Dyna Lync Resource Services - Interview Tips

Dyna Lync can help you master any interview.

Resource Services - Interview Tips


Create A Rapport With Your Interviewer

Every job candidate hopes to click with an interviewer, creating the rapport that will result in a job offer. But getting an interviewer to like you is trickier than you might think. Trying to act a certain way or say all the right things will only get you so far and can even backfire. It's your ability to relate to your interviewer that creates rapport.

When rapport is strong, the give-and-take of interviewing creates a mutual relationship. When rapport is weak or missing, it's more likely that you won't get hired. That's why learning how to build and maintain rapport should be at the top of every job seekers list of critical interpersonal skills. Here are some tips to building a relationship:

Don't Go For The Obvious

Some job seekers mistakenly believe they can build rapport by opening the conversation with a compliment, such as something bland about a family photo, an autographed baseball, the view, etc. The problem with this approach is that it's trite. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people who have entered that office have already used these obvious conversation starters. Another common error is to begin the conversation by mentioning a shared cultural experience, such as a recent sporting event. While such a conversation can build a mutual interest, it's not easily redirected to your ability to contribute your skills to the organization.

Open With a Relevant Comment

Obvious ploys suggest to a prospective employer that you haven't researched the company and are just winging it. It's more effective to open with a business-related remark or a question that builds immediate momentum toward your goal of getting hired and fulfilling the employer's needs. For example, you might begin an interview with a technically oriented manager by mentioning you noticed she recently presented a paper at a conference. Then ask a question indicating your interest in what the manager had to say. If available, check out the interviewer's biography. You might remark, for instance, that you noticed from her bio that her previous experience was in a different industry -- and then ask what's different about being a leader where she is now.

Ultimately, the specific content of your initial remark is less important than what making it demonstrates about you as an individual and how you could contribute as an employee. The hidden message, and the rapport-building power, of the opening remark is that you care enough about this employment opportunity to make the extra effort to distinguish yourself from the crowd.

Think of The Interviewer As Just Another Person

Your overall attitude is also essential. When you first meet a prospective employer, visualize that person not as an inquisitor sitting in judgment, but as an honoured guest in your home. If you're like most people, when you welcome guests into your home, you are glad to see them, and you want to make them feel welcome and at ease.

While the specifics of what you might say to an interviewer will be quite different from your conversation with a houseguest, the motivation and attitude behind the words should be the same. Just as you graciously do your best to make your guest comfortable, when you meet with an interviewer, find it within yourself to be truly grateful for the opportunity to meet this individual.

However, don't try to be too friendly too quickly, or you may come off as phony. Instead, hold yourself back, and increase your level of curiosity. Be interested in the interviewer as a person, and let the rapport emerge naturally during the conversation.

Interview Dos & Don'ts

What is the single most important piece of advice you can offer someone who is about to go into a job interview?

Always put yourself in the shoes of the person conducting the interview. Keep in mind that person's agenda: to determine whether you have the skills, personal attributes and motivation to be successful in the job. What you are ultimately "selling" during a job interview are those elements of your background, skills and personality that can make a significant contribution to the company interviewing you.

How truthful should you be when answering interview questions?

As truthful as possible - without going out of your way to volunteer information that could work against you. A lot depends, too, on what type of question you're being asked. It's one thing to make an overstatement when offering an opinion on your ability to handle a particular kind of assignment, as in, "I think I could handle that problem very well." But misrepresenting specific facts about your background that can be verified is another thing altogether. Even small misrepresentations can cost you dearly, casting doubt on everything else you've said during the interview and on your resume.

What's the best way to respond if you feel that an interviewer is treating you unfairly or disrespectfully?

First, try to determine whether the interviewer's behavior is deliberately designed to put you under pressure - a test of sorts to see how you'll respond to pressure if you're hired. This doesn't happen too often, but it could well happen when the ability to keep your cool under pressure is a key qualification for the job. But if you're dealing with a person who is being genuinely nasty, it doesn't pay to make a scene - unless the remarks become blatant, which rarely happens. Keep your cool. Stay poised and professional. And thank your lucky stars that you won't have to deal with that person ever again after the interview is over.

How do you overcome the "We think you're overqualified" objection?

When someone says to you, "We think you're overqualified," he or she most likely is concerned about whether you're truly interested in this job, whether you will be motivated to do your best, and whether you'll be satisfied with a salary that is probably lower than that to which you're accustomed. Rather than argue whether or not you are overqualified, address the concerns. Give the person a reason to believe that you are enthusiastic about the job, that you are motivated, and that the salary drop is not going to be an issue. Stress the fact that the firm is getting added value by hiring you.

Interview Tips - Preparation

Preparation is essential to remaining calm under pressure and is the first step toward a successful interview. Here are some tips:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to get there.
  • Ask about parking availability before you go.
  • Know the exact place and time of the meeting, the interviewer's full name (including correct pronunciation) and his or her title.
  • Research the company through the Internet or the library to learn relevant facts such as annual sales revenue, principal lines of business and locations.
  • Look your professional best. Wear business attire in neutral colors and be conservative in your use of fragrance, cosmetics and jewelry.
  • Organize the night before. Your interview clothing, briefcase and portfolio should all be prepared. Get a good night's rest.
  • Re-read your resume before the interview.
  • Arrive poised and confident. Bring several copies of your resume and a list of references. Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and an enthusiastic smile.

Interview Dos

Arrive on time or a few minutes early.

  • If presented with an application, fill it out neatly and completely. Don't attach your resume unless you're told to do so.
  • Greet the interviewer by last name if you are sure of the pronunciation. If not, ask the employer to repeat it.
  • Project energy and enthusiasm. Smile and shake hands firmly.
  • Wait until you're offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright, look alert and interested at all times.
  • Listen carefully and respond succinctly and articulately. Look the hiring manager in the eye while speaking.
  • Early in the meeting, try to get the interviewer to describe the job and the duties to you so you can focus your responses on your background, skills and accomplishments that relate to the position.
  • Be sincere and truthful while focusing on communicating your specific professional achievements that relate to the accounting or finance job opening.

Interview Don'ts

Don't answer with a simple "yes" or "no." Explain whenever possible.

  • If you don't understand a question - or need a moment to think about it - say so. Never pretend to know something or someone when you don't.
  • Don't rely on your application or resume to do the selling for you. Interviewers will want you to be convincing.
  • Don't make negative remarks about present or former employers. When explaining your reasons for leaving, communicate your rationale professionally.
  • Don't over-answer questions. If the interviewer steers the conversation into controversial - or even illegal - topics, try to do more listening than speaking. Keep your responses non-committal.
  • Don't inquire about salary, vacations, benefits, bonuses or retirement on the initial interview unless you are sure the employer is interested in hiring you. If the interviewer asks what salary you want, give a range based on your research of the job market, but indicate that you're more interested in the opportunity for continued learning and professional development than in a specific salary.

Be Prepared to Answer Questions

Tell me about yourself. Be prepared to respond to the question, "Tell me about yourself," by creating a 15-second "sound bite" that describes your professional background and strongest skills in two or three sentences. Vary your response according to the specific job opportunity and offer a brief description of why you would be a good fit for the position. One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to rehearse with a tape recorder and then critique your answers.

Tell me about your background, accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses. Employers who ask this question are usually looking for a short synopsis of your experience. Be sure to demonstrate how you've developed professionally and be objective when listing your strengths and weaknesses.

How would you describe your most recent job performance? Hiring managers tend to ask this question in order to gauge your level of enthusiasm for the work that you do. They're also looking for a direct connection between your current position and the one for which you're applying.

What interests you about our company? This question seems straightforward, but it can sometimes be difficult to answer if you haven't thought about it beforehand. There are two important factors to include in your answer. The first is to use your knowledge of the company to show your sincere interest. Second, give a specific reason the position for which you're applying appeals to you (other than the fact that you need a job).

Who was your most difficult boss and why? It's imperative to be as diplomatic as possible when answering this question. Avoid becoming too personal; instead, focus on your previous supervisor's management style and the manner in which he or she communicated. The interviewer is looking for some indication as to how well you would get along with your future boss, if you were hired.

What outside activities are most significant to your personal development? Many employers ask this question to see what kind of balance you are looking for between your personal and professional lives. While it's good to list one or two activities, be careful not to list too many activities as the employer may wonder if outside interest will interfere with your work.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten years? Avoid mapping out a detailed plan when answering this question. Instead, describe what you feel is the next logical step or steps in your career path.

Ask Questions

Be prepared to ask questions of the hiring manager during the interview that are based on your research of the company and industry. Insightful and pertinent questions will demonstrate that you've done your homework and that you're serious about the position. And your questions will help both of you determine if you are the right match for the job.

Know what questions NOT to ask. Don't inquire about vacation time, benefits or your office space at the first interview. These questions are appropriate only after the hiring manager has expressed serious interest in offering you the position. Here are some questions you might ask:

  • What would I be expected to accomplish in this position?
  • Don't rely on your application or resume to do the selling for you. Interviewers will want you to be convincing.
  • What are the greatest challenges in this position?
  • How do you think I fit the position?


Be proactive

Reiterate your interest in the job and the company by asking about the next step in the process.

If you get the impression the interview is not going well, don't let your discouragement show. Remain poised, upbeat and professional. There may be other opportunities in the company that would be a better fit.

Be enthusiastic about the job and the company. The people you meet during your job search and at your interviews can become valuable networking sources, even if you don't get the job.