Secrets to interview success

The questions and the answers you need to know By Colleen Malloy Where do you see yourself in five years? If your answer is something like, not in this job, you'd better pay attention and read on to brush up on your interview skills, because...


First impressions count
Now that you're mentally prepped for the interview, it's time to work on that first impression.
"We have a policy here, it may be a dumb cliche, but dress for success," Rosswog says. "We've gotten tremendous feedback from companies about how our graduates present themselves."
Rosswog suggests that men wear a shirt and tie and that women wear a nice business suit. This attire may seem a bit much for some positions, but it's always better to be a little bit overdressed than a little bit underdressed. Now, I'm not saying you should run out and break the bank on a brand new suit, but pulling out the old ironing board wouldn't be a bad idea.

Watch the clock
Being late is a sure-fire way to make a bad impression. Plan to arrive about 15 minutes before the interview is scheduled to begin. Make sure you know where you are going and take factors like traffic, construction, and parking into consideration when planning your route. Make sure you know where you're supposed to go when you arrive and who you're supposed to see. Be polite to the receptionist (if there is one) and be patient if you are asked to wait. Never schedule an interview over your lunch hour or make plans directly after your interview. You've already got enough to worry about, the last thing you need on your mind is a ticking second hand.

The interview
Greet your interviewer with a strong handshake and a smile. If he asks how you're doing don't tell him about the jerk who cut you off on the way over, just tell him you're doing fine. If you're offered a beverage be sure and take it, when you get nervous a bit of water for a case of dry mouth can be your best friend.
Remember that the interview begins the moment you walk in the door. Everything you do and say matters (no pressure here). Every question counts. If he asks you to, "Tell me a little bit about yourself." Be sure to relate your answer to the job at hand. Say something like, "I've worked at xyz aircraft for the past five years as a line mechanic and I'm ready for something a little more challenging." Don't say, "My name is Darryl and I like fishing and the WWF."

The questions
First impressions do count, but if all you've got is a nice tie and a handshake that impression won't last very long. Knowing how to answer some basic questions will give you the competitive edge.
So what are they going to ask?
"Oftentimes in our field job candidates think technical, technical, technical, and they do ask that. But they're also looking at the attitude, work ethic, people skills, things that oftentimes mechanics don't factor into it. Try to prepare for an interview taking those things into consideration because the people skills and the team player concepts really count," Rosswog says.
Make sure you are prepared for any technical questions that might fly your way, and be sure you have answers ready for these questions targeted at attitude, work ethic, and people skills:
o What's your greatest strength?
o What's your greatest weakness?
o Tell me about how you have handled an ethical dilemma.
o How do you deal with multiple projects?
o Tell me about a time you disagreed with a coworker or supervisor. How did you resolve the conflict?
o Tell me about a time you failed to meet a deadline.

The answers
These are only a sampling of behavior based questions that you might be asked. These are a few simple guidelines to follow that will help you answer any questions:
1. Be positive: Focus on your strengths. Even when asked about your weaknesses you can talk about how you are always growing and learning.
2. Be specific: Illustrate your answers with real life examples.
3. Be focused: Stay on track. Don't go into a long story that doesn't relate to your ability to perform the job at hand.
4. Be honest: Don't lie or embellish, you will get caught!

Your turn to ask the questions
The last question you will be asked is, "Do you have any questions?" Don't pass up this opportunity! Not only can you gain a little more knowledge about the company you may someday work for, this is another opportunity to show how prepared you really are.
Come up with questions ahead of time and either type them up or write them very clearly so you won't be struggling to read your own penmanship. Bring them to the interview in a portfolio or a nice folder. You should also bring extra copies of your resume, a list of your references, some paper to take notes on and a pen.
Good questions to ask include:
o What's the next step in the interview process?
o Why do you enjoy working for XYZ Company?
o What kind of training does the company offer?
o What are the work hours?
o Can you describe a typical work day?
o How often will I be reviewed?
Do not, I repeat DO NOT ask about compensation. Avoid questions about money like the plague. The same goes for questions about insurance, 401K, and vacation time. Wait until after an offer is made to negotiate your salary and benefits.
In most cases you will not be offered a job on the spot. If by some chance you are offered a job immediately do not accept right away. Tell them you need some time to think it over, unless this is your dream job and they have just offered you gobs of money, in that case take it, by all means take it! Taking time to think about an offer gives you more leverage when negotiating salary and also lets you decide if this is the job that's right for you.

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