Interview wisdom

Interview wisdom

Good luck in your upcoming interview!

Please take a moment to review these reminders and use them as you prepare. With this pre-interview preparation, combined with active listening skills, you should have no problem showing the interview team that you will be their next great hire.

Perhaps the most important reminder is to always keep the conversation positive. Positive responses give a certain impression of you as a person and can often transcend the details of an answer to a challenging interview question (for example, how you might have handled a particularly difficult work situation that didn’t go your way).

The most critical pre-interview preparation you must accomplish is summarizing and quantifying your experiences that relate most to the position. Work from the assumption that it is your responsibility to help the interviewer understand your capabilities. Read your resume – and remember that it is the only impression the interviewer could have of you prior to the interview. Do as much as you can to quantify your experiences and to effectively share the challenges you have faced…be ready to highlight how this has prepared you to be successful in your next role. Be ready to expand on areas of accomplishment and work to draw lines that speak to the priorities of the hiring team/manager and the job description.

Think through examples of how you have overcome challenges similar to that which you believe this job may face. Know that you will be interviewed not only for your past successes but also your ability to work through difficult situations. Choose examples from your past that highlight technical depth, superior communication skills, diplomacy and service mentality.

Be prepared to answer questions about your strengths. What do others think of you? At the end of the day, what makes you good at your job? What part of your job do you like and do well? Handle questions about weaknesses by accepting any weakness responsibly and then focusing on areas where you would like to gain additional experience and how that additional experience would make you an even more valuable future key contributor (leader!) in the company.

If it comes up, be open about salary. It is best to be gracious and to let them know where you are today; separate base and bonus and that you are hopeful for a competitive offer. Understand that the interview is never an appropriate time or place to negotiate. If we get to the offer stage together, salary discussions are a place where you will demonstrate a good bit about yourself to your new employer. Work with us, and allow us to be your representative on this. Be strong in valuing yourself, but be realistic in your expectations and show character and poise during salary negotiations.

Questions? Ask great questions that engage the interviewer. Ask about potential challenges and obstacles you will face in the first year of this job, as well as the goals and objectives of the hiring manager and others you interview with. This can lead to some very productive conversation and help to better determine if the role is a match for you and/or your potential employer.

Demonstrate knowledge of the company and that you’ve taken the time to do some research on your own. Be prepared to answer with some specificity why you would want to go to work for this company.

Be yourself and be genuine during the interview. If you are excited about the opportunity, then by all means let each person on your interview team know it.

Think about and practice your responses to the following questions. Aim to speak in an articulate, thoughtful manner and avoid interjecting distracting terms such as “you know” or “like” into your speech.

Top Interview Questions

1. Tell me about yourself.

2. What are your strengths?

3. What are your weaknesses?

4. Why are you interested in leaving your present position? (Or why did you leave your last?)

5. Why is this opportunity appealing to you?

6. Does this job represent a step down for you? [may not be applicable] 7. Tell me about your

most significant accomplishment in your last role?

8. How would you describe your work style/management style?

9. Describe a situation when you failed….

10. How would YOU approach this job? (or why are YOU the right person for this job?)

11. What are your career goals for the next five years?

12. What are your financial requirements? (Note: it is best to deflect this question to your



You will likely be asked Behavioral Event interviewing questions. Like the following:

• “Tell me about a time when you …”

• “Describe a situation when you …”

• “Give me an example of a specific situation when you…”


One format to use when answering these type of questions is represented by the acronym “SAR:”

Situation – Action – Result. First describe the situation/problem/challenge, and then describe the

action you took and the results you achieved.

One thing that can set you apart on SAR questions is explaining WHY something was challenging,

difficult or special. If you are unsure about how to answer an SAR question effectively, set up an

interview preparation appointment with us.


When you interview

• Dress professionally, make good eye contact and avoid any distracting mannerisms.

• Use good active listening skills: if you listen carefully, hiring managers will tell you what they are

seeking in an employee.

• Never denigrate a past employer – this is a “red flag” for future employers.

• If you are not certain about how you are doing in the interview, it is okay to ask for feedback by

asking questions such as, “Did that answer your question? Were you looking for more


• Towards the end of the interview, you may find it beneficial to ask the question “Do you have any

areas of concern regarding my candidacy?” This is called “handling objections,” and if there are

concerns, do your best to address them.

• When you wrap up the interview, end things on a positive note by stating in a sincere manner that

you want the job. Also, check in with the hiring manager on the hiring process by asking what the

next step is for you as a candidate.

• Don’t forget to thank your interviewer (and send a “thank you” note that expresses your

appreciation for the meeting, and reinforces your interest in the job and why you are an excellent fit

for the role).

• Call your recruiter after your interview to debrief!


Best of luck!

John Compton | President

Chris Cunningham | Director of Recruiting

Kathy Provost | Director of Account Management

About the Author
John Compton
John has served as a Medical Device Industry Executive Recruiter, building relationships specifically in New England since 2002. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the US Military Academy at West Point, NY and is a Babson MBA. John is also a former Army Officer and US Army Ranger School Leadership Award Recipient.