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Career Advice -Standard Interview Format

Business handshake

Standard Format for an Interview

Although the length may vary, most interviews follow four standard stages:

  1. Greetings & Introductions
  • Introduce yourself and shake hands with each interviewer
  • Interviewer’s goal is to utilize small talk to make you feel comfortable, calm and more relaxed in an effort to prepare you for the next part of the interview
  • Your goal is to make a strong first impression with your manners, body language and smile
  • Allow the interviewer to guide you on when and where to take a seat
  1. Question & Answer Period
  • Interviewer may begin with a brief description of the job responsibilities and the organization’s plans with respect to the position
  • Prior to beginning with their list of questions, an interviewer may begin with a general request for you to tell them a little bit more about yourself (give a brief one minute overview of your background and be sure to connect this closely with their company and the job you are applying)
  • Interviewer will ask you questions to determine whether or not you can do the job and how you will fit into the organization
  • Through this process, interviewers are also testing your communication and interpersonal skills
  • Your goal is to answer all questions effectively to clearly demonstrate your fit with the position
  • Listen closely to what the interviewer is asking you to ensure that you eliminate any doubts they may have about your suitability for this job
  1. Opportunity for You to Ask the Interviewer a Few Questions
  • Have 3 or 4 questions prepared to ask the interviewer that demonstrate your understanding of the position and the company
  • Ask questions about potential projects, training, supervision, performance evaluation and corporate goals
  • Use your questions to highlight the skills that make you suitable for this position
  • You can also use your questions to demonstrate the amount of research you have done on their company
  • Do not ask any questions during the interview that appear self-serving, such as “What will my salary be?” or “Can I have 2 week vacation in July?”
  • Questions about salary and vacation can be asked at the time a job offer is extended, but they are not appropriate for a job interview
  1. Wrap Up
  • Interviewer may use the last few minutes of the interview to discuss what happens next, such as timelines for hiring or future interview dates
  • Offer your list of references if the employer doesn’t request it
  • Your goal is to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position and express interest in their company
  • Thank the interviewer for meeting with you and shake hands
  • If you are interested in the position, ask the employer for a business card
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