Many readers may be entering the work force for the first time in the coming months.

Or possibly they have a job now but are looking for a new opportunity.

Recently, I was reading a good article on things you should know during your interview, but probably do not. 

The OfficeTeam article contains 5 excellent points and parallels many of my own views on interviews.

A few added thoughts from my side.

Interviewer (lack of) Preparation

In addition to seeing you, your interviewer may also be meeting with many other candidates. As well, he or she has a full slate of regular tasks to address. In many instances, preparing for an interview is low on the priority list.

Have multiple copies of your resume and cover letter on hand. You may meet more than one person during the interview and they may not have a copy of your curriculum vitae (CV). Better to walk out the door with 3 extra CVs in your briefcase than to not have enough information for interviewers.

I like marking up my own CV with additional information. As you discuss your resume with the interviewer, you can have extra facts or examples in your own document. That will make it easier to remember when highlighting your achievements.

For example, your resume may claim that you “developed cost control measures as controller.” On your resume next to this point, you can jot concrete examples of how you achieved this when asked by the interviewer.


It is a lot easier to spot a phony than many interviewees believe. Being perceived as a phony by the manager is probably one of the biggest problems you can have during your interview. So try to avoid it at all costs.

No need to disclose that you are a sociopath, drug addict, etc. You do want the position.

But try to come up with weaknesses and anecdotes that outline legitimate – but not deal breaking – issues. And definitely be able to explain how you have taken steps to address these potential problems.

For example, perhaps you are an introvert and the job requires more of an extrovert. You could describe this as a weakness and then explain how you have joined Toastmasters, a debate club, Rotary, etc., as a way to improve your ability to interact with new people. Or, if you are applying for a position where you are technically light or lack the requested experience, you could show your prospective employer that you are taking courses or volunteering as a means to gain additional knowledge.

And, as above, have supporting documentation available if challenged by the interviewer. I have met many a candidate that “intends” or “plans” to take a course or add knowledge before starting the job. Not too many that actually have shown the initiative prior to the interview.

Get Them Talking

You can learn valuable information about the company, the position, and the manager simply by letting them speak.

But be genuine in your interest, avoid the phoniness.

Pay attention to what is being said and be prepared to ask thoughtful follow-up questions.

I find it is always easier to do business with a friend. And often friends are those people that have similar likes.

If during the conversation, the interviewer touches on something that both of you enjoy, follow that up as well. No need to fawn or come across as a stalker, but just genuine interest.

Intentional Uncomfortableness 

I hate these things. The interview is stressful enough without having to play psychological games. But it does happen in many companies, so be prepared.

I think it is completely fair to ask difficult questions. I like to ask hypotheticals to test the candidate’s technical knowledge, experience, and common sense.

But I think it is stupid to ask what sort of tree you would be (for me, a big oak tree that would drop a heavy branch on the interviewer who asked me that question) or how many golf balls could I fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane (including the ones I would also jam down the interviewer’s throat?).

The answers to these questions are irrelevant. They simply try to take the candidate out of his or her comfort level and see how they react to a new situation. So do as the article indicates. Take a deep breath, think it through, and then try to come up with a well-reasoned response.

The Assistant

This is a good one. I use it a lot, especially when interviewing for more senior positions.

How someone treats the junior staff tells me much about how they will work in an office setting.

I always have my support staff collect the candidate and then walk them out of the building. It is often quite interesting how a senior manager reacts to a secretary when he or she thinks the cameras are off. My secretary is my eyes and ears. Assume that anyone you meet in the building will report back to your interviewer.

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