90% of hires are based solely upon the interview according to a Harvard Business Review study.

In fact, 63% of hiring decisions are made within the first 4.3 minutes of an interview (SHRM Study.)

So the interview is probably the most important part of the hiring process. And that's why it is wise to spend time with your recruiter to better understand how to best prepare for the interview. Being prepared for an interview is vital.

Telephone & Skype Interviewing

Very often, a telephone or Skype interview is the very first step in the interview process. These can be challenging for both the candidate and the interviewer because it is often difficult or impossible to discern visual and body language clues. First impressions matter, so preparation with your recruiter that is specific to this style of interview is critical.

Before the Interview

  • Use a landline. A cell phone may drop the call or distort an applicant's voice.

  • Turn off call waiting; it's annoying.

  • No background noise; no TV, no music, no kids, no barking dogs.

  • Place your resume in front of you, along with the job description.

  • Keep a pen, paper and calculator on hand to take notes.

  • If it is a Skype or video interview, dress appropriately as if you are going on-site for a formal interview.

During the Phone Interview

  • Ask the interviewer for the correct spelling of his/her name; verify the title.

  • Speak slowly; enunciate words and use proper grammar.

  • Don't interrupt; it's not polite.

  • Don't ramble; make your answers brief.

  • Ask questions; this shows the interviewer you have interest in the job.

  • Thank the interviewer.

After the Telephone or Skype Interview

Send a note of thanks within 24 hours via email or regular mail; it shows gratitude and interest in the position.

On-Site Interviewing Tips

  • Research the website: You can learn a great deal about the company, what it does, its culture, and about the people who you will meet from the company website. Print off relevant information, highlight points of interest, and begin thinking about questions that you may want to ask during the interview.

  • Have the address, directions, and relevant phone numbers ready. Your recruiter will help you gather this information.

  • Appearance: Fair or not, everyone remembers your initial presentation. Dress conservatively. That means you should wear a suit (navy blue, black, dark conservative colors with light colored blouse/shirt), closed-toe shoes and socks/hose.

  • Take your portfolio with notepad and pen for notes and a few copies of your resume.

  • Bring a photo ID with you in case you are asked to sign a visitor's log

  • Be punctual by arriving 15 minutes early, no earlier or later

  • Upon your arrival, you will often be asked to fill out a job application, even if you have previously submitted a resume. Fill out the application neatly and completely—do not write “see resume.” Answer any questions about salary and/or title sought with the phrase “flexible” or “open”

  • Be prepared to answer may of the most common interview questions. Practice your answers with your recruiter.

  • Introduce yourself to the interviewer with a firm, professional handshake and strong eye contact. You will naturally be nervous, but remain relaxed.

  • Be positive! Do not make negative comments about former employers or colleagues.

  • Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses

  • Smile and speak clearly and slowly when answering questions

  • Be prepared to identify your specific skills and experience that the interviewer is seeking, then draw parallel examples from your past experience.

  • Speak to your accomplishments. If you work on a team, speak of your team’s accomplishments AND the your specific role that made the team successful. This is not the time to be modest.

  • If in sales/sales management, draw accomplishments parallels to specific numbers (sales dollars achieved)

  • Ask proactive questions that you have prepared well ahead of your interview. Your recruiter will help you with targeted questions. Examples might include:

    • "What can I do to immediately make a difference and make a positive impact on your team?”

    • “What are the most critical projects or issues that you would like me to tackle when I start in this position?”

    • “Tell me about your best employee.”

  • When you close the interview, be sure to get business cards from everyone you meet.

  • Send individual “Thank You” emails to each person with whom you have met within 24 hours.

  • Call your recruiter within 30 minutes of leaving your interview. Often, the interviewer or hiring manager will call and asks for your feedback, so it is very important that you speak with your recruiter immediately following the interview.