My Top 5 Essential Interview Tips

These are my personal views based on having worked as an executive search consultant, executive career transition coach and mock interview trainer for over 20 years. My view is that the key candidate behaviors that have influenced my decisions as an interviewer in the selection and short-listing process include:

1. LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE – Beginning with the way the candidate walks into the room; their presence and body language; whether or not they initiate the handshake; the firmness of that handshake; ability to maintain eye contact and the self-assurance to permit their personality to shine through; remembering to smile.

2. PREPARATION – The degree of effort that the candidate has put into doing their homework in researching the job, the company, its values and culture of the organization. Has the candidate actually bothered to even look at the website? As the interviewer, I will very quickly uncover this kind of information throughout the interview. It reveals so much about a candidate – i.e. their professionalism, initiative, attention to detail.

3. ENTHUSIASM AND ENGAGEMENT – How switched on and eager is this candidate to take on the role that I’m recruiting for? Do I see a twinkle in their eye? Is there an air of excitement as I discuss with the candidate their suitability for the role? How convincing are they? To what lengths are they prepared to go to engage me in conversation and persuade me that they are the “best fit” for the role?

4. ABILITY TO TALK UP STRENGTHS AND ATTRIBUTES – Is the candidate able to demonstrate their strengths and attributes by providing a suitable example or story that actually highlights their strengths in addition to those competencies that I’m seeking.

5. APPEARANCE – Has the candidate dressed for success? Is their presentation sharp and polished? Do they “look like” they should be taken seriously.



The internet has leveled the field in many ways for interviews – i.e. everyone can find the fundamentals of ‘how to interview’, tips and sample questions within seconds. So to stand out, today’s candidates need to do much more than follow the same old advice that’s been dished out for years.

a) Connect at a personal level with interviewers – If an interviewer doesn’t connect with them or doesn’t like them at a personal level, they probably won’t hire them

b) Ask intelligent questions – The questions someone asks tells me much more about their thought process and intellect than the prepared answers they provide to my questions

c) Really Listen – If candidates spent more time listening in interviews instead of talking or thinking about what they were going to say, they’d truly understand the needs of an employer and be better able to tailor their responses

d) Tell stories instead of giving scripted answers – Authentic stories which are tailored to individual roles and employers. Something you can only do if you’ve connected with interviewers, asked the right questions and listened!

Learn More About Mock Interview Training:

Mark S. James, CPC
Founder and President
Hire Consulting Services
San Diego, CA

Share This!

Leave Your Comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts