The interview consists of 4 stages:

  • Introduction
  • Ego Gratification
  • Information Gathering
  • Closing

I. Introduction

There are 3 basic approaches that the interviewer might use:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Let me tell you what were looking for/ Let me tell you about the job.
  • Rapid fire questioning.

I. Respond as follows:

 1. Tell me about yourself. This is a person who is not quite sure how to start the interview, so you want you to get it started. Respond with something like "I’ll be glad to. Would you like me to start with my educational background, or with my actual experience?" Their response to this question will both give you a direction and let you know what is more important to them. Whichever one they decide, start with the most recent degree or job (do not start with your first job or educational experience. No one wants to hear about where you flipped burgers or went to kindergarten.) Give the interviewer plenty of opportunities to ask questions and to direct your conversation. The interviewer will make a decision about you, positive or negative, within the first 20 minutes of the interview, so start selling immediately. Any additional time spent with you will be used to justify their decision. Tell them all about your strengths, and don’t mention any negative feelings or experiences. In the interviewers mind, if you were unhappy in your last position (regardless of the reasons or how good you were) then you will probably be unhappy in your next job.

 2. Let me tell you what we are looking for. Smile, and get ready to take notes, this person is about to tell you exactly what you need to say to get the offer. Every time someone says "What we are looking for" or "what we need is" or starts any phrase with "what," they are giving you a road map to the offer. When they are finished telling you the 'what's', just go down your list and show them how you are the person who provides each thing they are seeking.

 3. Rapid Fire Questioning. First, don’t let this intimidate you. This is generally a busy person who knows what he is looking for and doesn’t really have a lot of time to chat. Look him or her in the eye, and answer their questions directly and concisely, without extensive elaboration. Do not try to be overly friendly or conversational, as this will tend to irritate this person. Give them the information they are seeking and let them get back to what they are so anxious to return to. If you handle this person in this manner, they will be impressed with you. If you will be spending a lot of time with this person, then you should work passively at getting them to smile. When they smile, you have won for sure, but don’t worry about it if they don’t smile at all as long as you handled yourself as discussed.

II. Ego Gratification.

  • After a period of time, usually about 20 minutes, the interviewer will have made their determination, and will begin to relax their information seeking efforts. Be watching for this, as this is your cue to start asking your questions, but don’t start right into your list. Instead, find out a little about them on a personal level. Ask questions such as "What do you like best about working here," or "what is your most important project with this facility," or "why did you decide to accept this opportunity instead of others that you might have considered?" Find out how they like the community, schools, ask quality of life questions and explore their outside interests. Basically, look for information that you can use immediately to relate to them on a more personal level.

III. Information Gathering.

There should be a gradual shift from the Ego Gratification stage into the Information Gathering stage. Your questions should focus more and more on the list that you have come prepared to ask. Be careful not to ask a question that you have on your list that has already been answered, as they will think that you have not been paying attention.

IV. Closing.

  • At some point in the interview, you will sense that the conversation is coming to a close. When you do, there are several items that you must cover before exiting. The most important of these is to ask the following question:

"Do you have any concerns about me which will keep you from recommending me for (or offering me ) this position?"

  • This is your last chance to clear up any misconceptions which they might have. It can be a scary question, because they might have a legitimate concern that you can not overcome, but it would be far worse to not ask and not get the offer due to a concern that you could have overcome. And this is probably the best time to find out if you are not going to get the offer. When you ask this question, the interviewer might try to dodge it. It is important that you look them in the eye and ask this question directly, and that you not let them give you a brush off answer. Again, if they have a misconception or an erroneous concern about you, this is your only opportunity to clear it up. Know what is next. Do they have other interviews? Are they ready to extend and offer now? Will they be contacting the recruiter today? Tomorrow? When? When can you expect the offer?

If they extend an offer that is unacceptable to you, and you are working with a recruiter, do not decline the offer or express disappointment or dissatisfaction with it. Thank them for their time and for the offer, let them know that you would like to sleep on it before giving a response, and that they should hear from you within 24 hours. Then let your recruiter know that the offer came in lower than expected, and let him or her handle follow up negotiations. If they extend an offer that you like, and you are ready to do so, you can accept it, set a start date, and thank them for their time, but I still recommend putting the acceptance off to your recruiter, as the recruiter might actually be able to get a few more dollars for you. Ask for the job. Don’t assume that they know that you want the job. Ask for it (if you want it.) If you still need more information before you can make a decision, get that information. If you have other interviews, or need time to digest the information you have gathered before you can make a commitment, tell them so and give them a definite time frame within which you can respond (your response should come very quickly, within 24 hours, unless you have another interview that you just have to go to. This is an emotional decision for the employers as much so as it is for you, so don’t keep them hanging. The longer you wait to respond, the less thrilled they are going to be with a yes, and the more upset they are going to be with a no. This is a bridge, so don’t burn it.)


The employer has been told to expect a phone call from us shortly after you leave for an initial follow up. Before you get into your car, pick up the nearest phone and call us. Let your recruiter know briefly how the interview went and whether or not you are interested, and to what degree. If your recruiter is unavailable, leave a message describing your interest level with someone else in the office. We all work together and any one of us can effectively handle this call from you. Even if you are not interested in this position, it is important to us that we get the quick feedback. We need to preserve our relationship with the employer, and we need to know that we can trust you to follow up quickly on your future interviews. So remember, Call Your Recruiter. It helps to select the phone you will use prior to entering the building.