In-Person Interview Tips

Think of an interview as a performance. Ask any performer what factors are most important to insure the best level of quality in their execution, and they will most likely tell you – “preparation, practice, and planning.” All of this will make you increase your presentation, preparation and make you perfect for the job so you can help their business improvement.

Here, we have compiled for you some of the key points you should consider for your next interview. They are broken down into four categories: Interpersonal, Technical, Career Goals, and Behavioral.

1. Interpersonal

A. Expectation Setting & Rapport Building

— Confirm with the Interviewer how much time they have to meet with you AND what they expect to accomplish during their time with you. It is imperative that you understand, and adhere to, their expectations. Write them down, and place them in front of you! A properly worded question to determine this might be:

  • “In order to best use our time today, may I ask how much time we have, and what you would like to accomplish?”

— If time permits, ask them questions about themselves and their company. People are usually proud of their firm and will appreciate your interest. Samples:

  • Ask their role in the interview process
  • Ask about their job responsibilities
  • Ask for their view of their company, what they like, and what they might not. How long they’ve been there and where they were before that.

B. Alertness – Show energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and fire. Avoid showing signs of “disinterest”… things like blank stares, slouching, looking too comfortable – too “at ease”.

C. Friendliness – Smile often, maintain good eye contact (but avoid “staring down” your interviewer), demonstrate a friendly, outgoing manner – but avoid being over animated. Also avoid being too aggressive with your rapport building. Remember that the key is to gradually build on the rapport you start early in the interview.

D. Communications Skills – Keep your answers brief and to the point, avoid going off on a tangent or turning an answer into a dissertation.

Plan to take select Visual Aids with you so that you can communicate a lot of information using a picture of a product you worked on, or a schematic, etc.  A picture can save you a thousand words.

Whenever possible, try to clarify the interviewer’s level of understanding of your answers. Look for signs of incomplete understanding like:

  • raised eyebrows,
  • an uncomfortable shift in their sitting position,
  • or a period of silence.

If you see a sign of incomplete understanding, make an adjustment. Ask questions like:

  • Was that answer adequate?
  • Shall I go into more detail?
  • Would you like me to expand that answer?

2. Technical

A. Skills Assessment – In addition to your actual technical skills, the interviewer will attempt to determine other factors that add value to your inventory of talents. For example, they will assess:

  • Your attitude (or desire) for learning new skills.
  • Your aptitude (or ability) for learning new skills.
  • Similar skills and experiences that will add to your value to them.

B. Communicate – Show understanding and appreciation for their:

  • Systems
  • Architectures
  • Development tools
  • Methodologies

C. Show Interest – When discussing the work responsibilities, show some enthusiasm (even excitement) for the chance to contribute to the firm’s success.

D. Address your Shortcomings – It is likely that at some point the interviewer will ask you about a skill or experience that you don’t have. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. It gives you a chance to turn a “negative” into a “positive.”

For instance, if an interviewer asks, “Have you developed in (enter here some skill you don’t have)” Your answer might be:

  • No, I haven’t, but I would love to have a chance to learn it.
  • No, I haven’t, but I’ve always wanted to learn it.
  • No, I haven’t, but I’m a quick learner – would I have a chance to learn it in this position?
  • No, I haven’t, but is this something you know how to do? (If so) Would I have a chance to learn it from you?

3. Career Goals

A. Commitment (long term) – In addition to your technical abilities, a potential employer is likely to be very interested in your career goals. They want to determine their firm’s ability to satisfy your objectives, thus assessing your potential longevity. Your answers will help the interviewer determine if they will consider you a good hire, or a risky hire.

Be prepared to answer some of the harder questions like: “Where do you see yourself in two years?” Your answer might sound something like: “Hopefully doing something I enjoy, with a nice firm, and working with a nice, bright group of people.”

B. Commitment (short term) – Upon completion of the interview, if you decide that you’re really not interested in the position, kindly thank them for their time, and leave. But, if you decide you want the job…


Let them know that you understand their expectations, and you feel that you are qualified for the job. Tell them that you feel you can do a good job for them, and you want the position.

4. Behavioral

A. Taboo Subjects – The best way to eliminate confrontation or hurt feelings is to avoid bringing up anything to do with:

  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Politics

B. Avoid Negativity – It is especially important to avoid saying anything negative about:

  • Former employers
  • Co-workers
  • Clients
  • Your personal life

C. Use Humor with Caution – While some humor may be appropriate, many times it is construed as flippant, insensitive, or improper. Humor is often used by candidates to show their confidence and their comfort with the situation, but it’s a fine line between the right amount of humor… and TOO MUCH!


Main Page – Candidate Information

General Interview Tips

Telephone Interview Tips

In-Person Interview Tips (you are here)

Behavioral Interview Tips

Resume Improvement Tips

Welcome to Balionis Group!

We have an excellent reputation for matching good Candidates with good Clients. Contact us to discuss how we can help you. Paul Balionis

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