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At the Interview


Interviewing is an art and a science. Read on for useful interview tips to help you put your best foot forward during the interview process.

Dress for Success
Interview Tips & Sample Interview Questions
Types of Interviews


Dress for Success

You are what you wear - especially when it comes to an interview! First impressions are made in as little as 30 seconds and you want to project the image of an employee your prospective company will want to hire.

When you look good, you're more confident. Those who carry themselves with confidence and convey a likeable personality are more likely to appear as an attractive candidate, regardless of their physical qualities.

How can you look your best and project that winning quality? Start with a smile followed by a positive attitude! These are your most effective yet most inexpensive components of a successful interview.

Interview Attire
Remember, you not only represent yourself during your interview and at work, you represent Aureus Group. Your clothing should reflect professionalism and confidence.

  • Dresses and suits are always considered appropriate professional attire as well as a dress and jacket combination. Keep it simple, tailored and select conservative colors.
  • Avoid loud or flashy styles or colors.
  • Women: avoid heavy makeup or perfume.

What is Business Casual?
Many of our clients have a more casual dress code. Your Account Manager will coach you on what attire is appropriate for the company.

  • Business casual is an extension of professional, yet in a more relaxed manner.
  • Dressing a notch above the norm on "Business Casual Day" is still appropriate.
  • Classics such as khaki pants, button down shirts, and polo shirts are appropriate. Your company may even offer company shirts.
  • Shoes should always be polished.
  • Try changing from the conservative white shirt to a more colorful, open-collared shirt. It will make a great difference in your appearance while still retaining professionalism.
  • Avoid large logos, t-shirts with messages, and items that are revealing.
  • Unbutton no more than the top button on shirts and blouses.

Remember - even if the internal dress code is very casual, your interview attire should be professional and relatively conservative.

Interview Tips & Sample Questions

Congratulations on your success so far! You sold yourself with your resume, and now they want an interview! Your work isn't done - now is really your time to show them who you are and what you can do for them! Now is the time to sell yourself! Here are some tips to get you started.

General Interview Pointers

  • Be prepared to sell your skills and strengths by planning ahead.
  • Know your resume. Your prospective employer will have a copy in hand so you need to be prepared to answer questions related to the profile you provided. Bring a back up copy just in case.
  • Be confident in your skills and abilities! After all, you've made it this far, which means the prospective employer has shown an interest in your resume.
  • Don't focus on the money and benefits - leave questions and discussion for the latter portion of the interview process, preferably after an offer has been made.
  • Reference the research you have on the company, which shows your interest in the position and your ability to be a proactive employee.
  • Avoid simple yes or no responses - use this opportunity to sell yourself.
  • Avoid ah, er, um - these habits are especially noticeable on the telephone. Practice!
  • Avoid interrupting or dominating the interview. Be a good listener!
  • If it becomes apparent that there are specific skills required that you don't excel in, change the focus of the interview by emphasizing your strengths.
  • Let the prospective employer know you want the position - but be careful not to beg.
  • Prepare several questions you would like to ask your prospective employer.
  • As the interview approaches conclusion, ask if your skills and abilities meet the company's needs. The response may provide you with an opportunity to clarify concerns or provide additional information.

Interview Questions
We want your interview to be successful, so we'll coach you on potential questions that you may be asked and offer you some valuable pointers. You may also have questions you would like to ask your potential employer that we have not already answered for you. Remember, Aureus Group will have obtained much information from the company before you have your final interview, so you will not want to ask questions if you already know the answer. It's always a good idea to prepare, in your mind, answers to questions ahead of time.

Common Interview Questions Asked By Employers
This is your opportunity to show the potential employer who you are and what you can bring to their company, so take time to think of how you would respond to questions you are asked during your interview. Remember - keep the interview focused on the positives of what you will bring to the company. When asked about challenges and weaknesses, turn them into a positive response!

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What are your long-range and short-range career goals? How are you preparing to achieve them?
  • What are your non-career related goals?
  • What is your greatest strength and weakness?
  • What was the greatest challenge you ever faced? How did you handle it?
  • What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction in your job? Why?
  • How do you think a friend or co-worker would describe you?
  • What is more important to you - money or the type of job?
  • What qualifications do you have that make you think you will be successful in your career/in this company?
  • Why did you choose this career?
  • Why would you like to work for this company?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What do you feel you will be able to contribute to our organization?
  • What specific skills do you bring with you?
  • What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in a company like ours?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • How do you determine or evaluate success?
  • How well do you perform under pressure?
  • What have you learned from your mistakes?
  • What do you see yourself doing five years from now?

Behavioral Interview Questions

Questions You May Ask an Employer
While the purpose of the interview is to show the potential employer what you can bring to the company, this is also a time for you to get to know the employer. There will likely be an opportunity for you to ask questions. Doing so will show that you are proactive and interested in the position. Remember - do not ask questions if you already know the answer. Focus on obtaining additional information about the employer so you can learn as much as you can about the company and how you would fit into its structure.

  • Is this a new position?
  • What is the most important responsibility in this job?
  • What characteristics do you most look for in a person for this assignment?
  • What characteristics does a successful person have at your company?
  • Where is the last person who held this position working now?
  • Are there regular performance evaluations?
  • How is job performance measured?
  • What are the opportunities for advancement for someone with my skills?
  • What is the overall department structure where the position is located?
  • Could you tell me about the primary people I would be working with?
  • What has been the attrition rate in this department in the last five years?
  • Describe the work environment.
  • What is the company's management style?
  • Will the company use formal or on-the-job training? Please explain.
  • Is there anything unusually demanding about the job that I should know about?
  • What do you forecast as future industry trends?
  • What makes your company different from its competitors?
  • Why do you enjoy working for the company?
  • Is there anything else I can tell you about my qualifications?

Types of Interviews

Phone Interview Tips
Interviewing over the phone can be tricky because you only have your voice to sell yourself - that and your resume the interviewer will have in hand. Think you're at a disadvantage? Not in the least - as long as you are prepared and well organized.

  • Prepare your environment for the phone interview. Choose a room away from distractions such as doorbells, pets and family noises.
  • Keep a copy of your resume in front of you at all times.
  • Have a pen and paper ready to take notes.
  • Smile - it will come through in your voice!
  • Speak directly into the phone.
  • Don't smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink anything during your phone interview.
  • If you need time to think about an answer to the question, say so to avoid "dead air time".

Face-to-Face Interview Tips
How your present yourself, both verbally and visually, is important when interviewing face-to-face with your prospective employer.

  • First impressions are important! Dress at the level of, or a step above, the required daily dress of the company. For more information, see Dress for Success.
  • Have a pen and paper ready to take notes. Keep a copy of your resume in front of you - you may need to refer to it during the interview.
  • Avoid smoking just before your interview. Smoke will stick to your clothing and may be distracting for some.
  • Do not chew gum during your interview. Chewing gum is not a professional activity and should never be done in a professional and serious environment.
  • Smile and make eye contact with your prospective employer!
  • Know your route to the interview and arrive at least 15 minutes early. You never know when you will encounter a traffic jam, a car problem, or hit every red light in town. None of these should ever be used as an excuse for arriving late for an interview!

Interviewing via Skype or Video Conferencing
As technology continues to advance, more and more employers are turning to video conferencing systems and online tools like Skype for help interviewing out-of-town candidates. While these tools can be an economic alternative to exorbitant travel costs, using these resources for interviewing can take some getting used to, so be sure to prepare ahead of time. Even on video it's possible to make a positive or negative first impression.

  • Download the video software and test it on your computer well in advance of the scheduled interview. It's also important to create a professional username.
  • Come prepared with notes and a copy of your resume, plus one to quickly email to the interviewer if needed. Also, turn off any email prompts and remove other potential distractions. Similar to phone interviews, make sure you have a quiet environment available for your interview.
  • You should be dressed as if the interview was face-to-face with professional attire. Stay away from white and bright colors as these can be distracting to the viewer. You'll also want to stay clear of clothing with tight patterns like small dots.
  • Make sure there is no bright light (like from a window) behind you, as this will only darken your face. Try to find soft overhead lighting that will illuminate your face instead.
  • Sit tall in your chair and angle your knees to the corner of your computer screen, then turn your head slightly back to look at the camera. This is a more professional, visually appealing pose, similar to when you are being photographed.
  • Remember what is behind you will also be visible on camera. Make sure the room you are in is tidy with no inappropriate items on display. Try to position yourself in front of something warm and inviting like a plant, book shelf, or a nice piece of artwork.
  • Remember to smile and look directly at the camera when talking. This is how eye contact is made on camera.
  • Practice with a friend before the interview. Not only will this help you become more comfortable answering questions on camera, it will give you a chance to test the audio and lighting in your room. Besides this, be sure to do all the standard pre-interview prep work to ensure you present yourself as confident and professional.

Panel and Group Interviews
To save time and eliminate duplicity, some companies are turning to group or panel interviews with two or more people interviewing a potential new hire together. This process gives different people in the company with varying perspectives and hiring authority the opportunity to meet with you in a timely fashion and helps determine if you are able to handle what can be an unusual and stressful situation. The key to an effective panel interview is to engage with each interviewer.

  • First and foremost, make eye contact with each panel member, shake hands firmly, and greet them using their names. You want to connect with each panelist, so it's important not to rush this process.
  • Once seated, be prepared to take notes and jot down the names of each interviewer if you do not already have this information written down. You will use their names when responding to questions.
  • As with any type of interview, be ready to highlight your full range of abilities, skills, and knowledge during questions, but unlike traditional one-on-one interviews, respond first by making eye contact with the person who posed the question. While you are answering, scan from one face to the next making eye contact with each person. When you are finished with your reply, return your focus to the person who asked the question.
  • Panel members are likely to take notes during the interview, don't be intimidated by this. Instead, use it as a reminder that you need to speak clearly and concisely.
  • At the conclusion of the interview, thank each interviewer personally and shake their hand. Get each person's business card and follow up with a personalized thank you note to each person you met.