Openings and Closings: Inside the Job Interview




The interview can convert a job seeker into a bundle of nerves. A lot may be on the line, such as a chance at a job you really want, a job that can deliver you from the lousy one you have now, or – well, just a job to take you off the unemployment line.

The antidote to that is to come in focused and prepared, from start to finish. You can bet that your interviewer will be, with prepared questions. There are two questions you should expect and be prepared to answer: one an icebreaker at the outset of the interview and the other at the end to gauge the candidate’s interest.

Tell me about yourself.”

This icebreaker is intended not so much to get you to relax (although that can be a welcome secondary effect) as it is to see how focused you are with your answer. Your mission here is to link your skills and background with the job requirements and the company’s needs. Limit it to 30 seconds and look the hiring manager in the eye. Give him or her a clear picture of how you would fit in.

“Do you have any questions for me?”

You always want to have questions for the hiring manager. No exceptions! Passing up the chance to ask questions sends a clear signal that you’re not interested in the job. This is your opportunity to show you’ve done research on the company and want to find out more so you have a clearer picture of the company, the job and your potential boss. Here are three good ones:

  • How would you describe your management style?
  • A 10 percent revenue increase over the next year seems like an ambitious goal. How does the company plan to accomplish that?
  • Assume it’s 60 days after you hire the person for the job. What are the things that will make you sit back and say, “Yes, I hired the right person.”?

Just by landing the interview, the hiring manager believes you’re qualified. The interview is your chance to boost your candidacy so that you’ll be called back for a second interview. Make a good first impression – and a last impression, and you may get called to come back in.



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