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Throughout the hiring process, I have interviewed many times with different hiring managers, but these people were relatively experienced in the interviewing process. Many types of interviewers can be interviewing the applicant, and it is conceivable that some might be new to the interviewing process. It stands to reason in such circumstances, the applicant would have to be more proactive in selling himself / herself.

Besides the classic interview preparation keys such as those below:

  • Be familiar with your resume, accomplishments and work experience
  • Research the company - products, mission, recent news etc...
  • Being prepared with relevant, insightful questions relating to the job sought such as expectations and culture.

Interviewing is about determining fit and qualifications for the role applied. Conducting research is essential to maximize one's preparation, target questions, and ease nervousness. In the experiences I had, interviewers often asked about ones previous work experience, hard skills, interpersonal relation(soft) skills, as well as knowledge about the job applied for.

When interviewing with a interviewer who's relatively new to interviewing candidates, what are some additional suggestions to maximize one professionalism and a positive first impression?

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    You don't seem to be able to ask a single question without using the word "professionalism" - Real professionals rarely talk let alone obsess about professionalism. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 31 '15 at 2:44
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I always work with the interviewer, so it makes no difference to me whether the interviewer is experienced or not. The interviewer will (or should) always ask me to say something about myself. They will say something about the company and if they run out of gas, they'll ask me if I have any questions for them.

  1. I keep whatever I say about myself focused on the company's hiring requirement. If I do that, the interviewer will have no trouble reporting exactly what I said to their superior and look like they did their homework.

  2. The interviewer will ask me why I am interested in the position. Not being totally stupid, I did my research on the company, looking for something about the company and the position that I like and I usually find that something. If the interviewer buys into what I say, the interviewer will be eating out of my hand and will with pleasure report back to their boss what I said. Once more, I worked with the interviewer and made them look good in the process.

  3. The interviewer will signal that the interview is coming to a close by asking me if I have any questions for them. At which point, I will ask them what they are looking for me to do in the position that really matters to them. If whatever they say has not been already been covered in the interview, then here is my chance to plug a potential hole in the dyke and make sure that they knows that I have this angle covered.

By the time the interview ends, I will have made sure that the interview covered all the important points about me including how I expect to fit in the position and how I want to contribute to the team and by extension to the company to make it a better place and a more successful company. I worked with the interviewer and made them look good because they can come back with the homework completed and completed in a satisfactory way. And I incidentally made an exceedingly strong case for my candidacy.

Note that the interview covered only a few points but covering these points will easily suck up those 30 minutes or 60 minutes that have been allocated. If I do it right, the interviewer will be quite excited about me. For the kind of reasons that matter to the interviewer and the company i.e. the right reasons.

I don't care about making a first impression. That's because the first impression I make is the same as the second, third, fourth impression and every impression thereafter - This is the real me from Day One. If they don't like the impression I make, I trust them to know what to do about it.

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The interviewer may ask poor questions. For example, I once had a situation where a non-technical interviewer asked me a very technical question and then complained that my response was too technical. The solution is to give a short, summarized answer then ask whether it is what the interviewer wanted.

Be prepared for illegal interview questions. These might target marital status, sexual preference, political allegiance or other factors that are illegal to ask about in many countries. Answer the question vaguely with good humor or politely decline and move on.

The interviewer may also manage time in the interview poorly, getting distracted onto interesting but less relevant tangents. If the interviewer does not have a meeting straight afterwards be prepared for the interview to go over time unless you keep an eye on the clock, too.

For example, if you have interviewed candidates before, the interview may tangent into a conversation about interviewing. While there is nothing wrong with this, there is a fine line between demonstrating experience and critiquing the interviewer.

The interviewer may be more heavily influenced by charisma and perceived "cultural fit" than more experienced interviewers. Turn on the charm and humor.

However, the interviewer may feel threatened if you get questions consistently correct or appear too confident, they may ask you increasingly harder or trick questions. Make sure to answer honestly and in good grace if you get things "wrong".

Without meaning to sound biased against older interviewers, if the interviewer is older or in a lofty or well-regarded position, they may demand respect. More modern etiquette sees interviews as a two way conversation to ensure a mutual fit.

The interviewer may be unclear on the next steps. For example, if you are successful, the interviewer may not know who will interview you next or who will arrange it and when it will be arranged. Make sure to follow up with your recruiter or HR.

Beyond that, the usual recommendations apply, such as arriving on time, being appropriately dressed (if on doubt, ask beforehand) and enthusiastic.

  • @Anthony While I appreciate marking mine as correct, you may want to leave the question open for a while longer to see whether others have things to add. The question was only asked three hours ago. If you like my response, I would suggest "up voting" it in the short term instead. I would make a decision about the correct answer in a day or two. – akton Jan 31 '15 at 1:33

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