The Interview: How to Ace the Game

Interview Dos and Don’ts

1) If your interviewer is colloquial with you, don’t be colloquial back.

During a recent interview I had with an employer and his assistant, the assistant dropped the f-bomb.  I was shocked and didn’t know how to react (laugh, pretend it never happened, start talking slang, etc.) but at the end I chose to be professional.  That is the safest way out.  Don’t let your guard down.

2) Be prepared for a conference call.

A friend of mine had an interview and she was shocked to discover that it wasn’t just one person interviewing her but several people.  Because she was unprepared, she gave a bad interview because she was so paranoid with the whispering that her interviewers were having amongst each other.

3) Research the company.

Be prepared to know who the President of the Company is; who the competitors are; when the establishment was founded; what the mission of the company is;

4) Offer Alternatives if you can’t do in-person interviews.

If they say that they don’t do phone interviews, ask if they participate in Skype before you give up that gig.

5) Overdressing is better than under dressing.

In Hawaii, people are too casual.  But, always dress to impress.  Make sure your nails are clean and well groomed.  Make sure you have covered shoes.

Interviewers like questions!

6) Interviewers  may ask you to start the interview with some questions for the company so you should be prepared to have one.  That was a mistake that I made in an interview (I did not prepare well) and when my interviewer asked me to start off with a question, I froze.  The result:  I did not get the position.  So be prepared to ask something!  It can be anything from questions about their company or how the interviewer joined the company. 

7) If you list a foreign language as a skill be prepared to have a conversation using it. Sometimes employers will ask you to speak to them in that foreign language.   One of my friend’s majored in Chinese and she was interviewing for a English teaching position in China.  The interviewers asked her is she could have a conversation with them in Mandarin.  Let’s just say that she could only tell them she liked horses.

8) Have some personality!

I recently asked an interviewer, who has done years of interviewing, whether stoicism was better to present or personality.  She said that most interviewers guage a person’s personality and how the person responds to questions.  Aside from qualifications, most employers are checking how you would get along with the other people in the work place.  If your employer makes a joke, it’s ok to smile.

9) SELL YOURSELF even if those skills are not needed for the job description

Bring other material of your work and relate that to the company and how you can make the company better.  Even if the job description does not require you to include other materials and skills, you can try to relate seemingly unrelated projects and skills that you have to the job.  Not only does that make you look more diverse, but it also allows your interviewer to see you in possibilities other than that you are interviewing for.

For example, I recently applied to company in the financial industry as a Branch Sales Associate.  During the meeting, I brought in examples of my work in college, including a startup magazine project that I directed.  After two interviews for the position, my interviewers referred me to HR, who gave me the green light to interview for a Marketing position.

Know why you want to work there.

Interviewers want to see genuine interest.  They do not want employees who do not have a real desire to work with their institution.  So have a good and specific reason why you want to work with them and not somewhere else.  Be sincere.

Salary is always negotiable.

Sometimes they will ask you for your minimum.  If they press it, say it’s negotiable.   Employers are looking for ways to cut you out.  If you ask for too much, they may not be able to afford your services and will cut you out.  If you ask for too little, they may not take you seriously.

Cater your answers in relation to the company.

If your goal is to grow with a company, say you want to grow with a company like this one.

If you are interviewing for a financial company, say that you want to interview with a financial company like this one.

Always bring your answers back to how you can benefit the company and how the company can benefit you.


If they give you a problem-solving task, no matter how difficult or ridiculous the request is, try to fulfill it.  Never say that you give up or that it is too hard.  Even if you have to give a “dumb” answer, at least you are showing that you are trying.  Interviewers are judging you on your ability to try, not give up.


Interview Questions to Prepare For

The number one biggest question is: What do you know about our company?

Afterwards, they typically ask you about yourself with questions such as:

• What are your long term and short term goals?
• What is your policy on customer service?
• Have you ever gotten angry at someone and how did you deal with it?
• How is your attendance?
• How would you describe yourself?
• What did you like about your former boss?
• Why do you want to work with us?
• What keeps you motivated?
• Are you going back to the mainland?
• What is the difference between a bank and a federal credit union? (when i applied to a fcu)
• How do you regard your projects?
• Give me an example of a time I really persevered.
• What do you think about team work?
• What is your weakness?
• What is an example of you going above and beyond?
• What is your minimum salary?
• Why should we choose you over other applicants?
• Tell me about yourself.
• Do you have any questions for me?

• They also wanted to test my analytical and creative skills by asking me to sell them a pen for five dollars and tell them how I would plan an event.

I know this looks scary but the key is to remain flexible and calm. Good luck!

  1. wise words from wise women who drink from the fountain of knowledge.
    I love this article ..u guys are like the answer to all unemployment problems please keep it up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: