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Interviewing - Tips & Tricks

Interview discussion. Interview discussions can be boring and meaningless.  A candidate can experience a live, regurgitation of the job description listed in the local paper rather than a meaningful conversation of what is expected of him or her.  Take this opportunity (or any other) to discuss new procedures you wish to implement to increase the company's bottom line and productivity.  Use dollars, percentages, and cents (sense).  In today's age, nearly anyone can do a job, but can they produce results?

Never make negative comments about former employers.  No matter how tempting it is to want to notify the world about the awful business practices of a previous employer; DON'T DO IT.  Remember, stay professional, don't resort to mud slinging.

Are there some interview questions I should be concerned about?  There are several interview questions that aren't illegal, but may lead to answers that cause the hiring manager to make an illegal decision.  These include:  a) number of dependents b) do you have a sitter c) are you married d) how much do you weigh e) religion?  Obviously, a hiring manager does not purposely break the law (at least we hope not), so give them the benefit of the doubt if asked anything you feel is inappropriate.  Kindly, indicate to them you are uncomfortable with the question and decline to answer.

Bring up salary or benefits in the first interview?  In today's world, we believe this is a passing phase.  Virtually, our entire lives are beginning to evolve around one question, "How much?"  If they bring it up first, then go for it. A simple rule to follow when you are presented with an amount is to ask, "Is this amount set in stone or is it negotiable?"  If the amount is non-negotiable, take enough time to think about it (especially if it is lower than your previous salary).  Rather, if the amount is negotiable, we recommend taking your time, before giving them an amount you may not be able to revise later. 

What if I complete the entire interview and salary is not mentioned at all! This is not likely to occur, however, if it does, simply inquire at the end (if you feel it is appropriate) or continue to wait until the company provides an offer. 

Is there a key or map to interviewing?  Keep in mind, every hiring manager has different interviewing skills and tactics.  You may interview with a highly structured manager that will ask every official question, or you may have someone that just called you in to chat to see if your personality will "click" with the rest of the staff.

When the interviewer says, "Do you have any questions?"  Do you automatically say, "No." 

Try these:  
a)  Is there room for advancement?
b) Will I be required to work overtime?
c) Who will be my immediate supervisor and manager?
d) Where do you see the company in the next five (5) years? ten (10) years?
e) After an adjustment period, can I take on additional learning opportunities and/or duties to expand my working knowledge of the business?

Send a follow-up letter (AKA thank you letter).  A large percentage don't even give a follow-up (after interview) letter a second thought.  This letter can serve key functions:  a) make the interviewer sway in your direction when they are torn in selecting a candidate b) notifying them of your courteous, thoughtful demure which can aid you in salary and benefit negotiations.

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