Conduct Research on the Employer, Department, Job Opportunity

Do your homework! Increase your success in a job interview by gaining a solid foundation of knowledge on the employer and the requirements of the job.

The more research you conduct, the more you’ll understand the employer, and the better you’ll be able to answer interview questions (as well as ask insightful follow-up questions). Information sources include the organization’s website and other published materials, search engines, research tools, and your network of contacts. PBC Human Resources career page provides links to job descriptions, job requirements, salary and pay grades. Through the main County website, you have access to every County department home page, with details on mission, structure, projects and people. Many departments have dedicated social media channels that give you up-to-the-minute information on their operations and activities. Click, explore, prepare!

Review Common Interview Practices and Prepare Responses

Another key to interview success is preparing for the interview process. There are different types of interviews. Become familiar with the most common interview techniques, like panel interviews and job sample exercises. Next, learn and practice responding to different types of interview questions. You may be questioned about your knowledge, experience, how you would handle a scenario, be given an exercise to complete, or any combination of these.

Rehearse with a friend who will give you honest feedback on your answers. Video-based interviews are the new normal. Record yourself on video responding to interview questions, and play back so you can see how you would come across to a video interview panel. Be mindful of lighting, and environmental factors, and choose a quiet space.

Your goal is to give detailed but concise responses, focusing on specific examples and accomplishments. A good tool for remembering key points in your responses is to put them into story form that you can tell in the interview. No need to memorize responses (in fact, it’s best not to), but at least develop talking points. Have one or two follow-up questions ready for the conclusion of the interview

Dress for Success

Plan for your attire to fit the organization and its culture, try for the most professional appearance you can achieve.

It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed — wear clothing that fits and is clean and pressed. Again, use the video of yourself to view how you will come across, in person or on screen. Try not to smoke or eat right before the interview — and if possible, brush your teeth or use mouthwash

Be on Time for the Interview — and Prepared for Success

Visit the interview site location a day or two before the process, so you are sure where to park and report. There is no excuse for arriving late for an interview — other than an emergency. Show your courtesy, by contacting the organization if you think you might be late. Arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled interview to complete additional paperwork and allow yourself time to get settled. Arriving a bit early is also a chance to observe the dynamics of the workplace.

For video interviews, be sure to pre-test the videoconferencing platform to ensure the audio/video work, and you have the bandwidth needed.

The day before the interview, pack up extra copies of your resume and reference list. If you have a portfolio or samples of your work, bring those along too. Pack pens and a pad of paper to jot notes. Once you have checked in for your appointment, shut off your mobile phone. Finally, relax your mind and body

Be YOU: Authentic, Upbeat, Focused, Confident, Candid, and Concise

In the interview, you have control over the quality and delivery of your responses. Your goal should always be authenticity, responding honestly to interview questions. At the same time, your goal is to get to the next step, so you’ll want to provide focused responses that highlight your skills, experience, and fit — with the job and the employer.

PBC conducts panel interviews, as well as job sample exercises and sometimes pre-employment tests. For interviews, you can expect a group of 2-3 panelists who will take notes as you respond to their pre-prepared questions. Listen to each question posed. Provide solid examples of solutions and accomplishments — but keep your responses on point. Some interview questions may have several parts, be sure to answer every part of each question. Ask for any part of a question to be repeated if you need to hear it again. Never badmouth a previous employer, boss, or co-worker. The interview is about you — and making your case that you are the ideal candidate for the job.

Demonstrate your serious interest in the job - At the conclusion of the interview, ask the panel the follow-up questions that you prepared in advance, as well as any questions you have based on the information given to you in the interview

Impression-makers: Body Language, Avoiding Bad Habits

While the content of your interview responses is the primary selection decision factor, poor body language can detract from your interview performance. Effective forms of body language: smiling, eye contact, solid posture, active listening, nodding.

Unfavorable forms of body language: slouching, looking off in the distance, playing with pen, fidgeting in chair, brushing back hair, touching face, chewing gum, mumbling

Sell Yourself Throughout and then Close the Deal

In relation to interviewing there is a saying that the ‘most qualified’ applicant is not always the one who is hired — which means the hired candidate is often the job-seeker who does the best job in responding to interview questions and showcasing his or her fit with the job, department, and organization. The job interview can be compared to a sales call. You are the salesperson — and the product you are selling to the employer is your ability to fill the organization’s needs, solve its problems, help drive its success.

Be the person YOU would want to hire

Thank Interviewer(s) in Person, by Email

As you have already seen from previous tips, common courtesy and politeness go far in interviewing; so the importance of thanking each person who interviews you is a no brainer.

Start the process while at the interview, thanking each person who interviewed you. Writing thank-you emails and notes shortly after the interview will not get you the job offer, but doing so will certainly give you an edge over any of the other finalists who did not bother to send thank-you’s