Search Results for: interview tips

8 Tips to a Job Interview over Lunch or Dinner

At some point in your job search or career, you may be invited to a job interview over breakfast, lunch, or dinner. While meal times are usually relaxing and entertaining, business-related dining for a job interview is more professional and employers use the opportunity to test an applicant’s social skills. If you’re nervous about attending a job interview over lunch or dinner, don’t panic. Use these tips to help improve your dining etiquette and get the job.

Arrive early. Many lunch interviews will take place during office hours, so interviewers may be pressed for time to get back to the office. Be respectful of their time and show up when expected.

Dress appropriately. Even though you might be in a casual restaurant, be sure to dress appropriately for the interview. For instance, you might wear a suit if you’re applying for a more professional job or a nice pair of slacks if it’s an industrial job. Depending on what kind of job you’re applying for, make sure you find out what is appropriate for that specific field.

Turn off cell phone. You’re making a first impression from the minute you step into the restaurant. Stay focused on why you’re there. To avoid possible distractions while dining, it’s best to leave your cell phone in the car during an interview. If you’re expecting an emergency phone call, be cautious and let your host know in advance. If you must take your phone with you, put it on silent.

Make conversation. Prior to your interview, gather as much information as you can and talk with the interviewer about what you know about their company and their job. It’s easy to get nervous during an interview, but don’t let that prevent you from being conversational. Chat with your interviewer as you’re ordering your food.

Use good manners. Be sure to sit up straight and engage yourself with your surroundings. Don’t slouch on the table. Since it’s an interview, you’re going to get a lot of questions so avoid talking with a mouth full of food. Also, avoid ordering food like spaghetti or lobster so you don’t make a mess, and remember to keep your elbows off the table.

Follow the interviewers lead. Mirror the body language of your host. If they lean forward, do so too. Also, follow their lead when ordering your food. Stay within the price range of your host, but if your host asks you to go ahead and order first, pick something that isn’t too expensive. Also, be sure to make your food choice quickly. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to decide what you want to order. Remember the reason you’re there is to interview, not to hang out with friends.

Be polite. Don’t be rude to a server or restaurant staff because it will reflect badly on you. Don’t forget your host is watchful of your behavior so be sure to say please and thank you when necessary.

Send a follow-up thank-you note.
In a situation where you and other candidates may possess equal qualifications for a job, a thank-you note can be used as a tie breaker. So, after your lunch or dinner, be sure to follow up with a thank-you note.

Most interviews conducted during a breakfast, lunch, or dinner setting are a little different than being in the interviewer’s office. These interviews can reveal your social skills and how you act in situations other than the business environment. Remember that confidence goes a long way in every interview so be sure to smile and maintain eye contact when necessary. Relax, enjoy the food and company, and show potential employers that you’re the perfect match for the position you’re interviewing for.

3 Tips for Interviewing with a Staffing Company

When you interview with a prospective employer, you’re taught to put your best foot forward and present your best side. But what about when you go to a staffing company for help finding a job? Are you supposed to treat it like a real interview?

Interviewing with a staffing company is just like interviewing with any other potential employer. You must be prepared, professional, and informative.

Be Prepared. Before you go to an interview at a staffing agency, make sure your résumé and references are in order. If you’re looking for a job in a particular industry, make sure your résumé reflects that. Also, confirm that your contact information for your references, including phone numbers, job titles, and companies, are correct so your interviewer can quickly check references with your previous employers. You will make it easier for the staffing consultant to find you a job if you’re prepared for the interview with up-to-date and accurate information. 

Be Professional. Even though you aren’t interviewing to work at the staffing company, you still want to act and dress appropriately. Staffing consultants make their recommendations to hiring companies based on your résumé, demeanor, and experience. So, make sure to wear your best interview attire and act professional.

Be Informative. The one slight difference between interviewing with a staffing agency and interviewing with a potential employer is the kind of information you tell the interviewer. During an interview at a staffing agency, it is OK to talk about the kinds of jobs you are and are not interested in and what types of employers you might like to work for. You can speak a little more freely in a staffing interview, but remember, you still need to be professional. Too much information about your personal business, past employers, or mistakes in the past can be a bad thing and could even decrease your chances of finding a satisfying career.

Interviewing at a staffing company can be a great way to find a job, but you have to treat it like any other job opportunity. Being prepared, professional, and informative is essential in getting the most out of your staffing company interview experience. 

Have a question? Share it in the comments section.

3 Tips for Interviewing While Still Employed

If you’re like many other workers, you’ve probably started looking for a new job opportunity while still employed, although it wasn’t something you announced to your co-workers or supervisor. It can be tricky trying to schedule interviews around your work schedule without sharing too much information or being disrespectful. Here are three ways to help you schedule job interviews while showing respect to your current employer.

1. Schedule on your own time. The most obvious way to plan an interview, yet not always the easiest, is to schedule it on your own time away from work. Explain to your potential employer that you’re still employed and would prefer an interview time before or after your work hours, or on your lunch break. They’ll understand that you’re being respectful toward your current employer, and will appreciate your courtesy.

2. Request time off. If the hiring employer has a set time for interviews and is unable to accommodate a special request, you might have to interview during work hours. In this case, request time off from your current employer ahead of time instead of calling in sick the day of. Use your paid time off or ask to make up your missed hours at another time, explaining that you have an important appointment to attend and tried to schedule it outside of work hours but was unable to. And, keep your co-workers in mind and avoid scheduling your interview during team meetings, near deadlines, or when your co-workers need you most.

3. Keep it to yourself. There’s no need to divulge this type of information to your supervisor or co-workers. If you tell your current employer that you’re headed to an interview, they can deny your request for time off or even ask you to clean out your desk. Simply share that you have an appointment to attend and leave it at that. Don’t elaborate or construct a lie. You can also ask your potential employer for confidentiality and to not contact your current employer.

Many others have successfully interviewed while still employed, and you can, too. Use these tips to plan your interviews accordingly and your interview just might turn into the job you’ve been waiting for. Good luck in your job search!

Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best: 3 Tips to Impress in an Interview

“What would you say if a man walked in here with no shirt, and I hired him?” the interviewer from the hit movie The Pursuit of Happyness asked Will Smith’s character, Chris Gardner, in one famous scene. “He must have had some really nice pants,” Gardner responded. He got the job. How? It didn’t hurt that his knowledge and preparation made him a standout candidate.

While we can’t all be as charming as Gardner was, impressing an interviewer with your preparation isn’t just movie magic. By having a few things ready before an interview, you can be prepared to walk out of the interview smiling.

Bring Extra Copies of Your Résumé.
It’s important for you to know your résumé well enough that you can recite it in case the interviewer forgets his copy and needs the one you brought for yourself. But, think ahead for this situation and have multiple copies of your résumé and work samples on hand. There might be multiple interviewers, and you don’t want the interviewers passing a single paper back and forth. It causes a distraction and can break your train of thought when you’re trying to market yourself.

Have Your Research with You.
When researching the company before your interview, print out the company’s website materials, and take them with you to the interview. Consider investing in a leather binder – it includes a notepad and pen in case you need to take notes. But, as you open the binder to hand out your résumé or sample work, you can subtlety show that you’ve done your research and prepared for the job when they see the print outs of their website. Also, bring a spare pen in case yours or the interviewer’s fails, and you’ll be ready to save the day.

Ask Relevant Questions.
Knowledge of the company is a very impressive factor for interviewers. Prepare a few questions to ask the employer when they give you the opportunity. Have some questions to select from in case some of your choices were answered during the interview. By asking detailed questions that relate to the organization, you are indirectly showing that you have really looked into their business.

Check out our next post on how to prepare for an emergency before or during your interview.

4 Tips to Improve your Communication Skills During an Interview

Ever wonder what you sounded like or how you came across in an interview? Do you have a problem with “uhms” and “likes” when you’re trying to get your point across? Although you may know what you’re talking about when you’re explaining your experience and expertise, the person you’re talking to may not understand. If you’re unable to communicate clearly with an interviewer, chances are you aren’t going to impress them. To improve your communication skills for a job interview, try following these four tips below.

1.  Listen. Don’t monopolize the interview with constant chatter. Pay close attention to the interviewer’s pace, and match that style. Remember, you’re there to learn about the company and inform them about what you can offer. If you don’t listen because you’re talking too much, you might just talk yourself right out the door.

2.  Pause. When you’re running out of breath, lost your train of thought, or just need a moment to decide how to answer a tough question, take a moment and pause. This will allow you to gather your thoughts and answer with a well-thought out response.

3.  Rephrase. Don’t be afraid to rephrase the interviewer’s question to make sure you understand what they’re asking. You want to make sure there is no miscommunication, and that you can give the best possible answers to the questions they actually asked.

4.  Refrain. Make sure to stay on task, which is the interview, and refrain from talking about inappropriate topics such as religion, age, race, politics, or sexual orientation. Even if the interviewer makes a comment on a particular topic in passing, don’t add to the conversation or you could find yourself without a job offer. Also, it’s illegal for them to ask and make decisions based on these topics, if you’re asked a question about one of these subjects, simply explain that you’re not comfortable discussing these issues, and move on.

Communication is an essential interviewing skill because it can help you land a job. So, the next time you go on a job interview, remember these tips and feel the confidence of a well-executed interview.

3 Tips to Ace a Phone Interview

You may think that phone interviews are easier to coast through because you don’t have to shake hands, dress up, or think about nonverbal communication. But, phone interviews can be tricky if you don’t prepare, are easily distracted, or pick the wrong place to answer your phone. Here are three tips to help you get through your next phone interview.

Be prepared – Just like with a face-to-face interview, you should take your preparation seriously. Familiarize yourself with the company, and find out who you’re interviewing with. Also, prepare questions to ask the interviewer, and practice answering commonly asked interviews questions. For a phone interview, make sure your phone is fully charged and has a good signal if you’re using your cell phone. If you can, use a land line instead. You want to be able to clearly hear the interviewers and have them hear you as well.

Stay focused – Schedule your phone at a time of day that will allow you to prepare, and pick an appropriate location to answer the call. Place yourself in a room or a corner away from distractions where you can fully concentrate on your interview. Put your résumé and cover letter in front of you so you can reference them if the interviewer asks you a specific question regarding either one. Have a pen and notepad ready so you’ll be better suited to take notes. Write down questions you think of during the interview so you can remember to ask them when it’s time. 

Limit background noise – Creating a distraction-free area will help you sound professional and stay focused. Phones can pick up background noises very easily, so be sure to limit what you can. For example, avoid chewing gum, drinking, or eating during the interview. It’s okay to have a glass of water available, but don’t gulp it loudly. Turn off the radio or television, and stay away from children and pets because they’ll only create unwanted noise and distractions.

Just like a face-to-face interview, a phone interview can lead you to a job offer, or keep you from landing a job. So, make sure to treat a phone interview with the same preparation and professionalism you would for an in-person meeting.

3 Tips for Negotiating Salary During the Job Interview

negotiate salary in an interviewCongratulations, you’ve landed an interview! Maybe you’re even on your second or third meeting with a particular employer. As things move along in the process, you’re getting closer to the time of salary negotiation. To ensure that you’re prepared when the time comes to talk about money, check out the following tips.

Let Them Bring It Up.
You don’t want to be the one to broach the subject of compensation. If the employer is interested in you, you can be sure that the topic will eventually come up, so wait for that time to discuss it. That means you shouldn’t list your salary requirements on your résumé unless you’re required to do so.

Stating how much money you want too soon can box you into a figure that is lower than what you might’ve received otherwise, or it can eliminate you from consideration because the amount is too high.

Also, bringing up salary too early in the process is presumptuous and can make it appear that you’re only interested in money.

Do Your Research.
Before the interview, it’s your job to find out what the going rate is for the position you’re being considered for. This figure will vary depending on your location, skills, experience and education.

To get an idea of what the salary for the job will be, do online research on sites like, or If you happen to have friends who work at the company you’re interviewing with or know people who work in the same industry, you can get a good idea about what type of salary you can expect.

Researching compensation before the interview is an essential step to receiving a competitive salary. After all, if you don’t know what’s a fair price, how will you know if the interviewer’s offer is one you want to accept?

Don’t Be Too Quick to Accept the First Offer.
Before you shout “yes” to the first number out of the employer’s mouth, take a moment to think things through. Even if you’re satisfied with the offer, it’s best to not be hasty.
Consider asking for a day or two to review the offer before committing. During this time, evaluate the offer and ensure that it’s in line with the position responsibilities and your background.

If the offer seems too low based on your research, try making a counter offer. But be sure you have solid reasons for asking for increased compensation or other perks. Employers won’t be inclined to dish out more money just because you say you “need” it. That’s why you’ll have to be able to explain why your skills and the position responsibilities deserve a higher salary. Chances are, even if the employer is unable to sweeten the deal, they’ll respect you for thinking things through and knowing what you’re worth.

Before going in for an interview, it’s important to know what a reasonable pay range is for the position you’re applying for and to be able to sell your skills to the employer. By preparing for salary negotiations, you’ll increase your chances of receiving the competitive salary you deserve.