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The Interview Process: The Interview!

After all of the work get­ting your resume together, researching the company, planning ahead, and pre­paring for the interview… the day has arrived. Hopefully at this point you are relaxed and confident. So what now?!

First things first. Look in the mirror. Are you dressed professionally? First impressions during an interview count for a lot. Most interviews can last from 30 to 45 minutes. That’s a short amount of time to make a strong impression, so if you walk into an interview wearing a tie that is ripped, a shirt that may be falling apart, or even shoes that are not clean (if it’s bad weather, you can change your shoes in the restroom before your actual interview) you will start off the process with a bad impression. So take the time to make sure you look extremely presentable.

Next, make sure you bring a copy of your re­sume with you. In fact bring a few copies. You nev­er know how many people you may meet. Better to have more copies of your resume, then not have enough.

During the interview itself, the recruiter will ask you all sorts of questions. There are several different types of interview techniques. One of them is to ask a certain set of questions to every applicant. Mean­ing the recruiter/hiring manager will follow a set list of questions, and ask the applicant the same ques­tions in the same order. Some recruiters use a dif­ferent method whereas after the initial question, the recruiter will ask a follow up question, depend­ing on your initial response. For example, after ask­ing an applicant if they have previous experience managing a difficult employee, the interviewer may ask specific questions about an incident, to evalu­ate how the applicant responded to that incident.

No matter what method the interviewer uses, be prepared to talk about your background, and do your best to highlight the key aspects of your pre­vious responsibilities that this position will encom­pass as well. If you are applying for an accounting role, focus on the responsibilities you had working in that position. Focusing on other aspects of your job that are not related to accounting can lead to distractions from your strengths. Speak about how you can help the company, and why you would be a valuable asset. Most companies will hire applicants who will fit into their organizational culture. This is the time to show the interviewer that you belong in this role with this organization.

Other types of questions the interviewer may ask are: why you left or are looking to leave your most recent position; why did you choose this ca­reer path; where do you see yourself in 5/10 years; where do you see the industry in the long run; what is the most important tool, a company should use, to support their staff; or ask about your challenges at previous positions. These are just examples, and depending on the role you are applying for, there could be a variety of questions. One strong recom­mendation is never to speak negatively about the previous companies you have worked for. You may have had some difficult experiences in the past, but making the old organization look bad will not sit well with the recruiter.

You may ask questions during the interview, as long as they are related to the specific topic the in­terviewer brought up. Asking about paid time off, while the recruiter is asking you about your educa­tional background is not appropriate at this time.

The recruiter/hiring manger should not be ask­ing you any personal questions, or questions that are not directly related to the position or compa­ny. You have every right to politely refuse to an­swer questions that are of a personal nature- such as religious background, your family, etc. Recruit­ers/hiring managers are required to base their de­cision on your qualifications. There are various laws protecting applicants, and if you do feel that those rights were violated, you can speak to a profession­al about your options.

Towards the end of the interview, many recruit­ers will ask if the applicant has any questions. This is the opportunity to ask any lingering questions you may have. You can ask about specific responsibili­ties that the job entails, or general questions about the company (such as the organizational hierarchy). If you are meeting with an HR professional, you may ask about the various benefits the company offers, including paid time off, health and dental bene­fits, etc. Some companies will hand out information about their benefit packages for you to review.

After the interview, you should write a thank you note (which can be done via email) to anyone who you may have met with. This could include the recruiter, hiring manager, or a peer interviewer. The note should be simple and short showing appreci­ation for the time they spent with you, and express­ing interest in the next steps- if you are interested in the position.

As mentioned before, many people find the in­terview process frightening. That’s ok. You can be nervous, just keep in mind the following: You do not want to sell them someone or something you aren’t. That will come back to haunt you. So Be hon­est. Be confident. Be yourself!

Yoni Lieber is a certified HR professional with over 15 years of experience in the Human Resources field. He currently works as the Human Resources Manager at HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley, in Westwood NJ. If you have an HR question, or would like to see a specific topic discussed, please feel free to email Yoni at jlbchr@ gmail.com.

By Yoni Lieber, SPHR

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