Your Behavior During Interview
(your goal is the offer!)
Interview is the art. Usual interview consists of two parts which may or may
not be separated in time: technical part and general part.
Surprisingly, general part is the most important part since your technical
skills usually much higher than human relations skills. Be honest, but as much
and long as it works on you. Don't tell too much, since more you say
more chances you will say or discover something interviewer does not like. On
the other hand, you should demonstrate your verbal and communication skills! Er!
The following simple rules might help you to avoid complicated situations
during the interview:
- Be natural. Do not dress extravagant. I put this first because the
first reaction of the interviewer often determines results of the entire
interview. Do not wear a tie "I Love Seoul" when undergoing an
interview in Toronto! You should be calm and self-confident. Your behavior
should demonstrate that your knowledge is well-founded. "Nice to meet
you" is the standard formality before interview. You should radiate a
positive attitude to everything and everybody around! Do not sit before you
actually invited to do that.
- Arrive early. Take 10-15 minutes break before the interview. Look around and
scope the building, people, environment.
- If the number of people is more than you expected, hand in your resume to
all participants; Put the list of paper and another copy of your resume in front
of you, write down the names of the interviewers. You might be nervous and
forget the names. This is, actually, a bad thing.
- Give a firm (not crushing!) handshake. Remember that wet handshake is
something that automatically sells out your nervousness.
- Be positive and professional. Smile a lot.
People like to work with happy humans, not with loosers.
- When you do not catch the question, do not stare at
the interviewer. Smile and ask to repeat or rephrase the question.
Most of the interviewers will gladly do.
- When asked to tell about yourself, start talking fluently about your resume,
what projects you've been involved in, what technologies were involved, what did
you like here and there. Good chances that you will be stopped at some point -
this is just an attempt to check your communication skills.
- You must not look nervous. If you are,
you reduce your chances to pass the interview by 50%. Do not consider the
interview your last interview in the life. Nothing will happen if you fail;
- Do not lie!!! Never! Nobody knows
everything, but if you try to lie you achieve the effect opposite to what you
expect! Tell that you don't know if you don't know. If you do not remember, try
to extract maximum from what you remember on the given topic.
- Try to answer precisely on the question. People is getting bored if you
elaborate too much on the answer. This may also produce an impression that you
are not sure in the answer.
- Nothing wrong if you take time to think on the question, but do not abuse
this right. If you cannot recall something, ask for details to win the time or
tell that you don't remember exactly the answer. It is not unusual for the
interviewer to give you the hint. The goal of interview is to determine your
- Do not refuse to write the test if you
suggested, even if you have 15 years of experience. If you do so, you reduce you
chances to get the position dramatically! In the best case you may get the
answer: "We have to find the best candidate and test is the only objective
criteria for this." To calm you down, I would confess that almost all tests
I saw so far are unbelievably stupid per se and cannot reach their goal.
Nevertheless, you have no choice if you want the position. Aggressive behavior
on the interview is unacceptable! You may refuse to write test in the
- You felt during interview that you are not interested in this position. In
this case test might humiliate you and to get things even worse. Don't break
your good mood! :-)
- You are absolutely self-confident and expert in this fields and all fields
around. In this case they depend on you, despite I am not sure if this is a good
idea to refuse to write test even in this case.
- You are applying for a senior position. This needs some comments. If you
apply for a senior position, it is automatically assumes you know the stuff you
are applying for. Test is humiliating you and you should be careful in this
case, because this position most likely for intermediate or junior person.
- Be an analyst. You are about to hired to
solve the problems the company has. Identify the problem, discuss it with your
interviewer and where your experience and skills set may fit into solving that
- Try to talk more about what you know and less about what you don't know
(ideally, it would be great not to discuss what you don't know, but this is
virtually impossible) When clipped to the wall, smile and claim that you solved
so many problems and learned so many different things in your life that another
problem is not a big deal for you - you may quickly catch up the wagon.
- Do not interrupt when the interviewer describes his company (he will
definitely do this!) You may insert your question if you feel the pause is too
long and the interviewer is not sure what to say next.
- This is extremely difficult, but try to turn the interview into the
monologue of interviewer.
- Keep eye contact with your interviewer.
This is very unpleasant if your eyes are running around. If you are interviewed
by more than one person, keep eye contact with all of them, but allocate more
time to the person who asked the question. You should not revolve your head like
a police siren.
- Do not criticize your previous companies, bosses and so on. Try to answer
the negative questions like: "Why did you leave your previous company"
in the positive manner: "I was looking for the further professional
- When you asked: "Do you have any questions?" asked prepared
questions. You must answer this question.
- Address right questions to the right persons. Do not ask human resources
technical questions and do not ask developers human resource questions.
- When you asked about salary range and you've been sent by a recruiting
company, just tell that your recruiter knows your requirements and he asked not
to discuss this question directly. Otherwise, tell that you "would consider
any reasonable offer" (unless you have specific precise salary
requirements.) Try not to talk about money leaving space for the offer. You need
an offer, any offer. Later you will consider if this offer for you, but the
goal of the interview is the offer!
- Consider several scenarios of interview. If the interviewer is introvert,
you have good chances that your interview dialog will quickly die, because the
interviewer will be stuck with inability to ask the questions. If the
interviewer is extravert and you feel an obvious tend of him to talk, let him
talk and listen carefully, but do not miss the moment he is asking a question.
- Do not look nervously on your watch - it might produce a feeling you are in
hurry or lost an interest.
- Maintain a naturally alert head position; keep your head up and your eyes
front at all times.
- Remember to avert your gaze from time to time so as to avoid the impression
that you are staring; when you do so, look confidently and calmly to the right
or to the left; never look down.
- Do not hurry any movement.
- Relax with every breath.
- Avoid negative body language. An interviewer wants to see how well you react
under pressure. Avoid these signs of nervousness and tension:
- Frequently touching your mouth
- Faking a cough to think about the answer to a question
- Gnawing on your lip
- Tight or forced smiles
- Swinging your foot or leg
- Folding or crossing your arms
- Avoiding eye contact
- Picking at invisible bits of lint
- Wet handshaking
- Inability to respond to the question in timely fashion.