General Advice

for Job Interviews

Here is some general advice for job interviews.



flaw navy blue no matter what
limp applicable do’s and don’t’s
assess charcoal (2) can’t go wrong
web (3) tendency bone-crushing
suburbs major (3) over time (2)
minor I’d rather marital status
point (3) forefinger you’re kidding
weirdo appropriate inappropriate
end up pick up (2) pick up the slack
stick (2) associate keep you waiting
concise eye-contact As I was saying
make up I don’t mind







Assessing Applicants

Most interviews no matter what industry are designed to assess a few key areas: professionalism, interest in the job being offered, fit for the job (including applicable skills), and personality.

Here are some tips for the do’s and don’t’s of interviewing.

Dress for Success

Do be sure to dress appropriately for the interview. If you’re a man wear a suit. You can never go wrong with navy blue or charcoal gray, a white shirt, and a nice tie.

If you’re a woman, do make sure you wear a suit for the interview, either a skirt suit or a pants suit is fine. Don’t wear large jewelry, loud colors, or too much make up.


Don’t give a limp handshake.
Interviewer: “Nice to meet you.” (The interviewer and candidate are shaking hands).

Do give a firm, but not bone-crushing handshake.

The key to a good handshake is to get the web between the thumb and forefinger fully in contact with the person who you are shaking hands.

Also don’t forget to make eye contact and smile.

How to Handle Some Key Questions

Interviewer: “So tell me about yourself.”
Applicant: “Well I was born in SF and then my family moved to Boston, well actually the suburbs of Boston, about 20 minutes outside, but you tell everyone Boston.

And then I went to U Penn in Pennsylvania, and I started out as an art history major and then I switched to economics, but I wasn’t so sure so switched back but I had to do more credits to complete the major which was kind of a pain.

So now I’m here with the possibility that I might, might apply to law school next fall.”

Interviewer is thinking: I wonder what’s for lunch.

This isn’t a license to tell your life story, rather use this as an opportunity to give a concise story about your career, opportunities and goals.

“I’m a very energetic and organized person, which is why I’m drawn to opportunities such as this one.

I have over four years of experience at the associate level, and I’d like to further my career path.

And I’m also fluent in French, and I’ve lived and studied in Paris.”

Interviewer: “Great.”

Assessing your weakness

Interviewers also want to know how you’ve assessed your good points and your bad points.

Interviewer: “What would you say is your greatest weakness or area that you can improve upon?”

“I have a tendency to oversleep. In the past, I’ve overslept and missed important meetings.”
Interviewer is thinking: Next.

Interviewer: “Okay.”

When discussion your weaknesses, avoid personality or character flaws. Instead focus on areas that can be improved upon over time.

Candidate: “If someone isn’t working hard enough, sometimes I end up picking up the slack. I’m working on just sticking to my order of business.”

Inappropriate Questions

Interviewer: “So, are you married?”
Candidate: “I’m single.”

It’s actually illegal for interviewers to ask you certain personal questions, such as your age or marital status.

So you don’t need to volunteer that information.

If you like, you can answer like this:

Interviewer: “Let me ask you, are you planning to have a baby in the next few years?”
Candidate: “I’d rather keep the focus on the job and not my personal life.”
Interviewer: “Okay that’s fine.”
Candidate is thinking: Weirdo.

Some Important Things to Remember

1. Stand up and greet your interviewer.

“Sorry for keeping you waiting, thanks for coming in today. Nice to meet you.”
Candidate: “Nice to meet you to.”

2. Don’t wear too much perfume or cologne.

3. Bring a copy of your resume/CV.

Interviewer: “Do you have a copy of your resume?”
Candidate: “Here you are.”
Interviewer: “Thanks.”

4. Ask for your interviewer’s business card.

Candidate: “Do you have a business card?”
Interviewer: “Yes. Here you go.”
Candidate: “Thank you.”

5. Turn off your cell phone!

Interviewer: “So tell me about your last job.”

Candidate: “Well it was really interesting because it had a lot of elements to it, and I had a lots of responsibilities in that position. For example…Ring. Ring…oh excuse me.”

Interviewer is thinking: She has got to be kidding!

Candidate on cell phone: “Oh how are you?”
Candidate to interviewer: “Do you mind? Is that alright?”
Candidate on cell phone: “Yeah not too much….Okay, see you then. Bye”
Candidate to interviewer: “So as I was saying before…”

If you forget and it goes off during the interview, apologize immediately, and turn it off without checking who is calling or answering it.


We hope these interview tips have been helpful. For more career advice go to

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Operations. According to the speaker, interviews generally follow a similar format in all industries. True or false?

Administration. You should wear formal clothes to a job interview. Yes or no? What are the ideal suit colors?

Human Resources (HR). Should you squeeze the interviewer’s hand tightly? How do you greet the interviewer or applicant?

Finance and Accounting. What should you say about yourself? What do you include and exclude? If you tell the interviewer, “I might apply to an MBA program next fall”…….

Information Technology (IT). For weaknesses, should you mention character or personality shortcomings (flaws)?

Project Management. It’s alright for the interviewer to ask, “How old are you?” Is this right or wrong? If he or she asks personal questions, say…..

Procurement, Supply Chain. If you have emailed your resume (CV), you don’t need to bring a printed copy. Do you agree?

Customer Service, Technical Support. What are the rules regarding mobile phones?

Marketing and Advertising. How do you obtain the interviewer’s contact information?
Quality Assurance, Quality Control. Have you ever been in a job interview? If yes, how many times?

Legal Department.
How did you feel?

Product or Service Development. What kind of questions did they ask?

Research and Development. What was the outcome?

Interviewing is the same in my country as it is in the US. Yes or no?

Break Room.
Do interviews differ between technical jobs, and managerial and marketing jobs?

Staff Recreation and Outings. Do you like having an interview? Do you like interviewing people? Which would you prefer?

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