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Interview Hints and Tips

What you should do before the interview:

  • Although we will give you some information on the company where you will be interviewing it is always beneficial to do further research on the company. Nothing impresses an interviewer more than a candidate that knows about the company. It shows that you have initiative and have taken an interest.
  • Get there on time. The importance of punctuality can not be stressed enough. Plan to arrive about 15 minutes early as it shows your regard for the interviewer's time. If you have to wait, use the time to go over your notes.
  • Dress in a suit as it shows that you cared enough about the interviewer and the company to present yourself in a professional manner, especially in the relaxed dress environment of Spain. In today's work place, most companies do not have a strict code but if you arrive in a tie you can always take it off, if appropriate, rather than vice versa.
  • Practice makes perfect. All the information that you would have obtained about successful interviewing would be wasted if you do not practice. You can know all the questions the interviewer will ask but if you do not practice, it would be as if you did not. Have a friend go over the questions with you until you are able to answer them promptly without stuttering.
  • Preplan answers to standard questions such as what your strengths and weaknesses are and why you left your previous job.

What you should do during the interview:

  • Give the interviewer a firm handshake, even if the interviewer is a woman and you are man. Nobody likes a limp handshake but by the same token do not take the person's hand off either. While shaking, introduce yourself, keeping eye contact at all times.
  • Nothing is worse than an interviewee who looks depressed or indifferent so smile. Would you want to work with someone who is always depressed?
  • You are confident about yourself and your capabilities then relay that. Do not stare out of the window or fiddle with your pencil. When the interviewer is talking to you, or you to him, be attentive.
  • Do not mumble your words as it portrays a lack of confidence.
  • If he makes a joke, smile to acknowledge that he made one, even if it was not funny.
  • Make sure you have understood the question if you do not, ask him to clarify it. Take a second, then answer.
  • Answer promptly and intelligently. However, when asked yes or no questions, elaborate and take it as an opportunity to sell yourself. 
  • Even if he does not ask you "Do you have any questions," ask him anyway and have these preplanned.
  • Be sure to thank the interviewer for his time.

What you should not do at all:

It may be obvious to some, that most of the things you should not do are the opposite of what you should. However, some people need reinforcing.

  •  If an employer asks "Do you know about ....? and you do not, say No. If you say yes, the next question is almost always "Tell me about it."
  • Chew gum during the interview is tacky and inappropriate. I would recommend that you do not before the interview either as you may forget to remove it.
  • Do not smoke, even if the interviewer does and offers you a cigarette. .
  • Don't ever refuse a job offer until you have had the time to think about it. It may be the only one you get.
  • Make sure your answers are short and to the point.

Questions you may be asked at interview:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What are your team-player qualities? Give examples. 
  • How have your educational and work experiences prepared you for this position?
  •  Of the hobbies and interests listed on your resume what is your favourite and tell me why? 
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What makes you think you can handle this position?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Give me an example of a problem you solved and the process you used?
  • Tell me about a project you initiated?
  • q  Tell me about your most difficult decision and how did you go about making it?
  • What types of situations put you under pressure, and how do you deal with pressure?
  • Give me a situation in which you failed, and how you handled it?
  • Why are you interested in our organization?
  •  What can you contribute to this company?
  • What motivates you?
  • If I asked the people who know you well to describe you, what three words would they use? 
  • If I asked the people who know you for one reason why I shouldn't hire you what would they say?
  • Describe the type of manager you prefer.
  • Tell me about a team project of which you are particularly proud and your contribution?
  •  Describe a situation where you had to work with someone who was difficult, how did you handle it?
  • With which other companies are you interviewing?
  • What characteristics do you think are important for this position?
  • Why do you feel that this company will be a career for you rather than a job?
  • What has been your greatest challenge? 

Questions you can ask the interviewer:

  • How would you describe the responsibilities of the position?
  • How would you describe a typical week/day in this position?
  • Is this a new position? If not, what did the previous employee go on to do?
  • Who does this position report to? If I am offered the position, can I meet him/her?
  • How many people work in this office/department?
  • What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
  • What do you like about working here?
  • If I am extended a job offer, how soon would you like me to start?
  • When can I expect to hear from you?
  • Are there any other questions I can answer for you?
  • Why did you come to work here? What keeps you here?
  • How would you describe your ideal candidate?
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