yesterday when I was trapped in the traffic to go home, I got to think about an interview I conducted earlier of the week.

how “immature” it was, at least for my own opinion, the quality of the way a candidate answered a question I asked.

I went through a lot of interviews, the years that I started my career live and I’ve been interviewing a lot of candidates until today, I can say that only a handful made some good impressions to me.

So I made a decision to dig my archive and post this interview tips I got from a headhunter, back in 2003. I have shared this with a lot of people before, I have positive feedback all the time, Alhamdulillah.

Read and practice, it is still very much “valid” and believe me, if you come to an interview where I am the interviewer, ill hire YOU! Because, kids, its not just about the papers you are holding, I dont care if you have Dean’s awards, if you started to tell me the names of all your siblings from Along to Acu when I told you to tell me about yourself and your family background, Wallahi, all you wll get from me is a yawn!

Interview Tips

1. Do you know where the interview is and how long it takes to get there?

2. What do you know about the company where you are interviewing?

3. Do you have a list of questions ready to ask your interviewer?

4. Are you dressed appropriately?

5. Do you have extra copies of your resume?

6. Do you know who your interviewer will be?

7. Are you ready to speak clearly and succinctly about your work experience?

8. Have you turned off your cell phone or pager?

9. Do you have names and contact information for your references?

10. Have you practiced answering open-ended questions you thought the interviewer might ask (such as “Tell me about yourself?”)?


Arriving late to the interview.

Forgetting to turn off your cell phone or pager.

Giving the interviewer a flimsy or clammy handshake.

Wearing inappropriate attire and overdosing on cologne or perfume.

Bad mouthing a previous employer during the interview.

Focusing on salary and not the job itself.

Lacking enthusiasm about the position or employer.

Providing one word answers to questions.

Not making any eye contact.

Failure to ask the employer any questions.

Using poor grammar or slang.

Failing to send out thank you notes after the interview.

Focusing on your weaknesses and past failures.

Revealing too much about your personal life.

Neglecting to link past experience with the needs of the employer.

Sloppy handwriting on an application.

Indecisive about the direction of your career.

Acting overly aggressive or displaying a superiority complex.

Clueless about the industry of the company.

Demonstrating poor body language such as fidgeting and slouching.

Give Winning Answers to Common Get-to-Know-You Questions

Employers want to know more about you than just your work history. They are also interested in finding out what drives you to succeed. Therefore,many employers are turning to behavioral-based questions to guide the interviewing process. This means a simple “yes” or “no” response won’t get you very far. You will need to provide the interviewer with well-thought out answers, which include specific examples of your accomplishments.


“Tell me about yourself.”

Don’t start off by sharing your whole life story. Instead, describe your greatest skills, accomplishments and qualifications as they relate to the job requirements. Indicate how you have saved time and money or implemented any new procedures.

“Describe your strengths and weaknesses.”

This one’s a classic. Describing your strengths is always the easy part. Try to pick out a few strong points and back them up with specific examples, such as “why” you are a team player. Now comes the hard part. Zooming in on your weaknesses is never pleasant, so don’t dwell on it. Turn negative experiences into positive ones by reflecting on lessons learned.

“Where do you want to be 3-5 years from now?”

This is more or less a career goal question. However, the interviewer might also want to see if you’re the type to jump ship in six months. Try and ease their concerns by stating your desire to progress within the position and company.

“What made you decide to apply for this position?”

Briefly explain how your current skills match the stated requirements for the position. Be sure to include how you were attracted to the organization based on what you discovered while researching the company.

“Describe your major successes or failures.”

Similar to the strengths and weaknesses question, you should elaborate with scenarios and anecdotes as to how you achieved success. On the flip side, downplay your failures by discussing how you used them to better understand a business challenge, or life lessons.

“I noticed you have had three different jobs in the past 4 years. Why did you make so many changes in such a short period of time?”

If you have a history of job-hopping, employers are going to notice and ask about it. The best thing to do is focus on the positives. Starting with, “My boss was a total jerk,” is not a good way to get the ball rolling. Instead, say something upbeat like, “I was looking for a bigger challenge,” or “I wanted to enhance my skills.” If you were fired from a job, don’t lie about it; inevitably it will come back to haunt you.

“What do you know about XYZ Company? Or the industry in general?”

Once again, this is where your company research will come in handy. Make a positive impression by demonstrating your knowledge along with the fact you did some homework prior to the interview.

“Based on our discussion, what questions do you have about the company or position?”

Hopefully, you took our advice when we told you about what to ask the employer. Even if the interviewer did a fantastic job explaining the facts, you should always have some additional questions to pose. Try personalizing it by asking what drew them to the company and their vision of where the corporation is going.

“Tell me how you prioritize projects when you have several assignments due at one time.”

Organizational skills are key in this answer. Be sure to give examples of deadlines you have met under pressure and how you accomplished them.

“Why should we hire you?”

This is one of the most basic questions. If you have prepared for the interview, it should be an easy one to answer. Tie together your top accomplishments and experiences relative to the position you are applying for, along with reasons why you are different from your peers.

“What kind of salary are you expecting?”

Don’t give a flat dollar amount. If they insist on a number, give them a range. You also could try answering with a question such as, “How much do you usually pay a person with my experience?” This tactic will allow you to toss the inquiry back to the employer making them disclose the first figure.

At the end of the interview, chances are pretty high that you’ll be given an opportunity to ask questions. Now it’s your time to really shine. Impress the employer by having a list of prepared questions. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Can you describe a typical day for a person in this position?

Who would be my immediate supervisor?

Can you tell me about the company’s future growth plans?

What are your expectations of the person you hire for this position?

What does it take to be successful at this company?

Finally – Good luck and ill see at at the board room! đŸ™‚