Interview Tips - These interview tips are provided to CIC candidates so they may achieve success in their interview process. These tips are based on the success of thousands of interviews by CIC candidates.

Most people do not take interviews seriously enough! You must be prepared, focused and maintain an attitude of interest and enthusiasm. You will only get ONE opportunity to interview with a company!


You need to go to the Internet/Library/Etc., in order to obtain any and all material on the company! You must do your research!

  • Develop questions regarding the company based on your research. Your questions will show interest and professionalism. Also, make sure that the interviewer will be able to answer the question; never embarrass the interviewer with questions that are outside of their area of expertise regarding the company.

    Find Out The Critical Issues

    To maximize your onsite interview, you need to learn from your recruiter, from people you may know in the client company and from the telephone interview with the client - what are the critical issues, problems, goals, and technical requirements regarding the subject position.

    If you can determine this type of information prior to the interview, then you will be emphasizing a background which will help address the client's critical issues and you may even provide information on how you would address their issues and a situation.

    Our experience based on thousands of interviews is that if you can accomplish the above, your chances of accomplishing a successful interview will increase substantially.

    Develop your mini-career stories:

  • Review your career and make a list of specific projects, development efforts, conversions, reengineering efforts, problems you have helped to resolve.

  • Evaluate the list and select those situations, projects, etc., which you feel would be most applicable to the job for which you are interviewing.

  • For each of your "stories", write down the following:

  • Define the situation, problem, or project

  • Structure of the team and the action taken

  • Technology utilized

  • Results - what was accomplished

  • Keep each mini-career story to under 3 minutes and approximately
    1 minutes in a telephone interview.


  • Always dress professionally. Forget that it's casual day for the company - not for you!

  • Evaluate your planned appearance on the interview day

  • Suit clean and well pressed?

  • Does it wrinkle easily?

  • Conservative?

  • Need a haircut?

  • Shoes shined and appropriate?

  • Wear minimum makeup and jewelry


  • Arrive the night before the interview. Allow for delay.

  • Arrive at the hotel at a decent time. Do not eat or drink heavily the night before your interview.

  • Get enough sleep - be well rested for the next day.

  • Ask the hotel the distance to your interview location -

  • How long will it take in the morning traffic?


  • Starting first thing in the morning at the hotel, you need to focus, focus, focus on one thing - to win the interview from your competition for the same position.

  • This is serious business. The interview day can change, for the positive, the rest of your life - your standard of living, etc. Yet, we are amazed at how bright, educated people, treat the job interview in such a nonchalant, cavalier manner. They spend more time determining what car to buy than in planning their career. In many cases it is the last chance you have in your life to go to work for this company - once rejected - it's tough to get a second chance.

    Therefore, clear your mind of everything else. Do not think of your personal problems or business problems, concentrate only on winning this opportunity.

  • When you go through the front door of the company, pull your shoulders back, take a deep breath, and be totally focused on the task at hand!

    The Interview


  • Time your trip to arrive 15 to 30 minutes early to allow for delays.

  • You never want to be late for an interview - It...

  • is a total negative

  • starts the day wrong

  • throws the company interview schedule into turmoil

  • Let the receptionist know you are early.

  • Never take "work" with you; you are totally focused on getting an offer of employment from this company. You should not be doing paperwork or checking for messages while on an interview!


  • When you meet people, it is a good idea to make contact with a quick and firm handshake - but not too firm (don't crush). To sit always - always ask where you should sit! Never assume!

  • Remember that most people do not know how to interview a candidate. Most technical managers are uncomfortable with the process!

  • your job is to make them more comfortable.

  • If you feel the interview is going too slow in the beginning, you take the initiative;

  • Ask them about an office picture or award hanging in the office.

  • Ask what their job encompasses.

  • Ask how long they have been with the company. (people feel comfortable talking about themselves and their job.)

  • Remember:

  • Always be totally focused.

  • Always display interest in the interviewer, the potential job, and the company! (People only hire people they feel are interested in the position)

  • The axiom in business today is teamwork, collaborative development, team building, etc. This is true for large Fortune 500 companies - as well as small software development firms.

    Focal Session of the Interview:

  • You usually have one hour with each person.

  • A very short period to impress people.

  • Studies have shown usually the success or failure of specific interviews are made in the first 10 minutes of the interview.

  • (Just like when you meet a new person.)

  • You have done your research on the company - remember, don't ruin it by asking an embarrassing question to the technical manager on an area he/she knows nothing about!

  • i.e. Had a candidate ask a technical manager what was the impact on the cash flow of a strategic business moves of the corporation. Your job is to show that you have done research on the company, not to make the interviewer feel stupid.

  • A more appropriate question would be - I understand that the company acquired a logistics software company which is now part of the IT group - What was the strategy behind that?

  • Or, I understand your firm has recently signed a joint venture with Oracle - What were the reasons behind that decision?

  • Or, I understand your company has made the decision to leave Novell and go to NT - what drove that decision?

  • All studies on the interview process state that interviews are won or lost on how the candidate answers the questions.

  • Our recent survey of executive/professional recruiters on why interviews fail indicates that one of the primary reasons is the lack of focused, concise answers. We call it the "Rambling Rose," rambling on and on, boring the interviewer. The interviewer now pictures themselves with this person as an employer and having to put up with this rambling every day.

  • Also, the picture delivered is that the candidate does not know the answer and is covering that fact with a lot of words.

  • OK! How do we solve this problem:

  • First, if you do not know the answer, say so - never fake it. Or, if you do not know specifically, but you know where/how to find the answer - say so!

  • Second, relate one of your prepared "mini-stories".

  • Remember, they should take less than 3 minutes to tell.

  • The important part is your answer is compact, full of information, to the point, knowledgeable, - most of all concise!

  • With the "mini story" your answer is compact, full of information, to the point, knowledgeable, - most of all concise!

  • The interviewer will think what recall, and right to the point.

  • When you finish your mini-story in 1.5 to 3 minutes you throw the ball back across the desk - "Bill, is that what you wanted to know - or was that similar to your situation?" - focused, concise, not rambling.

  • Candidates tell us that when they create mini stories - when they are answering questions in which they have not prepared a mini story they tend to "on-the-fly" prepare their answers in an a, b, c, and d scenario like a mini story. (Concise and to-the-point.)

  • Remember that when you are in an interview everything is magnified
    - the way you sit
    - the way you dress
    - your mannerism
    - your speech
    - the length of your answers
    - how you greet people
    - how you smile or do not smile

  • You are under microscopic examination from the time you enter the building. Everyone provides input to the decision of whether to make an offer: the receptionist, administrative assistant and the person who picks you up at the hotel or takes you to the airport for your trip home - which means that you must be totally focused, not 98% of the time but 100% of the time.

    Interview Closure - tell them:

  • You feel your qualifications "fit" the position requirements.

  • You like what you have heard, assure them that you have a continuing interest.

  • You are impressed with the technical environment/solutions they are implementing.

  • Ask when they will be making a decision.

  • Ask them to contact you if they have further questions.

    End with a good solid handshake. Look the interviewer in the eyes and thank them for their time and the opportunity to discuss the position.

    CIC Presentation "Structure"

  • When CIC, Inc. presents you with a client, we present them with the facts that you have agreed upon: salary range, availability, position, etc.

  • That is the "structure" of your package we are presenting, and that is what our client has accepted. If you attempt during the interview to change that structure, this usually has negative results. If you feel something needs changing, let us do it after the interview meeting.

  • Also, try to deflect salary questions during the interview (except confirming what has been presented). Your job is to maximize your worth to the company during the interview.

    After the interview:

  • Call us ASAP after the interview. (We need your input prior talking to the client.)

  • Follow up with a thank-you note. (E-mail, if appropriate)

  • If you are committed to the interviewer to provide additional information by a certain date, then make sure it's accomplished on time - you are still being tested!

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