Get to Work! – Career Counseling Series Part VIII: The Interview

This is it – We have made it to the INTERVIEW! This will be the last post in the Career and Blog Counseling Series in honor of Counseling Awareness month (which ended in April).

Defining Success
Career Goal Setting
Creating a Plan
Career Research
Resume Writing
Cover Letter Writing
Informational Interviews

Get to Work! – Career Counseling Series Part VIII: The Interview

meeting room

What is the interview and why is it important?

A job interview is a conversation between you and an employer to assess your fit with the job and company. This interview will give you an opportunity to elaborate on your resume and describe why you would be a valuable asset to that particular company/brand. This doesn’t mean you should spend the entire time bragging but it is does mean that you should be able to talk about your skills and capabilities in a way that puts you in a positive light.

Keys to a Successful Job interview

  1. Preparation. This includes:
    • Attire. Get interview appropriate attire; dry clean what you already have; make sure you have pantyhose with no runs, etc.
    • Company Knowledge. Know the company’s: industry; mission; clients; competition; names of senior management; website; as well as industry articles/publications.
    • Your resume. Have several copies of your resume and references.
    • Practice. Practice answering common interview questions. See below.
  2. Exuding confidence and positivism. ALWAYS be positive. Even when asked about leaving a job you didn’t like. This isn’t the place to out your company for being unprofessional or tell stories about your old (or current) boss. If they ask why you are leaving you can always stay positive (even if you are leaving because your boss is/was a giant jerk):
      • “I have out grown that position. I learned a lot and it is time to move on.”
      • “There was no opportunity for growth and I had done what I could there.”
      • “I enjoyed my time at the company but it is time for something new. I want to put my skills to work in a new environment.

3.  Building rapport quickly. It won’t take long for you to figure out if your interviewer/s are a group that you can professionally and appropriately joke with or at least be comfortably honest with. Sometimes, you may even discover that you don’t want the job and that the people are not a good fit for you. That is OK, too! 

4.  Pitching. Emphasize your fit. Help the interviewer to understand how you can help meet the company’s mission/goals.

5.  Selling Yourself. Provide details (from resume – but not word for word) to build your case as a good fit; cover what YOU want to, even if the interviewer isn’t asking you. Don’t go off topic- but you can always find a way to work in the important stuff about yourself even if you aren’t asked directly.

Common Interview Questions
There are some common interview questions that should always be a part of your preparation.  Be prepared to talk about both strengths and weaknesses.  No one expects you to be perfect and if you act as though you have no weaknesses people will assume you are conceited and won’t hire you.

Some questions that you should be prepared to answer:

      • Tell me a little bit about yourself?
      • How did you decide to study business?
      • What are three of your major strengths?
      • What is an area you need to develop?
      • Tell me about a specific situation that you feel particularly proud of?
      • What can you bring to this position?
      • Why should I hire you?
Some tips for answering interview questions:
  • Answer on a “Need to know” basis. Don’t raise/elaborate on sticky issues (departures, bad experiences, etc.) unless you are asked
  • Have ‘sticky issues’ answers prepared. If that applies to you.
  • Know your resume and details of each item well. If you can’t elaborate, don’t include it on the resume
  • Keep answers to one minute. Don’t ramble. Bloggers: This rule applies to e-mail as well; short and sweet no need to tell your entire life story to a brand (unless they ask!).
Interview Knockouts
Do these things and you are almost guaranteed to not get the job.
    • Asking inappropriate questions or no questions
    • Unable to explain your background
    • Speaking negatively about previous employers
    • Maintaining poor eye contact
    • Not researching the company (important for bloggers)
    • Appearing too eager
    • Lacking Confidence

don be late

    • Arriving late/not calling if you’ll be late
    • Making a bad impression in waiting area
    • Poor appearance/distractions
    • Being seen with your headphones on/talking on cell phone
    • Cell phone ringing/vibrating
    • Appearing unfocused and disinterested or unenthusiastic or not confident


Dressing for the interview was covered in the Informational Interviewing post but here some more tips:

Nothing too tight, too shiny, too big, too short or too revealing.

Minimal jewelry, perfume and/or cologne.

business woman

After the interview, don’t forget to send a thank you.

If you practice your questions, maintain a professional appearance and go in with confidence you are in good shape! Go get that job!

The End

We have come to the end of Get to Work! The Career Counseling Series to spread the word about counseling and Counseling Awareness Month (April). If you are interested in learning more about counseling/counselors please go here. I hope that job seekers and bloggers found this series to be helpful. If you are looking for help getting back into the workforce or growing your blog please see our Services and Consultations for people returning to work. And if you ever want to refer back to any of these posts please see the Counseling,  Wellness & Education link at the top of the page.

If you have enjoyed the Career and Blog Counseling Series please vote for me by clicking on the “vote for me” image below!

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