Entering the job market (3.2)

Interviewing Process

Here are some reasons that may influence WHY and HOW a person gets hired. Barry Cohen, the Lead Job Developer for the City University of New York shares his experience to give you a general idea about the interviewing process.

First Impression

This is what people judge you on straightaway.

  • 60% is dress — “reasonable conservatism”
  • 23% is dialogue — speak clearly with expression
  • 17% is demeanor — have excellent manners

Once the employer has collected all the information he needs to know from you, he will make an evaluation of the interview. His decision is usually based on a combination of factors. Check the following list to get an idea about the points you should be focusing on during your next interview and to know the ones over which you have little control.

35% is credentials. Can you:

  • Make the company $$$ (increase market share)
  • Save a company $$$ (cut costs)
  • Solve a company’s problems (technical, customer service, billing, etc)

65% is chemistry. Are you:

  • Likable
  • Able to “fit” in professionally/personally
  • Or are you a potential problem
Interviewing Advice

You have to get ready for an interview in advance. Starting from the dress code to making research and planning your answers. The more you prepare yourself the more confident you will feel about facing it. Here are some tips that might help you reduce the anxiety from before, during, and after the interview.


  • Do a little research on the company — easy to do on the Internet. Know a bit about the company’s history, what services they offer, etc.
  • Practice your answers to the SEVEN BASIC INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: Be prepared with answers!
    1. So, tell me about yourself.
    2. Why should we hire you?
    3. Why do you want to work for this company?
    4. Why did you leave your last/present job?
    5. Where do you want to be in 3 years?
    6. What is your strength? Weakness?
    7. How much money did you earn in your last position?
  • To “psych yourself up”: sit down, close your eyes, and think of a time when you looked and felt gorgeous — picture yourself sitting in splendor! Feel your body sitting up straight and tall and proud. Open your eyes and you’re ready for anything!
  • Arrive 10 minutes early to the interview-no earlier and no later.
  • Carry 2 pens with you, some paper clips, and a notepad.


  • The interview starts the second you walk through the door and announce yourself to the receptionist. She/he often has more power than the boss, so be extremely polite and friendly.
  • During the interview, play the role of the “perfect guest” — have a firm handshake, sit up straight, make eye contact and smile.
  • Never criticize or complain about any past job experiences. Never speak of family health or any other personal problems. Never mention salary/benefits at the first interview.
  • Have your notebook open and take notes during the interview. Write down the name of the person who would be your supervisor, the names of people you meet during the interview, etc.
  • Always close the interview on a positive note


  • Be sure to send a typed thank you letter within 24 hours after the interview and mention by name all those you met during the interview.
  • If you do not hear back within a week, call and say you are still interested in the position.
  • Most often, you will have to go through at least two interviews with the same company before the job is yours.
  • DON’T GET DISCOURAGED!!! On average, People go to ten interviews before getting a job.
Informational Interviewing

This is a perfect way to build up your gutsy confidence! Look for person who works in a profession you are interested in but know little about and ask him/her the questions that follow. You could also find this person by: looking through the phone book, walking down the street checking out small businesses in your neighborhood, and/or through friends, family, or colleagues. Don’t be shy — people are dying to talk about themselves. Arrange to have a phone interview with this person the same way you would in a real situation to use it as rehearsal for your future job interviews.

If you don’t find someone from your field ask someone from your circle of family and friends if you can have 15-30 minutes of his or her time to learn what his/her job entails.

If this person lives close to you, you could set an appointment to meet and treat this opportunity like a real interview: dress appropriately and be sure to send a typewritten thank you note. You may want to have your resume on hand!

Here are some questions to guide you:

      • Tell me about what you do day to day.
      • What is the best part of your job? The worst? The most challenging?
      • What are the perks of your job-travel, vacation, salary, benefits, union
      • What level of education does one need in this position?
      • What sort of personality is best suited for this position?
      • Do you see opportunity for advancement?
      • What has this job taught you?
      • What advice do you have for someone entering this field?

How are the hours? Is this field very demanding on your time?