After putting time and effort into your job search, you’ve landed an interview. It is crucial to always be preparedfor your interview; whether its knowing the companies background or the name of the job you have applied for, being prepared means being knowledgeable. Here are some tips on how to prepare for your interview, what to do during the interview, and how to close your interview.

How to Prepare for the Interview


  • Before an interview, a company wants to know a little about you through a resume.  In the same way, it is important for you to have some preview information about the company’s “resume.”  Take time todo some research about the company – such as its locations, private funding or current financial standing, products or services, and future growth plans. 


  • Research is essential in preparing for your interview. You can gather information about the company from their corporate website for through Internet search engines. Write down any questions you have about the company and bring them with you to the interview. Showing you did research on the company shows your enthusiasm about the position & company.

Be ready for questions such as:

  • Why are you contemplating a change and/or Why did you leave previous positions?
    • Your answers should be business not personal reasons.
  • What do you consider to be your strengths/weaknesses?
    • Focus your weaknesses on areas you would like to learn or improve, not character flaws. 
    • Focus your strengths on what will be an asset to the company 
  • What do you see yourself doing in five years?
    • Be ready to explain what you’re also doing to prepare yourself. 
  • Who are your references?
    • Be sure to let your references know you have listed them. Come with a contact list to your interview. 
  • Tell me about yourself.
    • Do not ramble about yourself. Describe your successes and strengths that benefit/relate to the job position. 

Think of these words when planning your answers:

  • I… planned, created, originated, initiated, developed, conceived, implemented, formulated, designed.


  • It… led to…; or  I… contributed, demonstrated that, saved, reduced, collected, achieved, provided for, increased, shot holes in, evaluated.


  • I… organized, directed, led, supervised, guided, managed, was responsible for, presided over, coordinated, gave direction to, built.

When You Arrive for the Interview

  • Men
    • For a non-sales/executive level position: wear a sport coat and slacks with no tie, or a shirt and tie at the least.
    • For a sales or executive level position and/or feel comfortable wearing a suit, that is suggested.Do not wear cologne.
  • Women
    • Wear a suit, business-appropriate top and skirt, or dress. Do not wear perfume.

Arrive early

  • Being late to an interview is never excusable. Plan for traffic, bad parking situations, and un-predictable events.
  • If you are late call to inform them.
  • Be aware of your parking-lot behavior. You never know who is watching.

Greet your interviewer appropriately 

  • Shake their hand firmly and address them by their surname
  • Smile
  • Bring a copy of your resume and reference list

Probing Questions

  • Asking the right questions will demonstrate your value system, listening skills, sincerity, and how you will take future direction.
  • Listen to total answers without interrupting.  The last 5 words in a sentence linguistically have the most meat.

Questions to Ask Your Interviewer
1. What are some major short- and long-range department/company objectives?
2. What are some characteristics that are unique about your company or make it attractive from the outside? What gives your product the competitive edge?
3. In what areas does your company excel or find itself most challenged?
4. What outside influences affect your company’s growth?
5. What have been some common denominators of your successful employees? (you can then use this information for the next person you meet.)
6. What would you add or subtract from the last employee to increase efficiency?
7. What major challenges will I face immediately coming into the job?  What resources and staffing will be available?
8. Based on what you’ve seen of me so far, where do you think I could contribute the most?  Are there any concerns about my ability to do the job?
9. What is the next step?
10. Generic questions for multiple interview situation:  Tell me about your career at this company.  What excites you about working here?


  • If the interviewer asks you about your salary needs/desires, respond by saying that you are open for the right opportunity.  Don’t lock yourself in high or low by mentioning a specific dollar figure or range.  If the interviewer presses you, tell him/her: “There is one reason why I’m here today – the opportunity.  Based on what I’ve heard, I’d like to entertain your best offer.”

How To Close the Interview 
Thank Your Interviewer

  • Always express your gratitude for the interview and thank them for their time.

Compliments and Positivity 

  • Compliment the interviewer on something with regard to his/her personality, enthusiasm, presentation, success or other attributes that you’ve been impressed by.
  • Make a positive comment about the company based on what you’ve previously read and/or learned during the interview.

Ask Questions

  • When you are asked if you have any questions for the interviewer, you should ask one or two questions about the company. Here are some sample questions.
    • “What are you looking for in potential candidates?”
    • “What is the time frame for hiring?”
    • “What do you think are the most important qualities a potential candidate can have?”
    • “What are the next steps in your interview process?”

How To Follow Up After an Interview
Call your TriStaff Group consultant

  • Within the day after your interview, follow up with your consultant.  If you want the position, he/she can help you get it.  If you don’t want it, he/she will tell the company for you.

Send a Thank You Note

  • Even if it’s not your dream job, you never know what that person’s positive impression might lead to.

*(See sample thank you letter below) – include specific reasons why you’re interested to show your motivation
City, State, Zip

Dear Mr./Ms.                           ,
It was a privilege to have been invited to (Name of Company)  to interview for the (Job Title) position.  The key persons I met provided ample information about (Name of Company) as a whole.
I am convinced that (Name of Company) is the kind of company I would like to work for—a company with innovation and technical leadership; and with my background and experience, I’m equally convinced that I can make a significant contribution to your organization. I truly enjoyed having the opportunity to interview with you and your colleagues on _(date)____.  I was very much impressed by your energetic and talented team.  I would be(“adjective”) if I can be a member of the team.  (Name of Company) is a (young and dynamic) company and provides an excellent working environment for career growth.  I was interested in (Name of Company) before the interview, but became even more interested after meeting (Number)people who all felt that (Name of Company) was the best company in the (Industry) field in San Diego!  It is just the type of company I would love to work for.
Once again, thank you for the hospitality you extended to me.  I hope to hear from you soon.

      Your Name

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