Interview Process Tips

Navigating Your Search

Job Search Tips:

  1. Make sure your resume is ready to go – This means having someone you trust edit it.  If you have more than one focus in your career, make sure you have multiple resumes that highlight all of those areas.  Also consider editing the resume for the specific role to make sure you use the same language as the job description.
  2. Put your resume on all major search sites and as many minor ones as you can find – Consider yourself a needle in a haystack. You want to make it easier for people to find you, and every employer and recruiter use different resume search engines and resources depending on their budget and industry.  Examples of good job boards are CareerBuilder, The Ladders, Monster.
  3. Utilize Professional Associations – If you don’t belong to any, join them.  For example, search for “audit associations” or “finance associations”.  You can sign up for free and can post your resume to their sites. A lot of recruiters and employers use association websites to search for candidates.
  4. Work with reputable recruiters – Check out their online presence and make sure they specialize in your area.  Take the time to read their entire LinkedIn profile and references.  Recruiters who are certified as CPCs or active in their profession through conferences and training assure you that the person you work with invests time and money into their craft.
  5.  It is ok to work with multiple recruiters – They are FREE (if they aren’t free, don’t work with them).  Most won’t call or email you unless they have a job for you, so they won’t take up your time.  Here’s why you need to get your resume and information to several of them:
    • Most jobs in today’s market are NOT posted online.  They typically give out a job to 2-3 recruiting firms nationally.  That means that unless you know those two or three recruiters or are in their data base, you will never know about the job.
    • When you apply online, 73% of resumes submitted online are only reviewed by a computer…which means your resume is only reviewed 27% of the time by a person.  The chances of a computer fully understanding your background are pretty slim.  Unless the computer matches you to the job, your resume is never reviewed and ends up in a pile with a thousand other applicants.
    • Recruiters can tell your back story.  If there is any sort of blemish or quick change on your resume, it is very beneficial for a recruiter to dig into that and be able to share the reasons.
  1. Don’t pit recruiters or companies against each other – If you choose to apply online for a role you find, and two days later a recruiter calls you about that same position, you need to let them know you just applied.  In most cases the recruiter cannot present you for the role.  If you don’t tell them and they present you anyway, you can end up looking desperate because you are coming in from multiple sources.  The best thing to do is keep good records of where you applied and be honest with those who are working with you.  If the recruiter calls you first and then you decide to go around them and apply online, this can also have negative results if the recruiter has a good relationship with the hiring manager and lets them know.
  2. Make sure people are able to contact you easily – The most direct way to do this is to put your email address somewhere in the body of your Linked In page…at the top or the bottom, even in the employer section (anywhere that is visible to the public).  Most recruiters use LinkedIn today, and it is the fastest way for them to find you.  You want to make it easy for them to contact you directly.


Onsite Interview Tips:

  1. Prepare for an Emergency –Put both the company human resource contact and your recruiter’s number in your phone.  You will want to have it handy if your flight is cancelled, you get stuck in traffic on your way to the interview, or you get lost.
  2. Know the Client – Make sure you’ve done your research before you head into the interview.
  3. Know YOUR Product –What do you have to offer? Before you interview, analyze your strengths and weaknesses to determine what you want to focus on.  Prepare short stories about yourself and highlight your experience that is required for this opportunity. 
  4. Practice – Find a partner to ask you the tough questions that you don’t know how to answer.  You will feel more comfortable answering them if you’ve thought about your answers and have role-played the interview beforehand.
  5. On-Site Etiquette –Be sure you’re equipped with the onsite essentials.  Bring extra resumes and pens in your portfolio.  Carry a sheet in your portfolio that has your “short stories” or bullet points of your successes listed.  Review them in between each interview to keep them fresh in your head.  Bring a granola bar and keep it in your portfolio.  You may not have time to eat and can take a 5 minute break between interviews to refresh in the bathroom and chow down on a granola bar to keep your energy up!  We can’t tell you how many executives have told me they have munched granola bars in the restroom.
  6. Timing –Arrive fifteen minutes early for your interview.  There’s an expression that says, “If you’re early, you’re on-time; if you’re on-time, you’re late; if you’re late, you’re forgotten.” Be early and read through your success bullet points while waiting.  Take a deep breath and harness your confidence.  You will get this job!
  7. Dress for Success –Take pride in how you look.  The goal is to be remembered for your qualifications, not how you dress, the strength of your perfume or your jewelry.
  8. Be Positive –It only take seven seconds to make a first impression.  Research has shown that we send 55% of our messages through body language, 38% through tone of voice and only 7% through words.  Most of our communication is through eye contact, posture, gestures, expressions and tone of voice.  Make sure you’re sending the right message.
  9. The Close –At the end of each interview, ask the interviewer if they have any concerns about your ability to do the job.  This will give you an opportunity to cover any areas you may have missed that are important to them.
  10. After the interview –Send your thank you email within 48 hours to each person you met.  Include a short thank you along with a brief why you want the job or are qualified for the opportunity.


Phone Interview Tips:

Phone interviews are the first hurdle in most interview processes. Employers typically use phone interviews as a way of screening candidates to narrow their pool of candidates invited for face-to-face interviews.  Keep in mind that the goal of any phone interview is to get to the next step in the process.

Prepare and Practice:

  1. Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for an onsite interview.  Research the company, who you’ll be talking with, and review the job description again.
  2. Prepare some questions ahead of time. Do not ask about salary or benefits unless the employer brings it up.
  3. Talking on the phone isn’t easy, so practice, practice, practice!  Practice answering questions with someone who can provide feedback.
  4. If possible, voice-record yourself so you can go back and listen to your answers and voice.
  5. Review standard phone interview questions online and rehearse your answers to those questions.


Before the Call:

  1. Compile a list of your strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments
  2. Be prepared to discuss your background in relation to the role and your skill-set.
  3. Have a copy of your resume on your desk with your strongest bullets related to the role highlighted.
  4. Have a pen and paper ready for notes and to write down questions you may have.
  5. Go to a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed.  Utilize a conference room, head to your car or try to do the interview first thing in the morning or late in the day in your home.
  6. If possible, use a landline vs. a cell phone.  Static on the line and dropped calls can leave a bad impression regardless of fault.


During the Phone Interview:

  1. Write the person’s name interviewing you at the top of your resume to refer to.  If there are multiple people on the call, be sure to write down all of their names and titles for reference.
  2. Have a glass of water with you but only drink if necessary.   Don’t eat, smoke or chew gum ever.
  3. Even though no one can see you, smile while talking.  This changes the sound of your voice and helps you sound upbeat and positive.
  4. If possible, stand during the phone interview.  You will be more alert during the call and it stretches your diaphragm helping project your voice.  If you can’t stand, be sure to sit up as straight as possible to evoke confidence in your voice.
  5. As mentioned, no one can see you so that means body language can’t interpret sarcastic remarks or expressions.  Stay professional and keep on topic.
  6. Address the interviewer as Mr. or Mrs. and their last name unless they have asked you to refer to them by their first.
  7. Don’t interrupt the person interviewing you.  It’s common courtesy to wait your turn to talk.  Studies have shown that interviewers are more likely to provide positive feedback if they’ve led the conversation and have done most of the talking.  However, that doesn’t mean don’t talk at all.  Provide short, concise answers to questions, and be sure not to ramble.
  8. Speak slowly and try to enunciate your words.
  9. Take your time before answering.  It’s ok to collect your thoughts before speaking.  This will help ensure you provide short, concise answers.
  10. Be sure to thank the person for taking the time to chat with you and follow up your call with a written or emailed thank you note that reiterates your interest in the position.


Other useful links:

Interview Questions:

Behavioral Interview Questions:

Follow Up Thank You Letters:

Job Search Tips:

How to Resign with Class:

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