions to help you fight the jitters at interview time.

Do's and Don'ts

  • Don't arrive too late or too early. Get good directions to the interview location and try to anticipate and plan for things such as traffic, weather, or getting lost. If disaster strikes, be professional and call ahead to reschedule.
  • Be prepared. Make the effort to research the company and the position for which you are interviewing. Information about companies is publicly available through corporate web sites and business magazines. Have questions prepared about the specific industry, as well as answers detailing how you can make an impact.
  • Be alert to your non-verbal communication. An interviewer often forms an opinion about a candidate from more than just the words that you say. Be aware of the importance interviewers place on a firm handshake, eye contact, fidgeting, and posture. Also, chewing gum or smoking in an interview setting is not appropriate.
  • Dress professionally. Everyone has heard the saying about how important it is to make a good first impression. Dressing too casually or flamboyantly can ruin your chances. Prepare your interview attire the night before an appointment and make sure to check for scuffs on your shoes and loose buttons that may convey the wrong impression to an employer.
  • Limit or avoid perfume/cologne. Your scent (even if you smell good) can be an issue. Some people have allergies and it can be a distraction. Also, scent is one of the strongest senses and your favorite perfume or cologne might not be someone else’s favorite.  With any type of scent, less, or none, is better.
  • Send a thank you note or email. It's always important to say thank you after a job interview and after a second interview, as well. It is also important to thank everyone you interviewed with and everyone who assisted with your job search. This should be done within 24 hours of your interview.

Some Common Interview Questions

  • What are your weaknesses? Handle this question by minimizing your weakness and emphasizing your strengths. Try to answer with a positive weakness such as "I feel I'm too organized." Concentrate on professional traits as opposed to personal qualities. Chances are the interviewer is not going to care if you think your putting skills are weak on the back 9.
  • Why should we hire You? Prepare yourself to answer a version of this question by having an answer that outlines your strengths for the employer. If you've done your research, relate how your skills would specifically impact their company.
  • Why did you leave (are you leaving) your job? Most employers are looking for a more in-depth answer than "I'm just looking for a new opportunity." Focus on what you want to gain in your next job. At the same time, refrain from bad-mouthing former or current employers. No one likes to hear complaints.
  • What are your goals? This is a tried and true old standard for the interview process. Some employers will specify short term or long-term goals, so be prepared to answer to both. Have an answer prepared that ties in to the job that you are applying for.

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