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Interview Booklet

Interview Booklet



The Interview                                        1

Preparation                                           2
Know Yourself                                   2
Research the Company                               2
Personal Appearance - Men                           2
Personal Appearance - Women                           2
Items to Bring to the Interview                           3
Arrival at the Interview                               3
Typical Interview Sequence                           3

Interview Questions & Responses                           4
Background Questions                               4
Personality Questions                               5
Motive Questions                                   5
Job Satisfaction Questions                           6
Past Performance and Behavioral Questions                   6
Salary Questions                                   7
Other Questions (Be Prepared to Answer Truthfully)           7

Questions for You to Ask                                   8
Questions Suggestions                               8

Telephone Interviewing Tips                              10
Preparation is Key                                  10
Phone Personality                                  11
The Telephone Interview                              12
Ask for the Job                                  14
Pre-employment Physical                          14

Thirteen Reasons for Rejection                              15

Follow-up and Thank You Letter                          17

Resignation Letter                                      18

12 Traits of Peak Performers                              19

Your Responses                                      20

What Does A FAB Do                                      22
How to do a FAB                                  22
Questions to Ask When Doing a FAB                      23

Features-Achievements-Benefits Worksheet                      25

The Interview

An interviewer has just one objective: to decide whether or not to make you a job offer. While the interviewer will examine your work history and educational background, your strengths and accomplishments will also be important criteria. He or she is also interested in evaluating your level of motivation, values, attitude and personality. In other words, to find out if you're the right person for the job, what your potential is for promotion and whether or not you will fit into the company environment.

As with many situations, preparation is the key to success. The job market is very competitive and you probably will not be the only qualified candidate for a position. The deciding factor may simply be the way you present your skills for and qualifications relevant to the position and how well you conduct yourself during the interview.

While it's true that an interview is an important screening tool for companies, it also allows you to learn those things you need to know about the position and the company so that you can make an intelligent decision about the job. Always approach an interview focused on your objective: getting a job offer.  Conduct yourself with confidence and determination to get the job. You have other options, of course, and your interviewer knows this, but wants to think that you want a job with this company.  Don't play coy.  Sell yourself.  This is your first meeting and the position, as well as future promotions, may depend on your presentation.

This booklet has been made available for your use by your executive recruiter. It will help you prepare for and succeed at the interview. Take the time to review the material in this booklet. The tips and techniques outlined herein have been tested, and they work! They will improve your chances of receiving a job offer. Should you have any questions about your upcoming interview, the company, the opportunity, or the suggestions printed in this booklet, consult your Superior Search & Staffing recruiter.


Know Yourself

What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
What are your short and long-term goals?
Evaluate yourself in terms of the position you seek?
Formulate responses by asking the question: "Why should they hire me?"
Can you honestly visualize resigning from your current position? (See "Dealing With Counteroffers")
Remember that you're there to sell yourself and secure a job offer.   

Research the Company

Utilize the Internet to review annual reports, trade magazines and newspaper articles.
The Internet offers a wealth of company information and industry statistics.
Know the company's products and services.
Be prepared to tell the interviewer why their company is attractive to you.
Talk with company employees.   
Talk to customers of the company.

Personal Appearance - Men

Fingernails should be short and clean; manicured if possible.
Hair should be clean, well groomed and freshly trimmed. Use a dandruff shampoo, if necessary, and always comb hair with your jacket off.
A navy blue or dark gray suit is appropriate for most positions. Be sure it's cleaned and pressed.
Shirts should be white, freshly laundered and well pressed.
A quiet tie with a subtle design and a hint of red is suitable for a first interview. Avoid loud colors and busy designs.
Jewelry should be kept to a minimum. A watch and wedding or class ring are acceptable.
Avoid jewelry or pins that indicate membership in religious or service organizations.
Use deodorant and avoid colognes or fragrances completely.
Shoes should be black and freshly polished (including the heels).
Socks should be black or blue and worn over the calf.
For good posture cross legs at the ankles, not at the knees.
Maintain good eye contact.

Personal Appearance - Women

Fingernails should be clean; manicured if possible. 
Choose subtle low-key colors over bright fashion colors for nail polishes.
Wear a suit or tailored dress in basic navy or gray.
Blouses should also be tailored and color coordinated. Don't wear big bows or ties.
Avoid exotic hairstyles and excessive makeup.
Hair should be neat, clean and brushed with your jacket off.
Makeup should be light and natural looking.
Use deodorant and avoid colognes or fragrances.
Jewelry should be limited and subtle.
Avoid jewelry or pins that indicate membership in religious or service organizations.
A closed toe pump that is color coordinated with your outfit is appropriate.  Avoid open-toed shoes or sling-backs.
For good posture cross legs at the ankles, not at the knees.
Maintain good eye contact

Items to Bring to the Interview

References - Use three former supervisors who are familiar with your work.  Include their name and company as well as home and work phone numbers.  Always consult with references for their approval and to ensure that their remarks are positive. 
Resume - Review your resume thoroughly.  Be prepared to discuss all points.  Always bring a resume copy identical to the one supplied to the interviewer.  Bring along samples of your work, if possible. Never discuss or show proprietary information.
Miscellaneous Items - Bring a folder and pen to the interview to jot down notes.  Prepare and review your questions as well as specific responses.  Bring directions to the interview location as well as the interviewer's phone number in case you're running late.  Bring along your recruiter's phone number to give immediate feedback after the interview.

Arrival at the Interview

Do not take portable phones or beepers into an interview.
Arrive no earlier than fifteen minutes before the interview (no later than five minutes prior to the interview).
Allow sufficient time for traffic, parking and a last minute appearance check.
If possible, scout out the location the day before the interview to avoid last minute problems.
Review your notes and go in with confidence.
If asked, complete an application. Complete the application in full and leave no blanks. Do not write "see resume" as a response to any application question. Respond to "expected salary" questions as "open" and "current salary" questions truthfully.  List references if requested.
Your recruiter's name should be your response to any "referred by" questions.

Typical Interview Sequence

Interview with personnel covering general questions, a review of the company and their benefits.
Interview with the immediate supervisor and peers.
Interview with the hiring authority (manager, etc.).
Tour.  Be an active participant: ask questions, show interest, and interact!
If there is interest on both parties:
Testing (physical drug test, written test, and proof of employment eligibility).

Interview Questions & Responses

You should give complete but brief and relaxed answers to questions. When possible use questions as a basis for developing information that you want to make sure is presented. Continue to sell yourself in a positive way.  Describe jobs in terms of duties and give indicators of good performance such as raises, special projects and promotions.  Include short stories involving problems or challenges and how you were able to solve or overcome them. Describe the results you achieved (see FAB worksheet).

Preparation is the key for a successful interview. Conversation is smoother because you have an idea of what you're going to say and as a result you'll appear more at ease with the interviewer and that's always a plus. Take a few minutes to formulate a response for each question. Remember to keep your answers brief and focused while exploiting opportunities to convey all relevant qualifications.  One to three sentences will usually suffice. A volley of long-winded replies will only bore the interviewer. Note your answers on the page provided in the back of this handbook.  And, closely review the Powerhouse Questions for Interviewers article on the following page.

Personnel will usually provide company information and available benefits.  Thorough review and questions concerning benefits should be addressed after the interview. Remember, the interviewers are trying to see how you can contribute to the company.

Background Questions

"Tell me about yourself."  I have been a 2007 SharePoint Administrator and Developer for over 2 years, and I have been a Web Developer and Designer and a Graphic Developer and Designer for over 15 years. I EXCEL in creating Collaborative SharePoint Intranet sites that save EACH and EVERY person in the company time and effort in their daily duties. I also excel in creating SharePoint Publishing Internet sites that are cross browser compliant, with a single style sheet. This helps save the company time an effort for any future changes that are required. I absolutely love what I do!

"What are your greatest strengths?"  Always on time, hard working, eagerness to learn, team building skills, technical skills, loyalty, and dedication to getting the job done right.

"What are your greatest weaknesses?"  Being anal retentive and paying to much attention to details... Sometimes I spend too much time trying to make something perfect.

Personality Questions 

"What do you do in your spare time?"  I like to spend time with my daughters, throw darts and collect coins.

Motive Questions

"How can you contribute to this company?"  Answer motive questions enthusiastically. Show the interviewer that you are interested in the position and that you really want the job. Remember to maintain eye contact and be sincere.  Be positive and sell! Bringing strong technical skills, enthusiasm, and desire to complete projects correctly and efficiently are good responses.

"Why should I hire you for this position?"  Explain your qualifications and how they "fit" the available position. Address your interest in the job and the field and why it's work that you enjoy. Emphasize your ability to successfully perform the duties required.

"Why do you want to work for our firm?"  Your research on the company will help you here.  Compliment what the company does, its location, or its people.  Other positive remarks might be about the company's product or service, content of the position or possibilities for growth or advancement.

"Where do you hope to be in five years?"  Use conservative growth positions that clearly show you plan to be there in five years, and that their investment in you will pay. Be sure that you know what can and cannot be achieved by the ideal candidate in the position. Never tell the interviewer that you feel you'll be more successful than they are. But do show a strong desire for promotions.

"What interests you most about this position?" Teasing the interviewer with a truthful one or two-word answer such as, "the challenge" or "the opportunity", will force them to ask you to explain. Here again, you have a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the company.

"How long do you plan to be with this company?"  As with marriage, most employers expect a till-death-do-us-part attitude, but they can be equally attracted to the candidate with ambition and candor. "As long as I continue to learn and grow in my field", is a reasonable response.

"What are your career goals?"  Your answer should depend on a specific time frame.  For the short term you can offer, "I want to be the best in my current position, while learning additional responsibilities. This, in itself, will assure my commitment to the firm and raise me to the next level of responsibility and promotion. I see myself wanting to stay technical but learn the necessary skills to lead people and projects."  If speaking about the Long term, you can add, "After proving my abilities, I see myself moving into a level of management that allows me to keep my skills sharp."

"What are you doing to achieve your goals?"  "I look at continuous learning as the key to success.  I continue my education, as you see from my resume, by taking company educational courses, when offered, and college courses. I also read trade publications and magazines to keep me informed about the current and future directions in my field. When possible, I participate in professional organizations in my field."

Job Satisfaction Questions

"Why did you leave your previous employer?"  Never speak poorly of a former employer. Be pleasant, be positive and be honest. Your answer will probably be checked. Mention your desire to work for a more progressive company that offers more growth opportunities and recognition.

"What did you like least about your previous job?" An employer can evaluate the type of worker you will be by the items you choose. Cite specifics. You are also providing clues about the environment you seek. What you liked most can include a strong teamwork atmosphere, high-level of creativity, attainable deadlines. What you liked least should include any situations that you are unlikely to encounter in your new position.

"Why are you looking for another job?"

Again, be positive, "I have to say that I have really enjoyed my years at ________ Corporation. There are a lot of good people over there. But I am looking for a more progressive organization with greater opportunities for growth, and recognition. I am looking for a team to join where I can make real contributions and advance my career."

"What do you think your employer's obligations are to you?"

Interviewers listen for employees who want a positive, enthusiastic, company atmosphere, with the opportunity to advance. Such a person, they surmise, has motivation and staying power.

"Are you applying for any other jobs?"

In your answer, show that your search is geared for similar positions.  This demonstrates a well-defined, focused objective. Make it known that your talents are applicable to other businesses and that you have explored ways to maximize your potential.  Show that you are serious about finding the right opportunity.  Don't give an indication that you are just shopping.

Past Performance and Behavioral Questions

"What kind of decision is most difficult for you?"

Be truthful and admit not everything comes easily. Be careful what you do admit so as not to instantly disqualify yourself.  Explain that you try to gather as much information and advice as you can to make the best decision possible.

"What causes you to lose your temper?"

Everybody has a low boiling point on some particular issue. Pick one of yours; something safe and reasonable.  People who are late to meetings, blame shifting, broken appointments and office "back-stabbing" are suitable responses. Don't say that you never fly off the handle. You won't be believed.

"What are your greatest accomplishments?"

Ex: I have had many accomplishments in my past, but they are all listed on my resume. I hope my greatest accomplishment is to find a well established company where I can apply my skills, and to help them grow and prosper well into the future. I hope my greatest accomplishments are still ahead of me.

"How do you feel about a younger (or male, or female) boss?"

Ex: I have had both female and male bosses before, as well as bosses who were younger than I am. Their age or sex is of no importance to me. Leaders come in many different packages

"What kind of worker are you?"

Ex: I am a very hard worker, who likes to pay attention to the details and likes to do the job right the first time. There have been times when I was too enthusiastic and needed to correct a mistake, but I like to use that as a valuable learning experience for the future.

Salary Questions

Salary discussions should be avoided, if possible.

"What type of salary do you have in mind?"

Ex: I am looking for the right opportunity and I am confident that if you find me the best candidate for this position, you will extend me your best and most fair offer.

"What is your current salary?"

Ex: I was previously making $85,000 a year, with a 6% annual bonus, 3 weeks of vacation, health benefits, 401K plus personal and sick days.

Other Questions (Be Prepared to Answer Truthfully)

"Are you willing to relocate?"

Be honest with your answer here. If you are, then tell them. If you are not, then tell them. This question is at your own discretion.

"May we check your references?"

Ex: Absolutely, please do! (This shows that you have absolutely nothing to hide, and that it is welcomed.)

"May we verify your income?"

Ex: Absolutely, please do! (This shows that you have absolutely nothing to hide, and that it is welcomed.)

Questions for You to Ask

The interview should be a two-way conversation. Ask questions of the interviewers. This shows your interest in the company and the position, and enables you to gather the right information to make an intelligent decision afterwards. Asking questions also gives you a chance to demonstrate your depth of knowledge in the field as well as to establish an easy flow of conversation and relaxed atmosphere between you and the interviewer. Building this kind of rapport is always a plus in an interview.

The questions you have prepared can be asked to the different people you see.  Remember, the objective of the interview is to obtain an offer during the interview, you must gather enough information concerning the position to make a decision.


Don't cross-examine the employer.
Ask questions requiring an explanation. Questions, which can be answered with a "Yes" or "No", are conversation stoppers.
Don't interrupt when the employer is answering your question.
Ask job-relevant questions. Focus on the job, the company, products, services, and people.
Prior to the interview, write your list of Interest Questions and take them with you.
Ask about your potential peers, subordinates, and superiors.
Take notes.
Ask the employer how he/she got where they are today.  Ask them what about their department they are most proud of.

Question Suggestions

"Why do you want someone for this job?"  Force the interviewer to explain why this job can't be done by one of his current employees. The answer may give you a valuable job description.

"Why isn't this position being filled from within the company?"  You may discover that nobody in this organization would accept it or that your future fellow employees are a weak lot.

"How many people have held this job in the last five years?  Were they promoted or did they leave the company?"  If the turnover has been high, you have a right to suspect that the job may leave something to be desired. Or it could mean that you could expect to be promoted quickly.

"How did you get started in the company?"  A good way to get to know the interviewer better and gain insight into the promotional path the company follows.

"What are examples of the best results produced by people in this job?"  Here you may discover you are overqualified or in a position to ask for considerably more money.

"What would be the primary responsibilities and duties for this position?"

"Describe a typical day on the job?"

"What are the most 3 most difficult problems, that you want the person who fills this position to solve?"

"Describe the department's/company's growth in the next 2 years?"

"What is the philosophy on training and development here?"

"Has there been downsizing within the company? How is it handled?"

"How do you think I'd fit into the job and into your organization?"

"What projects would I be involved in now? In the future?"

"Who would I be working for and with?"

"What is the person doing whom used to hold this position?"

"When would you need me to start?"

"What type of systems/softwares are used by your company"

"When do you think you will be making a decision on this opportunity?"

"Is there anything that I have told you during this interview, that you feel that keeps me from being a good candidate for this position?"

"When will you be making a decision on this opportunity?"
Telephone Interviewing Tips
By Calvin E. Bruce & Paula W Moore

Perhaps you're a pro at selling yourself face-to-face. How comfortable, though, are you at interviewing over the phone?

Telephone screening interviews are becoming more commonplace as companies seek to cut hiring costs and streamline the selection process.  A hiring manager can spend an hour and half screening three candidates over the phone, then invite the most impressive one to the company for a lengthier interview.

John Young, president of First American Rehab, a health care company based in Athens, Georgia, personally interviews as many as 50 candidates a week over the phone. "Telephone prescreening is extremely cost effective," he says, "because 75% to 80% of the people you talk to can be easily eliminated." Mr. Young believes more companies will make use of phone interviewing for this reason.

Given this trend, your job search may involve more telephone interviewing. Whether you are talking to headhunters or company recruiters, the more convincingly you make your case over the phone will determine further interest in you as a job candidate.

Phone interviewing is unique. You can't count on visual stimuli such as good looks, power suits, eye contact, or body language to aid your presentation. Nor can you rely on visual signals to interpret the interviewer's response.  In this context, faceless conversation takes on an added dimension of importance. Both strengths and weaknesses, as conveyed by voice, are magnified through the phone. Your voice personifies everything about you.

Headhunters, in particular, listen for a relaxed style that communicates confidence, enthusiasm and intelligence. This is reflected in a smooth conversation flow devoid of clichés or verbal catchalls to stall for time as well as other negatives.

The following techniques will help you prepare for and handle any phone interview situations, especially with company officials:

Preparation is Key

The success of a telephone interview begins with mental preparation and setting the stage with the interviewer. The first order of business is to establish a clear time frame for the conversation. By mutual agreement, this should be at least thirty minutes when both parties can be free of interruptions and distractions.

If you're currently employed, arrange for a phone interview in the evening rather than during the workday. Confidentiality and discretion may be at risk if you interview during working hours; you never know who might barge into your office unannounced or overhear something by accident. In the privacy of your home, you can be more at ease and in control of your surroundings.

Being clear on the interview format gives you an edge in preparation. Before the actual interview, it will help to know the topics to be covered, objectives to attain and the basic information regarding the position to be discussed. It also helps to rehearse.  Try to think as the employer, what key information is the interviewer looking for? What questions is he likely to ask? What things do you hope he doesn't ask?

George Walther, president of TelExcel in Seattle, Washington, is a consultant and speaker on the subject of improving telephone-interviewing effectiveness. "From my experience, I would say that 98% of business executives can assess the candidate's personality after thirteen seconds, with no visual information," he says. "Furthermore, initial voice impression tends to be reinforced by the content of continued conversation." In other words, you need to sound like a winner quickly to sustain the listener's interest in you.

It's also advisable to prepare for possible scenarios that might unfold. Hypothesize a bit; suppose the interviewer asks questions that make you feel uncomfortable. How do you handle that? Suppose he rambles, is easily sidetracked, and doesn't allow you to sell yourself.  How do you subtly take control of the conversation and target pertinent issues? As a worst-case scenario; suppose the interviewer doesn't call at the agreed time. If it's an evening interview, and you have other engagements, how long should you wait by the phone? If it's a daytime interview, should you assume the interviewer "forgot" and call him directly? Or do you await his call at some other, unspecified time? Solution: don't panic. The employer will call to set up a new time if he had some crisis. If you are working with a recruiter, he will handle the problem and schedule an alternate time. Finally, clear a work area near the phone and keep the following tools handy to aid your fact gathering and information sharing:

A copy of the version of the resume sent to the interviewer.
A note pad and pen.
Five or six carefully worded questions you'll want to ask.
Company literature with pertinent sections highlighted.
A calendar.
A watch or clock.

Preparation will increase your confidence level and ability to focus on the conversation during the interview as well as enabling you to make a favorable impression.

Phone Personality

The need to make a good impression on the phone cannot be overemphasized.  The telephone screening interview is a make-or-break proposition, your one chance to convince the interviewer that you are worth serious consideration.  The interviewer will be listening carefully to determine three factors: your sincere interest in the job, how you verbalize your qualifications, and how aggressively you pursue the position.

Voice reflects personality.  A well-modulated, controlled voice communicates authority and heightens the verbal impact you want to make. The quality, pitch and tempo of your speech convey a certain attitude, energy level and enthusiasm. "Enthusiasm and excitement are the biggest selling points of candidates talking on the phone," says Mr. Young of First American Rehab. "This translates directly over to their performance and work ethic." Here are some practical tips to enhance your phone "personality" and overall presentation:

Talk directly into the mouthpiece. Hold the receiver approximately three inches from the mouth, not below your chin or above your nose. Speak in a relaxed, conversational style as though the other person were in the same room, not on the other side of the planet.

Avoid sitting in a hunched position, grasping the phone in a vise-like grip. This will add a note of stress, and your voice will communicate that uneasiness. Try standing, it opens your diaphragm to a smoother airflow and imparts a feeling of liveliness. Getting up and moving around introduces an element of action, which instills a relaxed, conversational manner and reduces fatigue. A longer cord or cordless phone will allow maximum mobility.
Pay attention to the interviewer's voice patterns; does he speak slowly or rapidly? Try to match the cadence so that the conversion flows smoothly. According to Mr. Walther, at TelExcel, the average person speaks at a rate of 160 words per minute. Adjust your speaking rate, voice volume and phrasing to be more in rhythm with the interviewer.

Sound upbeat. If you had a lousy day and came home to find your spouse and kids arguing, put it out of your mind. Genuine enthusiasm is contagious. Smile to show a sense of humor. After all, the interviewer may have had a bad day too.

Be a conversationalist. Listen carefully to get the big picture and to avoid saying something that indicates any momentary mental distraction. Allow the interviewer to complete questions without you finishing his train of thought or blurting out answers prematurely.

Handle any trick questions in stride. The interviewer may throw in several to test your alertness or mental keenness. Showing verbal adeptness is a sign of how quickly you can "think on your feet." Be cautious: the interviewer may say something that puzzles you or that you firmly disagree with. Show enough respect to voice your thoughts in a professional manner. A defensive posture or argumentative tone is the surest way to alienate the interviewer and eliminate your candidacy.

The Telephone Interview

Establishing rapport at the beginning of the phone conversation sets a favorable tone. During the first few minutes mention something that shows commonality of interest or similarity in background. This helps both parties feel more comfortable as the conversation progresses.

Get to know the person behind the voice. Does he show a sense of humor? Is she direct and forthright in supplying information? Does his speech sound "canned", or does it exhibit freshness of thought and expression? Just as importantly, does she actively listen to you, or merely wait for the chance to ask her next question? The interviewer may be a personnel official or a hiring manager. If the individual is someone with whom you will be working, pay all the more attention to her explanation of the job and what potential it offers.

Your prepared list of questions will indicate that you have given careful thought to the prospect of joining the firm. Even though you don't know everything about the position at this point, convey the impression that it's something you are interested in and competent at handling.
Only in a face-to-face interview can you totally sell yourself. The purpose of the phone interview is to identify areas of mutual interest that warrant further investigation. In other words, whet their curiosity and give them good reasons for wanting to invite you to the company location.

Basically, what the interviewer needs to hear and conclude is that you can get the job done.  Mentally, he is making the connection between the company's problems and you as a problem solver. Don't overwhelm him with facts and figures; he's only going to remember so much.

You can best make your point by reciting memorable stories that document your ability to analyze a dilemma, weigh alternative responses and choose the appropriate action. By selectively highlighting turnaround situations you spearheaded, you are communicating a willingness to tackle similar problems for his company.

As you glance over your notes and keep an eye on the clock, there may be additional important points to cover in the pre-allotted time frame. Tactfully take control and introduce the subject matter that needs to be discussed or further elaborated. Example:  "That's a good point. Can we come back to it a little later? I have some additional thoughts on the subject we were discussing a moment ago."

As the conversation winds down, become less talkative and give more thought to what you say. Your final words will generally have greater impact and be remembered longer. Careful word choice and voice inflections will under-score the significance of your remarks. By contrast, a machine-gun volley of words will likely put the listener on the defensive or turn him off altogether.

After 30 minutes, both parties should know how much of a "fit" there is. Provided the job interests you, express your desire to proceed to the next step: a company visit.

The interviewer may extend an invitation at that point. With calendar nearby, suggest several available days and times that agree with your agenda. Should the phone interview go well but end without a specific invitation to visit the company, state your desire to investigate the opportunity further. Example:  "I'd be very interested in such a challenging position. I would be available to come in for a personal interview and discuss my abilities in greater detail on (day)."

He may then mention the likelihood of an onsite interview once he confers with other officials. Your assertiveness will be remembered. If you hear nothing within 48 hours, follow up with a call.

A final concern: the interviewer may ask a salary range that you're expecting (don't introduce the issue yourself). It's best to mention that at this point you are not altogether certain what the job is really worth. Example: "I would feel more comfortable discussing a salary figure after meeting the key people I would be working with and knowing more about the position." If the interviewer continues to pressure you for a figure, specifically ask, "What salary range are you working within?" Chances are 50/50 that he will tell you.

Respond by indicating that your desired salary is in that range (if that is correct). If the dollars are a little low, don't despair or defend what you feel you are worth. For an absolutely sterling candidate, most companies can flex the purse strings and make a very attractive offer.
On the phone, your job is to entice a buyer, not to close a sale. Salary negotiation will fall into place at the right time.  End the conversation on a positive note. Thank the interviewer for the information shared, let her know again that you look forward to visiting the company. After all, if the position discussed is not the ideal job for you, something else there might be.

If you are sincerely interested in the position and are satisfied with the answers given, you should ask the interviewer if he/she feels that you are qualified for the position. This gives you another chance to review points that may need clarification. Illustrate confidence in your abilities and convince the interviewer that you are capable of handling the position successfully.

Ask For the Job

Make a positive statement about the position. Emphasize that this is exactly the type of opportunity you've been looking for and would like to be offered the position. Ask when you should expect an answer. A typical conclusion might be:

"Thank you for this meeting, _____________.  I like what I've heard today and I'd like to join your team. I know I'd be an asset to you/your department because you need someone who can ____ ____ and ____. As you know, I have (match your qualifications with the employer's "hot buttons"). Do you have any more questions about my background or qualifications or can I supply you with any more information?  On a scale of 1 to 5, how do I compare to the other candidates you've interviewed?  I can start as soon as you need me."

Pre-Employment Physical

The use of drug testing as part of a pre-employment physical examination is becoming more prevalent. It is predicted, that within five years, drug testing will become one more standard for getting a job. Some firms are testing for drug use as part of a pre-employment physical without telling the applicant that he/she is being tested for drugs, Personnel Journal reports.

Some over-the-counter products can produce false-positive or inaccurate drug-test results. Among them: Alka-Seltzer Plus, Allerest, Bronkaid, Contact, Donnagel, Nyquil, Primatene, Promlamine capsules, Sinutab, Sudafed and Triaminic. Poppy seeds in your food can also produce a positive drug-test result. You should not take any medication 48 hours before your pre-employment physicals, but if you must, be sure to list all drugs taken and advise the examiner.

Thirteen Reasons for Rejection

1.  Poor attitude. Many candidates come across as arrogant. Show interest and sincerity the   
moment you walk through the front door. Be pleasant to secretaries and administrative staff. 
They give feedback too.

2.  Appearance. Many candidates do not consider their appearance as much as they should.
First impressions are quickly made in the first three to five minutes. Review the appearance

3.  Lack of research. It's obvious when candidates haven't learned about the job, company or
industry prior to the interview. Use the Internet to research the company, then talk with
friends, peers and other professionals about the opportunity before each

4.  Not having questions to ask. Asking questions shows your interest in the company and the   
position. Prepare a list of intelligent questions in advance-but don't put the interviewer on the
defensive by over interrogating.

5.  Not readily knowing the answers to interviewer's questions. Anticipate and rehearse
answers to tough questions about your background, such as a recent termination or an
employment gap. Practicing with your spouse or a friend before the interview will help you
to frame intelligent responses.

6.  Relying too much on resumes. Employers hire people, not paper. Although a resume can
list qualifications and skills, it's the interview dialogue that will portray you as a committed,  
responsive team player.

7.  Too much humility. Being conditioned not to brag, candidates are sometimes reluctant to
describe their accomplishments. Explaining how you reach difficult or impressive goals helps
employers understand what you can do for them.

8.  Not relating skills to employers needs. A list of sterling accomplishments means little if
you can't relate them to a company's needs. Restate your skills and convince the employer
that you can "do the same for them".

9.  Handling salary issues ineptly. Candidates often ask about salary and benefit packages too
early. If they believe an employer is interested, they may demand inappropriate amounts and
price themselves out of the jobs. Candidates who ask for too little undervalue themselves or
appear desperate.

10. Lack of career direction. Job hunters who aren't clear about their career goals often can't
spot or commit to appropriate opportunities. Not knowing what you want wastes everyone's

11. Lack of interest and enthusiasm. Don't play hard to get! If you like what you hear, say so
and ask for the job!

12. Apathetic plant/company tour. Often candidates appear disinterested when touring
facilities. Ask questions, show interest and interact. Don't appear unenthusiastic by walking
around with your hands in your pockets.

13. Job shopping. Some applicants, particularly those in certain high-tech, sales and marketing
fields, will admit they're just "shopping" for opportunities and have little intention of
changing jobs. This wastes time and leaves a bad impression with employers they may need
to contact in the future.

Follow-up and Thank You Letter

Immediately following the interview, call your recruiter. It is very important to convey your impressions of the position and the company. Let the recruiter know whether you are interested in the position or not and if there were questions you forgot to ask at the interview, express them at this time. Only after we get your feedback about the interview and the company do we contact the employer for theirs. And finally, we follow-up with you regarding the employer's thoughts.

It is always a good idea to send a short note of appreciation to thank the employer or interviewer for their time. Reiterate your interest in the position and the company as well as your ability to do the job. Be sure to email your correspondence the following day. This is a good way to keep your name current in the interviewer's mind. Following is a sample thank-you letter that you can adapt to fit your specifics:

Subject Line:  Re: Interview for the Position of (title) on (date)." This illustrates the content of the letter.

Greeting:  "Dear Mr./Ms. (last name):"  "Miss" or "Mrs." should not be used unless you are sure that person does so. Do not use a first name in the greeting unless you have established a strong rapport.

Opening:  "It was a pleasure meeting with you (day) to discuss the opening in (department) with (company). Or, "I appreciated meeting with (name) and yourself in your office on (day) to discuss the (title) position with (company). Thanks for taking the time to see me regarding the opening in (department)."  Again, comment or add something discussed during the interview that will allow you to restate your qualifications and confidence in performing the job.

Body:  "From our discussion, and the fine reputation of your organization, it appears that the (title) position would enable me to fully use my background in _____________.  Or, "I was particularly impressed with the professionalism evident throughout my visit. (Company) appears to have the kind of environment I have been seeking."  Or, "The atmosphere at (company) seems to strongly favor individual involvement, and I would undoubtedly be able to contribute significantly to its goals."

Closing:  "While I have been considering other opportunities, I have deferred a decision until I hear from you. Therefore, your prompt reply would be greatly appreciated."  Or, "It's an exciting opportunity, and I look forward to hearing your decision very soon."  Or, "The (title) position and (company) are exactly what I have been seeking, and I hope to hear from you within the next week."

Salutation:  "Sincerely," or, "Very truly yours," or "Best regards."

Resignation Letter

Informing your current employer of your resignation takes tact and discretion. If they inquire as to whom your new job is with, it is best to tell them that you cannot disclose that information until your new employer announces it within his/her own organization.  The following sample letter is suitable correspondence to announce your resignation.

Dear _______________:

Please accept this letter as my formal resignation as (Title) for (Company) to become effective, as of (Date) I have accepted a position in (Location).

I believe this position will offer me more challenge and opportunity for advancement as well as allow me to broaden my own experience and knowledge.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your time and efforts in my training and advancement during the past (Time). The support and concern shown by you and the rest of the management team has been deeply appreciated.

I leave (Company) with no animosity or ill will and wish you and your company continued success. My decision is irrevocable and any counter offers extended by you and/or (Company) will be rejected.


(Your Name)
12 Traits of Peak performers

1.  A sense of mission

2.  Ability to plan strategically, for both their own careers and for projects.

3.  Courage to take risks in the pursuit of excellence

4.  High self-confidence and self-worth.

5.  Ownership of their own good ideas.

6.  Faith in their own creativity, even when others don't understand their contributions

7.  Ability to learn from past mistakes.

8.  Positive work environment, even if they have to make it so themselves.

9.  Decisiveness in the face of opportunity.

10.  Foresight to anticipate both difficulties and opportunities.

11.  Frequently evaluate and monitor progress to stay on course.

12.  A hunger for new knowledge and experiences.
Your Responses

Here's some space to note your responses to critical interview questions. Remember to be brief but sell yourself and your abilities with each answer. And don't forget to prepare a list of questions you might want to ask the interviewer.

Tell me about yourself?

What are your greatest strengths?

What are your greatest weaknesses?

Would you describe for me a typical day on the job?

What would you say is your single most noteworthy achievement or contribution in your present job?

What specific strengths do you think you can bring to this position?

What do you think it takes for a person to be successful in (fill in the specialty)?

Tell me, how would you install a standard cost-accounting system (or procedure that relates to job you are going for)?

If you ran into (a typical problem you might be expected to deal with as an employee), how would you handle it?

Tell me about the people you hired in your last job. How long did they stay with you, and how did they work out?

Can you tell me a little about how you go about making important decisions?

What are a few things your company could do to be more successful?

What do you know about our company?

Could you tell me why you are interested in this job?

Why have you decided to leave your present position? Why are you looking for another job?

What would you like to be earning two years from now?

What have been the biggest failures or frustrations in your business life?

What risks did you take in your last few jobs, and what were the results of those risks?

Think about something you consider a failure in your life, and tell me why you think it occurred?


Tells what you can do for the employer.   
Tells how you can benefit the potential employer.   
Details what you have accomplished in present and past jobs.   
Can highlight your unique accomplishments and experiences.   

Definition of F-A-B
Facts about yourself
Example: Supervisor for 8 years. Staff Accountant.
BS in accounting.
Experiences that are factual and objective.
Significant, specific results you have obtained for present or past employers.
Quantitative and measurable.
Example: Reduced scrap by 15% by doing...
Decreased operating expenses by $200K, etc...
Concrete example of what you can do for NEW employer because of past experience.
Example: Won't need long training periods.


1.    Make several copies of the blank FAB sheet on page 19.

2.    Block out time; about 1 hour.

3.    Analyze yourself and what you have done. Single out FEATURES that make up your education, years and types of experience, patents, licenses, awards won, special seminars and unique life experience.

4.    Prepare a timesheet of your history. List all positions, no matter how small, including all promotions. List all significant ACCOMPLISHMENTS for each position.  Try to quantify them with specific accomplishments.  Numbers talk.  Study them over.  Identify what you can do and how you can BENEFIT the new employer because of past experience or training. Pick the most compelling reason someone should hire you over someone else.

5.    Put the information together on the FAB form. List these FEATURES and the ACCOMPLISHMENTS for each feature. Next to it show BENEFITS as result of the Features and Accomplishments.

Try to get as many as possible. There may only be one benefit for numerous accomplishments.
Study them. Have you forgotten anything? Were there more accomplishments or benefits that you overlooked? Can you quantify anything else?

Questions to ask when doing FABs

1.    Did you help to increase sales, productivity, efficiency, etc.? What was the percentage or dollar contribution? How did you do this? Did you have a unique approach or different results from others?

2.    Did you save money for the company? What were the circumstances? How much more
$, %) than others? How were your results compared to others?

3.    Did you institute any new systems or changes? What was the situation that led to the change? Who approved? Why was this system selected over others? Did it compete with others? What happened as a result?

4.    Did you identify any problem that had been over looked? What was the problem? What was the solution? Why was it overlooked?

Were you ever promoted? Why were you promoted? How long between promotions? Did you do something outstanding? How much more responsibility? Did you get to manage people? How many? Were you promoted by     more than one party? Were you given significant salary increases or raises?

Did you train anyone? Did you develop training technique? Compare your results to others? Is your technique being used by others? Why is that?

7.    Did you suggest any new programs? What were they about? What were the results? Did they increase efficiency or sales? Were they published or presented at any industry seminars?

8.    Did you help to establish any new goals or objectives for your company? Did you convince management that they should adopt these goals or objectives? Why were they adopted?

9.    Did you change the nature or scope of your job? Why or how did you redefine your position? Have others with similar positions had their positions redefined because of you? Were there responsibility changes because of this?     What were they?

10.    Did you ever undertake a project that was not part of your responsibility because you liked the problem? This is proof of job interest as well as the ability to take initiative.

11.    Did you ever do anything to lighten your job or make it easier? (This could result in increased profits or productivity.)

12.    What special problems were you hired for or brought in to solve? What did you do? How did you do it? What were the results?

13.    Show any areas where you were creative (i.e., solutions, products, applications, markets, accounts, etc.)

14.    What would you say would be the most important qualities for the position you seek? Put yourself in the shoes of your prospective boss. Describe six qualities and look for examples you have for each of them.     How do you stack up?


(Facts about background,
experience or education)

(Quantifiable evidence of features)

(What an employer can gain from these features and achievements)


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