Interview questions and structured interviewing
Username: Password:

The Top 10 Ways To Have A Great Job Interview

Warwick Foster, B.Met.E

1. Make sure the position suits you.

It's hard to be really congruent when you're going for a position which you know in your "guts" isn't what you want, isn't something at which you will be able to give, or which doesn't conform to your values.

2. Be prepared.

Know something about the company, know as much as possible about the position. Request a position description beforehand, and have it with you.

3. Don't be surprised by the interview format.

When requested to come along for an interview, ask politely what the interview format will be. It's possible to be put off if you are expecting a one-on-one, and you walk in to a panel, and vice versa.

4. Take a "Show Bag."

Have a copy of your resume, at least, bound in a professional format. Dark colored backing, clear plastic cover, spiral or thermal bound, one for each interviewer. It's unlikely another candidate will have done this. Other things to put in your show bag may include what you could bring to the position, or a copy of your personal management plan (you do have one, don't you?).

5. Listen, really the questions.

Listen to the questions asked, all the way through. Listening is a skill, and sometimes we have the habit of listening to half a question and then beginning to frame an answer. We may answer the wrong question, in any case, it may be obvious that we have gone "walkabout" internally, and are no longer listening.

6. Listen, really our answers.

Listening to our own answers is another skill. If people really listened to what was coming out of their mouths, they may reframe their answers. Are we clear? Are we answering the questions asked? Is our speech and diction appropriate and clear?

7. Ask for challenges.

There is always time to ask questions of the interviewers. One key questions is "...What do you understand to be the key challenges and opportunities of this position?" This shows interest. It is also an opportunity to glean the interviewer's keywords, and the problems which are to be solved by hiring for this position.

8. Feed back the information.

One point of asking the "challenges" question is to feed the keywords back to the employer. Use the keywords in your answers to further questions. This meets the employer's model of the world. Of course, if the employer asks later "What can you bring to this position?", you can immediately feed back exactly what he needs and wants to hear.

9. Ask for assessment.

Ask "After I am hired for this position, how will I be assessed?" This question has a couple of purposes. First, it forces the interviewer to at least make an internal representation of hiring you. It also stamps you as a person who seeks feedback to ensure that the needs of the company and the position are being met. Many employees will run a mile to avoid feedback, or assessment -- be different!

10. Visualize your outcome.

Prior to entering the interview process, you should visualize what is for you the "final step" to being successful. For you this may be the interviewer having a satisfied smile, or answering the phone call offering you the position. You will have some meaningful "last step," which you should take the time to create internally in as compelling a fashion as possible, and then take the time to visualize this successful outcome.

Submitted by Warwick Foster, B.Met.E (Hons1), NLP Practitioner, who can be reached at

Copyright 2000 by Thomas J. Leonard.