Interviewing Tips

mcm staffing

Interview Preparation Guide

MCM Staffing Recruiters are here to help.

Check out some helpful tips and tricks for your next job interview below.

Before the Interview

Interview Tips

Be Prepared to Answer

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Before the Interview

1. Understand the role

Never interview for a job you know nothing about. Do your homework on the opportunity—the experience, education and skills required, responsibilities, and work environment.

2. Know the company

Carefully research the company, utilize several sources – company website, Google search, newspaper or magazine articles, know the products and / or services, identify competitors, and any major news announcements.

3. Practice your story

Develop stories to highlight your achievements. The more comfortable you are relating your accomplishments, the more your confidence will shine through in a job interview.

4. Confirm can do/will do

Know your capabilities and limits in advance. Will you travel? How much? Do you mind long hours? Have a clear idea of what you want and need from a job before the interview.

5. Perform interview question drills

While you can’t predict all the interview questions you will be asked, you can guess quite a few. Formulate answers to typical interview questions and prepare creative, clever responses. Practice out loud to increase your poise and reduce anxiety.

Interviewing Tips

1. What to bring

Several copies of your resume, a notepad and pen to take notes, your references on a separate page just in case.

2. Be prepared to fill out an application

Fill out ALL paperwork completely.

3. Timing

Arrive 10 – 15 minutes early before your interview. Allow for unexpected delays/traffic jams, parking difficulties, etc.

4. Attitude 

Maintain a friendly demeanor. Be gracious and respectful to everyone you meet, from the receptionist to the interviewer to everyone in between.

5. Be confident

6. Listen carefully

7. Speak positively

Do not criticize former employers or anyone during your interview. Emphasize the value of the experience, what you learned, etc…

8. Seating

Only sit once the interviewer offers you a chair or is seated. Select a seat directly opposite the interviewer.

9. Make eye contact

Look at the interviewer. Direct eye contact demonstrates confidence and sincerity.

10. Remember names and make sure to get business cards from everyone you meet

Don’t forget to send them a thank you note later!

11. Eliminate irritation factors

Keep nervous habits in check throughout the interview (pen clicking, pencil tapping, foot swinging, knuckle cracking, etc.). Never smoke, chew gum or take any beverage into the meeting.

12. Do not get personal

Limit the amount of personal information you provide during the interview. It is not pertinent to the job or the interview process.

13. Turn your cell phone OFF

This does not mean down or on vibrate, turn it off!

14. Ask questions

At the end of most interviews, you are asked if you have questions. Use this opportunity to get final questions answered while demonstrating your knowledge of the organization and enthusiasm for the job.

15. Never discuss compensation on an initial interview

Ask your Recruiter how to handle the salary question!

Be Prepared To Answer

1. General Background Questions

Tell me about yourself.
Keep it short – 2-3 minutes at most.
You should speak about your profession, training and education, NOT your life history or personal information.
What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
What are your five most significant accomplishments?
What three adjectives best describe you?
Why did you choose your profession?
Why should we hire you?
What sets you apart from the competition?
What specialized skills or talents do you offer?

2. Questions About the Company

Why do you want to work for our company?
How did you learn about us?
What do you understand the position to be?
What do you know about company/our competitors?

3. Questions About Previous Work Experiences

Why are you leaving your current job?
Why have you taken a break from the workforce?
Describe the duties of your last job.
What were your greatest accomplishments in your last job?
What did you like most/least about your last job?
What was your very first job?
What was your favorite job to date and why?
Do you prefer to work in a team or on your own?

4. Questions About Your Style of Work

What kind of a work environment are you looking for?
What kind of management style do you prefer?
What kind of manager are you?
What new skills/experiences do you want from your next job?

5. Questions About Experience/Accomplishments

Describe some of the most significant responsibilities you have managed in a work environment.
What is the largest number of people you have supervised at once?
Name some performance achievements you are proud of.
Describe a situation when you made a positive impact on business performance.

6. Behavioral Interview Questions

Describe a situation in which your work was criticized and how you handled it.
Describe a work situation when you overcame a difficult challenge.
Give an example of one of your successful teamwork experiences.
Describe an important learning experience you have had in the workplace.

7. Questions You Should Always Ask

What are your expectations for this position? – This should give you insight, personally and professionally. Give examples of how you fit the position or profile.
If I were hired, what would my project or assignment be?
What is the best way to exceed expectations in this role?

8. Questions You Should Never, Never Ask!

What is the compensation?
What are the benefits?
What are the hours?
How many weeks of vacation do I get?

9. Before You Leave

Make sure you have answered all the interviewers questions satisfactorily.
ASK FOR THE JOB (soft sell) I am very interested. What is the next step?

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Going back to school after being incarcerated can be challenging. With all of the legal restrictions and institutional biases involved with this process, you may not even know where to start.

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