Interviewing Tips

The Subject Of Money Should Not Come Up

If they ask your current salary, they have the right to know that…. If they ask how much you are looking for, your response is best interpreted by stating: ‘If there is mutual technical interest in our backgrounds, then I am sure we will come up with a figure that is mutually beneficial for both of us. (It is premature talking money before it is established there may be interest, or an offer).


It May Be Helpful To Understand The Hiring Companies Strategies, Job Security, And Room For Growth

Some of these questions outlined may be important to ask the hiring authorities to get an idea of their stability.

  • Where will this job lead for me as I prove Myself?
  • What are some of the long term commitments and benefits to working with this company?
  • Ask about the stability of the position you are interviewing for.
  • Ask: The last 2 people that hired in for this type of position…Where are they now? Have they climbed the company ladder ? Did they stay at the same level of responsibility ? (You need to establish if this is a position with room for growth)
  • Ask the people that you are interviewing with?
  • What position did they start with in the company?
  • How long have they been with this company?
  • What level of responsibility did they start out with?
  • How long did it take to get to their current status?


Most Employers Are Particularly Impressed With Engineers Who Are Knowledgeable About Their Organization, Or Indicate They Have Recently Reviewed The Companies Web Site During An Interview.

Do your Homework. Research the company you are interviewing with, and use this to your advantage.


What You Wear Is As Important As What You Say

We have learned to never assume anything. Take for instance, the lady who was going out on an interview for an Radar Cross Section Design position in a large corporation. I told her, “Wear something professional or, better yet, something you get a lot of compliments on.” The day of the interview she walked into my office, resume in hand, in a cocktail dress…with feathers flowing from the back.

The following tips may seem elementary, but being specific is better than being sorry!


  • The days of “Don’t wear Red,” “black is power” are finally over. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that wearing faddy, wild, large print and non-conservative outfits never works.
  • Don’t wear clothes that are too tight, too revealing, out of style or trendy.
  • Details matter! It’s the little things about your outfit (pins, tie tacks, pearls, scarves, etc.) that reflect your professional image.
  • Avoid anything soiled or that wrinkles easily.
  • Don’t wear skirts or slacks that are too short. Skirts should be down to the knee, and slacks should touch the top of the shoes.
  • Tennis shoes, sandals or shoes with straps are inappropriate. Make sure your shoes are shined and polished.
  • Don’t wear socks or nylons with holes or runs.
  • Keep nails short, clean and manicured.
  • Two squirts of perfume or after shave is enough.
  • Avoid too much jewelry.
  • Your hair should be clean and conservatively cut.

Men should wear a suit, long sleeved pressed shirt, a clean tie that hangs to the belt and shined shoes.

Suits are ideal for both men and women, because you can always take off the jacket if you are overdressed at a particular company. It is better to overdress rather than to dress inappropriately. The best bet is to investigate proper attire at the company before the interview by dropping by or asking someone who works there, but that isn’t always possible.

Should you wear the same outfit to every interview? Yes, if it is a conservative, well-planned outfit. You will be seeing different people each initial meeting, so why not?

Most people think you have to be wealthy to look professional. What you really need is style. When shopping for the perfect interview outfit, just remember that you don’t create a successful wardrobe by buying clothes you like, you do it by investing in clothing you need.


Your Body Language Sends Signals To Everyone You Meet

For all the power of your words, you should know that your body language says things you might not be aware of-or mean-at all. These signals send messages to interviewers, who often actually look for such signs.

  • Eye Contact
    It could be something as simple as shyness, but if you don’t look directly at people, they think you are shifty and distrusting. Practice looking people right in the eye. It is very important in life in general, but especially during an interview.
  • Hands Behind The Head
    You’re probably just stretching or relaxing, but it looks like you don’t care, or that you feel superior.
  • Fingers Under The Chin
    This is probably just a habit, but you appear skeptical and superior.
  • Arms Folden In Front Of The Body
    You could be cold or simply accustomed to sitting like that, but you appear unreceptive and closed-minded.
  • Fiddling With The Scarf or Pen
    This action makes you look unsure of yourself. You could just be checking to make sure something is straight, but it suggests you are nervous. Check your attire and materials before the interview and then relax.
  • Nail Biting
    Once again, this could be a childhood habit, but it’s interpreted as fear, nervousness or panic.
  • Swinging or Tapping Feet
    Your way of relaxing or coping in a situation can make you appear hurried and uninterested.
  • Handshakes Are Important
    Some of the most frequently asked questions about the handshake are:

    • Should I extend my hand first? Wait for the interviewer to extend a hand first.
    • Should I move my hand up and down a few times when shaking? No, it is not necessary to pump the arm, but a firm grip is important.
    • How hard should I squeeze? Learn the answer to this one by trying-shake hands with a few people and ask them.


First & Last Impressions Do Count

    Your clothing and comments send a message. As the story says: “you’ll never get another chance to make a first impression”. People make immediate judgments about your Economic level, Education, Trustworthiness, Honesty and Credibility all within six seconds. (Remember these words, and use them to your advantage). Now that you know you have just six seconds, would you want to chance sending a mixed message?
    When the employer starts walking you out or is obviously ending the interview, you’ll have your one and only shot at making your last impression. Look the interviewer right in the eye and mention or repeat things you like about the company. These may be things the interviewer shared with you during the meeting, such as, “This is a growing company,” “We believe in teamwork,” or “We believe in Quality, not just Quantity”. Do not leave an interview until you “close” on yourself. Remember those Key Words we spoke about earlier: Education, Trustworthiness, Honesty and Credibility. ((You are all of the above)


Why Have You Held So Many (Or So Few) Jobs In The Past Six Years?

If this applies, be prepared. If you’ve moved or been transferred, your situation might be obvious, but the potential instability could cost you the job. So, whatever the reason for “job hopping”, reassure the employer that your No. 1 goal at this time is stability. “I know it may look like I’m a job hopper, but there were a lot of circumstances beyond my control. The most important thing for me right now professionally is stability in both the company and my position.”

Why did you leave? Be truthful, but if it’s too negative, such as you had a personality conflict, think of another way to say it.

“I felt I had stagnated professionally and, after discussing the situation with my boss, we both felt I would have more opportunity with another company. It was a mutual parting.”

If you quit or were terminated and there was new management, you could also mention that there was a lot of turnover at that time.


Show Your Enthusiasm For The Job

Having Energy in your voice and actions can show the Hiring authority that you are a Motivated individual with a Design Oriented, New Ideas, and “Go get em” attitude. Employers are always looking for Engineers that can bring fresh new ideas to their company and Designs. Ask for a business card. Shake hands firmly with the interviewer while making eye contact. Thank him/her for the opportunity. Be direct and let him/her know that you enjoyed the interview and would very much want to work there. NEVER leave before asking for the job: “I want you to know that I’m very interested in the position and would like to be considered for it”


Sending A Thank You Letters After Your Interview

After the interview send a professionally formatted and printed follow-up / thank you letter to the interviewer(s). That’s why getting the business card is important. Be sure you get the name spelling and title correct. Not all candidates do this. It’s another way to separate you from the other candidates.

Below is a sample letter. (Feel free to copy it and use this one)


January 8, 2013

Joe Pattsmith

Techno Missile Systems , P.O. Box 82000 , Building R7 M/S C509
1000 E Imperial Hwy , Burlingame, MA 02389

Dear Joe,

I would like to thank you and the group for taking the time out of your busy schedule to afford me an opportunity to interview with you last week. I am very much interested in work that is going on in the engineering department, and see where I can be of immediate help to you.

I am happy that we did get a chance to cover some of the areas where my skills and your needs might overlap. Should you have any areas of concern or further questions that were not addressed in the interviews, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Joe Patsmith

P.S. Please forward a copy of this letter to the interviewers and all interested parties where appropriate.

Asking a few questions, and following protocols of this nature can help you in understanding a little more about your next potential employer, their hiring, and growth patterns.

Thank You for taking time to review these helpful tips on Interviewing. We are sure that you will do well at your next interview.

Review these tips shortly before leaving for your interview. Have them fresh in your Memory, and best of all, Have a Wonderful and prosperous interview !!