Face-to-face Interviews

 A face-to-face interview continues to be the most common interview situation. You may meet with one person, or a group or panel. You may meet with several people, one at a time.


Here’s a checklist of things to bring to the interview.

Turn off your cell phone and pager.

Dress for the occasion. Put your best foot forward. While daily dress may be more casual, it’s best to wear a suit, or conservative dress for an interview.

  • Polish your shoes.
  • Clothing should be clean and pressed.
  • Check your tie for spots.
  • Keep your jacket on during the interview, even if they remove theirs.
  • Don’t wear distracting jewelry.
  • Hair should be clean, dry and controlled.
  • Makeup should enhance your features. It is not a mask.

Cologne and aftershave will be your undoing if the interviewer (or anyone else you meet) has allergies or asthma. Don’t wear anything that has perfume or a heavy scent.

Don’t smoke before your interview, and don’t chew gum.

Don’t show up too early for the interview.

Pay Attention to your Body Language:

During the interview, it’s important to pay attention to your body language. Greet everyone with a smile and a firm handshake.

  • This starts the minute you are on the premises. At that point, everyone is a potential character witness.

Make and maintain eye contact. If you are being interviewed by a panel, be sure to direct your attention to the person speaking.

Keep your hands in your lap, or on the table in front of you. Try to avoid crossing your arms. Avoid large hand gestures.

Speak slowly and clearly; enunciate your words.

Answering questions during the interview:

The interviewer is not your friend. Don’t get too comfortable.

  • Do not use slang; do not use curse words.
  • Do not discuss anything personal, including age, marital status, children (or grandchildren).
  • This is a business discussion. Stay on topic.
  • Do not make any negative comments about your present or past employer.

When responding to the “tell me about yourself” question, respond with your business experience. What the interviewer wants to know is why you have chosen this particular career path.

Don’t discuss politics or personal causes. If you are asked about your interests outside of work, discuss things like hobbies or sporting activities.

Answers you should have prepared:

Be prepared to discuss 3 reasons why you are seeking a new position. Maintain a positive perspective. Put a positive spin on why you are available or why you are leaving a current position.

Be prepared to discuss your strengths and weaknesses as well as your competitive edge. Turn your weaknesses into strengths.

If you are asked technical questions, do not guess at the answer. Employers do not want you making careless guesses on the job that could be costly. Simply say you don’t know the answer.

Wrapping up the interview:

If you are still interested in the position, be sure to say so!

The first interview is not the time to discuss money.

Ask any of the questions you have prepared, or any that have come up during the interview.

Ask about the next steps in the hiring process.

Don’t prolong the interview; if you don’t have any questions right then, ask if you can contact them later.

Thank everyone for their time, again with a firm handshake and a warm smile.

After the interview:

Write a thank-you note immediately. Email thank-you notes are fine.

There are many resources on the internet about acing an interview. Try the videos on about.com for some good tips.

10 Job Interview Tips from a CEO Headhunter

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