Before you interview for a position, learn as much about it and the company as possible. Conduct research on the web, visit the library, tap into industry contacts, and ask your recruiter if he or she has any other insights.  The person interviewing you will appreciate that you took the time to get to know their company.

Questions To Ask

After you have studied the company, make a list of questions to ask the employer.  An interview is meant to determine not only if you are right for the job, but if the job is right for you.  Some questions you may want to ask are:

  • Why is this position available?
  • What training programs are available to the person in this position?
  • What are your goals for this position?
  • What obstacles must be overcome for the person in this position to succeed?
  • How will my performance be evaluated?
  • What opportunities are there for growth in the next 12 months? Two years? Five years?
  • What growth do you anticipate for your firm in the next 12 months?

Questions You May Be Asked

Your recruiter should be able to give you a good idea of what to expect when it’s time for your interview.  There are many different interview styles, but here are some common interview questions:

  • Tell me about yourself. / How would you describe your personality?
    Keep your answer in the professional realm only. Review your past positions, education and other strengths.
  • Why are you interested in this position? / Why should we hire you?
    Relate how you feel your qualifications match the job requirements. Also, express your desire to work for the employer.
  • What are the most significant accomplishments in your career?
    Identify recent accomplishments that relate to the position and its requirements.
  • Describe a situation in which your work was criticized.
    Focus on how you resolved the situation and became a better person because of the experience.
  • What do you think of your boss? / What did you like least about your last position?
    Be honest, but avoiding being negative or overly critical in answering these types of questions.
  • How do you perform under pressure?
    Use specific examples from your past to answer questions like this.
  • What are your goals in your career? / Where do you see yourself in two years?
    This question is designed to see if you have a clear idea about your goals.  However, be careful not to seem too aggressive.
  • What kind of salary are you looking for?
    This is a difficult question to answer.  Your recruiter should be able to give you some direction in how to handle it.
  • What other types of jobs/companies are you considering?
    Be honest about other opportunities you are considering, but there is no need to name specific companies.  Do not try to use other opportunities as leverage.

Closing the Interview

If you feel that the interview went well and you want to take the next step, be sure to close the interview properly. Your closing should be tailored to the position, your personality and interviewing style and the interviewer, but here are some things that should be included:

  • Express your interest to the interviewer.
  • Ask if there is anything else you can provide, such as references, background information or work samples.
  • Ask what the next step will be.
  • Express appreciation for the interviewer's time and consideration.
  • Ask for the interviewer's business card so you can write a thank you letter as soon as possible.


After your interview, follow-up is critical. When you get in your car, immediately write down key issues uncovered in the interview. Think of the qualifications the employer is looking for and match your strengths to them. A "thank you" letter should be written no later than 24 hours after the interview. Be sure to call your recruiter to discuss your interview and your next steps, as well.