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Wrapping it Up the Right way

• What’s the Next Step?: Once again, express your interest in the position. Ask the interviewer what will be the next step in the process and when the company expects to make a decision about the position.

• Say Thank You in Person: At the end of the interview, be sure to take time to thank the person who took the time out of his or her day to meet with you. “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me, and I look forward to hearing from you,” is a fine way to wrap up.

• Send a Thank-You Note: Ask the interviewer for a business card and send a personal note repeating your interest in the opportunity and thanking the client for taking the time to interview you. An e-mail note is also appropriate. However, send the e-mail using your personal e-mail address from your home system. Do not use your current employer’s e-mail system to send interview thank-you messages. Always double-check your spelling and grammar. If you have neat penmanship, you may consider handwriting your note.

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Tips for Successful Phone Interviewing

• Always make sure that you are in a quiet place without distractionsone where you can speak freely. If the interviewer calls at a bad time, it’s better to reschedule for five or 10 minutes later (when you can find a place to talk) than trying to get through it.

• Always have a copy of your resume in front of you. Many times the interviewer will ask you questions in reference to work history or projects detailed on your resume.

• Take 10 to 15 minutes to focus on the upcoming conversation before the interviewer calls.

• Always know with whom you will be speaking, as well as that person’s title and functional responsibility. Your SunTechPros Associate is responsible for letting you know exactly who will be calling. There are times when your SunTechPros Associate may not know exactly who will be calling. This happens more in larger companies when one member of a larger team is assigned to call you to assess your technical skills. Get the interviewer’s name and title and ask how he or she fits into the organization.

• Use Power Phone Skills! Speak slowly and clearly and always think about your answers before responding. If sitting, sit upright, just as you would in an actual interview. Many people think that if you stand while talking on the phone you are more alert and are better able to project your enthusiasm for the position. Be careful not to go monotone—keep your voice lively.

• Make sure your answers are clear and concise. Get to the point; don’t ramble. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t fake it—just say so.

• Have questions prepared. Ask the interviewer if you may ask a couple of questions. Additionally, always express interest in the position. At the conclusion of the interview, ask the interviewer what the next step will be.

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What To Do Not Do During the Interview?

Don’t Ask the Wrong Questions: Don’t ask about vacation or sick time. Don’t ask about benefits. This information will be provided to you later and is not appropriate during the first interview. Asking these questions gives the impression that those issues are the most important to you.

• Don’t Discuss Compensation During an Interview: Don’t get into specifics about compensation—there are many variables involved in achieving compensation that’s fair to you and your employer. The proper and appropriate way to answer the question about money is to say, “Mr./Ms. [Interviewer Name], I am currently making [your present compensation]; however, what is most important to me is the opportunity and the company. Based on what you have shared with me so far, I am really interested in this opportunity. If you are interested in me, I would like to entertain your strongest offer.” If they insist on discussing it, provide a range, not a specific number.

• Avoid Negative Comments: If you have any negative feelings or concerns, discuss them with your SunTechPros Associate after the interview. Keep an open mind during the interview, and wait until after the visit to make a decision about the opportunity.

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InterviewRole Playing: How To Answer the Tough Questions?

• Tell me about yourself. This is a great opportunity to highlight some of your strengths. Keep your answer under two minutes. If at all possible, the information you give should be pertinent to the job you are interviewing for. Use your resume summary as a base to start, and don’t delve too deeply into any one area. “I’ve worked in IT for the past seven years. I started as a programmer at BizStart, a small software company that develops business management tools. There I was involved in developing a sales automation tool, which at the time was quite innovative. The company’s revenues doubled in the first six months after the product was released. Next, I worked at…”

• What do you know about the position?Familiarize yourself with the company before the interview. Use the library or Web. Find out about products, revenue, reputation, history, etc. When you’ve shown you know your stuff, ask the interviewer to tell you more about the company. “I understand you are looking for a data modeler with healthcare experience to work on a data warehousing project for a managed care organization. Could you tell me more about your needs?”

• What are you looking for in a job? What are your goals? The answer should be tailored to the position you are applying for. You might mention how you will be able to use certain skills you are interested in using in your new position; you might discuss the specific responsibilities and challenges the position will require.

• What is your technical background, and what kinds of projects have you worked on? Use your resume to walk the interviewer step-by-step through your technical—not work—history. Discuss specific skills you have acquired and how you have used them. Make sure you are prepared to discuss this information—don’t just wing it.

• What are some of your most significant accomplishments? Tell a story about a couple of large, successful projects you worked on, or about a time when you overcame adversity to make a difficult project or task work. Focus on specific technical or personal skills you used.

• In what areas do you need to improve technically? : Try to get the interviewer to clarify this question. Is he or she asking about specific technology? Platforms? This way you will better be able to target your answer. If appropriate, talk about a skill that is not required for the position. Since this position will require you to use your strongest skills, your weaker skill areas probably are not required.

• What did you like most and least about your last job This is a great opportunity to highlight some of your strengths. Keep your answer under two minutes. If at all possible, the information you give should be pertinent to the job you are interviewing for. Use your resume summary as a base to start, and don’t delve too deeply into any one area. “I’ve worked in IT for the past seven years. I started as a programmer at BizStart, a small software company that develops business management tools. There I was involved in developing a sales automation tool, which at the time was quite innovative. The company’s revenues doubled in the first six months after the product was released. Next, I worked at…”

• How do you handle pressure? Discuss the skills you have acquired—organization, prioritization, ability to communicate well with others—that help alleviate the stress of pressure in a job AND how you have used those skills successfully in the past.

• Do you prefer to work alone or on a team? It’s best to provide a dual answer here—something that shows you are capable of operating independently when necessary and that demonstrates you are a team player when needed.

• How would you describe your “ideal job”? Cater your answer to the position and company you’re interviewing with. Your answer may include discussion about your desire for an opportunity to use specific technical skills, your desire to learn additional skills, a specific work environment, etc.

• If you were to hire someone to replace you in your last job, what kind of person would that be? You want to turn this answer around to reflect well on you. Discuss the kinds of skills the job demanded—skills that mirror some of your strongest skills. Discuss the temperament required of the person in the position. Discuss the challenges of the position.

• Where do you see yourself in five years? Answer this in general terms, and in reference to the company and opportunities available to you through this position. You might include comments about where you would like to be as a professional—don’t limit yourself to growth within the company.

• What kind of compensation are you looking for? Don’t get into specifics about compensation—there are many variables involved in achieving compensation that’s fair to you and your employer. The proper and appropriate way to answer the question about money is to say, “Mr./Ms. [Interviewer Name], I am currently making [your present compensation], however, what is most important to me is the opportunity and the company. Based on what you have shared with me so far, I am really interested in this opportunity. If you are interested in me, I would like to entertain your strongest offer.”

• What do you do when priorities change quickly? Discuss your ability to adapt and to communicate effectively with your supervisor and anyone you supervise. Talk about a step-by-step approach to examining new projects and tasks, determining where they fall into the greater scheme of things, rearranging current priorities, and getting buy-in from others involved.

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What To Do During the Interview?

• Play Detective: If the client does not begin by describing the scope of the project or responsibilities of the assignment and what skills and attributes he or she is looking for, ask! Make sure you understand what is important to the interviewer about the position before you begin discussing your background, skills, and experience.

• Ask the Right Questions:Come with prepared questions, and take notes during the interview. Most interviewers will give you an opportunity to ask questions. Asking informed, open-ended questions shows your interest in the company and in the assignment. Here are several suggestions:
• Can you tell me more about the projects this department has worked on over the past year?
• What is your vision for your team/department?
• What challenges do you face in the next three to six months?
• What is your management style?

• Sell Your Skills :Match your skills to the client’s problems and concerns. Pay close attention. Present a logical, concise description of your experience that matches the client’s need. Describe your functional duties, responsibilities, and accomplishments. Discuss hardware and software environments.

• It’s All in the Attitude: Managers want to work with people who are interested in working at their companies and on their projects—people who have a positive and upbeat attitude and who ask good questions.

• Keep Responses to the Point:Be a good listener and be interested. Stay on track, and be direct and concise with each answer. Then stop. Most interviewers have a number of pre-set questions they wish to cover in a limited amount of time. Don’t over-explain.

• Gain Agreement: Answer the client’s questions openly and honestly, being positive about yourself and your skills. Translate experiences you have had into benefits the client will gain if he or she selects you for the position. Ensure you have communicated well with the client and that you are able to fulfill the client’s expectations by saying, “Based on the description of the opportunity and what’s required to be a success, I am very excited about this opportunity and feel I am very qualified to assist you. How do you feel?” You might also ask: ”How do you view my role on this team?”

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