During the Interview

Creating the right image  |  Questions about strengths and goals  |  Questions about weaknesses  |  Asking questions  |  Closing the interview

Creating the Right image

  •  Arrive 10-15 minutes early.
  • Turn off your cell phone or leave it in the car.
  • If needed, use mints–not chewing gum.
  • Be courteous and friendly to everyone you meet.
  • Shake hands firmly.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Wait for invitation to be seated.
  • Listen actively.
  • Speak in a clear, moderate voice.
  • Do not criticize past employers or coworkers (always be positive).
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm and interest.
  • Ask for business cards.

Questions about your strengths and goals

You can prepare for this type of question by doing a self-assessment of your values, interests, skills and personality characteristics, and by researching the employer.

  • What have you learned from some of your previous jobs?
  • Why did you choose your major/WMU?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What would be your ideal position?
  • How can you contribute to our organization?
  • How do you interact best with your supervisors?
  • How much independence or flexibility do you like?
  • How do you define success?
  • What are your expectations of your future employer?
  • What interests you about this position and our organization?
  • How have your educational and work experiences prepared you for this position?

Questions About Your Weaknesses

Employers want to learn about both your strengths and weaknesses. The goal is to describe weaknesses as things you are aware of and working on. Show the interviewer you are a positive, proactive person, who learns from mistakes and takes responsibility for your own learning and errors.

  • Using a strength of yours, describe the strategies you use to avoid “overusing” your strength to the point of it becoming a “weakness.”
  • Describe the undesirable outcome you experienced (without blaming others) and end your story with a summary of what you learned from the experience or what you would do differently next time.
  • Describe a limitation or least favorite part of the job. Make sure this is not something that is critical to perform competently in the job for which you are applying.
  • Cite a weakness that you are working to correct and provide concrete examples of what you are doing to fix the problem, the progress you have made, and how these improvements will help the employer.
  • Cite a learning objective. After reviewing the job description, you may discover that part of the job requires more skill and experience than you now have. Rather than assuming the potential employer will not notice this weakness, develop a strategy to compensate for it.

Asking Questions

  • Your questions are a good indicator of your true interest and commitment to the position and the company.
  • Refer to the prepared list of questions based on your research and ask at least one question about the information given to you during the interview.
  • Don’t ask questions to which you can easily find answers.
  • The interviewer may ask if you have any additional questions. If you have no other questions, don’t try to make one up; instead, reiterate your fit for the position and the organization.

Questions you can ask

  • What orientation and training program is provided for new hires?
  • I read that you are planning a warehouse expansion. How will the expansion affect the work of the materials handling department?
  • What are the major projects the person in the position will be working on in the first six months?
  • What are the next steps in the process?
  • I don't have additional questions right now, and I'd like you to know that I think this position is a good fit for my skills and my desire to work for XYZ Company. Is there anything else you'd like me to know today that I have not asked about?

Closing the interview

  • Leave a final positive impression of yourself.
  • Make eye contact, shake hands and thank the interviewer(s).
  • Indicate that you would like the job.
  • Ask for business cards from the people you met, if unavailable, write down their names.
  • Call human resources to confirm spelling and get addresses/emails.
  • Make some notes to yourself immediately after the interview about each interviewer’s comments. This will help you write thank you notes and reflect on your impression of the organization.
  • Write down the interview questions that were difficult for you to answer. Try to determine why the employer was asking the question and what attributes or experience they were looking for.
  • Send thank you notes to all interviewers within 24 hours, expressing appreciation and enthusiasm, reemphasizing your fit for the position and commenting on something you learned about the organization.
  • If you accept another offer, call other employers where you interviewed and withdraw your application.

"Ms. Smith, it’s been a pleasure interviewing with you, and I look forward to hearing from you next week."

"Thank you for meeting with me today to discuss the ABC position with XYZ Company. I am very interested in this position.