Interview Tips

Interview Guide

Over the years it has been proven that it is not necessarily the most qualified person that gets the job, but rather the one who interviews the best! At Corbett Personnel Services, we can personally prepare you for each job interview.

Before the Interview

  • Plan ahead – Allow plenty of time to get to the interview.  Know the location, directions, and where to park.
  • First impressions are crucial to your success.  Dress professionally and conservatively.
  • Carry your driver’s license, social security card, pen, and money for parking.
  • Find out as much about the company as you can.  Review their website, LinkedIn, etc.

During the Interview

  • Arrive early (5 to 10 minutes)
  • Maintain direct eye contact at all times – SMILE.
  • Use positive body language.
  • Be composed and well mannered. Do not get impatient if you have to wait. Remember, you want to impress EVERYONE, not just the interviewer.
  • When asked to complete an application; do so neatly, thoroughly, and cheerfully. Many companies start the evaluation process with your application and how it is completed.
  • Sell yourself and be enthusiastic, but don’t talk too much. Two to three line responses are best.
  • Ask for the job during the interview. We suggest three times.
  • NEVER use the word “NO” during the interview.
  • The company has an immediate job opening. That is the job you are interested in and you must tell them. They have little interest in your future plans, career goals, school plans, etc. In fact, discussion of these can talk you right out of the job.
  • Never talk against a former employer.
  • Be prepared to answer questions.
  • Whether you think the interview has been successful or not, thank the interviewer for their time and courtesy. Let them know you want the job.

After the Interview

  • IMMEDIATELY call Corbett Personnel Services. It is a proven fact that the more time that elapses between the actual interview and your feedback, the less chance there is of receiving an offer.
  • CONFIDENTIALITY.  Keep all information confidential.  Discussion only creates competition.

How to Handle the Tricky Questions

EXAMPLE: What is your salary requirement?

Most people say you should avoid discussing money when you are first interviewed. However, sooner or later, the subject is bound to come up. If you haven’t thought it out in advance, you will flounder when the interviewer asks you. It is best to let the interviewer broach the subject first.

BAD: “Uh…what are you paying?”

BETTER: (Mention a range) “I was hoping for something between $30,000 and $35,000.”

BEST: “Salary is often an awkward subject. What range would you consider fair for my background?” If reversing the question does not produce results, then there is another approach. “I have been interviewing for positions ranging from $2,500 to $3,000 a month. Quick reviews, promotability, benefits, and other factors weigh into the decision. Job content and my compatibility with the boss are really more important than salary. I am sure you would try to be fair with me.”

EXAMPLE: What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Read this question to mean: Is the job we have what you want to be doing for a while? Will you stick with this job or be looking to jump somewhere else where your goals can be fulfilled better? Hedge here and give a politician’s answer.

BAD: “I really want to be an office manager.” “I’d really like to return to school and get my accounting degree.”

BETTER: “Well, I like accounting and administrative work. I see myself doing more of it and doing it better.”

BEST: “My long range plans depend a great deal on the type of job I take now. Whatever company I commit to, I hope to be recognized for top performance and gain more responsibility over the years. In five years, I hope to be contributing significantly more to the company I join today.”


Tips for a Successful Phone Interview

Companies are more frequently using phone interviews early in their screening process. Do not underestimate their importance. Treat a phone interview as you would an in-person interview.

  • Work with your Service Coordinator to set up a specific time for the call.
  • Make sure your voicemail message is courteous, professional, and includes your name.
  • Conduct the interview in a separate room in order to avoid any potential distractions. (i.e. radio, television, background conversations, etc.)
  • Do your homework and have notes in regards to the company and the position.
  • Have your resume handy. This will help ensure that you are organized and articulate during the interview.
  • Review our responses to interview questions document.
  • Have your calendar on hand, so you may suggest dates that would be convenient for a
    face-to-face meeting.

Frequently Asked Interview Questions

Familiarize yourself with the questions and practice how you would respond to each during an interview.

  • Will you please tell me about your personal background?
  • What has been your work experience?
  • Would you rather work by yourself or with others?
  • What courses in school did you like the best? The least?
  • If you had a choice, what do you think would be the best kind of job for you?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What attributes do you think you have to offer this company?
  • Why did you select a _____________ career?
  • What two or three accomplishments in life have given you the most satisfaction?
  • What rewards do you expect from a business career?
  • What jobs have you enjoyed the most? The least?
  • Tell me about a typical day on your last job.
  • Describe the kind of position you are seeking.
  • What do you think past employers would say about you?
  • Can you work with minimum supervision?
  • What types of promotions or job changes have you received in the past?
  • In what kind of work atmosphere are you most comfortable?
  • How do you handle pressure?
  • Is salary more important to you than the type of work you do?
  • What major problem have you encountered in school or on the job? How did you deal with it?

Responding to “Do You Have Any Questions?”

If you answer, “No, I think you have covered everything”, you are making a big mistake. Most interviewers judge your interest, intelligence, and personality by the questions you ask. Questions give you
the opportunity to:

  • Show your interest.
  • Learn more about the company, its products/services, and history.
  • Learn further details about the job, the people, and the most important attributes desired.
  • Get to know and become friends with the interviewer and increase your odds of receiving an offer. Don’t cut yourself short! Fire away!
  • How long has the company been in business? How many employees? What products/services are involved? Could you give me a brief history of the company’s growth?
  • What has been appreciated the most about the people that have held this position in the past?
  • What are some pet peeves or trouble spots that others had that you would like to avoid or improve upon with the next person hired?
  • What skills, background, personality style, and other attributes are preferred in this position?
  • What do you think are the most important priorities for doing this job well?
  • What does the (typing load, marketing, cold calling, accounting, statistical work, data entry, customer service, analysis, liaison work) consist of?
  • What percentage of time is usually needed to take care of the (typing, budget work, data entry, etc.) on a daily or weekly basis?
  • Would (letter composition, compiling reports, budget work, customer contact, liaison work, problem solving, etc.) be a part of the job?
  • Does the boss need personal work and errands taken care of by his assistant?
    What type of personal work?
  • Do others, besides the boss, need to utilize this particular person? In what ways?
  • Why is this position open?
  • What have others found to be the most challenging aspect of this job? The most difficult? Most tedious? Most enjoyable? Most time consuming? Least interesting?
  • How long have you been with the company? What have you liked about working here? What kind of changed have you seen since you have been here?
  • What are the personality traits of the people I will be working with? Are there difficulties I should
    be aware of?
  • How much initiative, decision making, problem solving, is expected of the person in this job? What examples can you give me?
  • What kind of training is involved?
  • What have others that have been top performers experienced in growth opportunities or
    added responsibilities?
  • How are performance evaluations made for this position? When are evaluations made?
  • Would it be possible to take a tour of the company and see the area I would be assigned to?
  • How many candidates do you plan to interview for this position? When do you hope to make a decision or bring an applicant back for a second interview?
  • Do you anticipate that I will be in the running for this position? Then clearly express a desire
    for the position.

NOTE: Avoid asking questions about money, benefits, and time off. The objective to most questions is to show how you care about doing a good job. Ask not what this company can do for you, but what you can do for this company!

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