Interview PrepGet Ready For Your Interview!
Confident? Jittery? Curious? Confused? Excited?
We are Here to Coach You!
Our mission at Summit Professional Search, Inc. is to make sure your background and career interests are an excellent match with the position you are considering. Half the battle in identifying a “perfect opportunity” is understanding the position and the philosophy of the hiring company. We will do our best to make sure that your background and goals mesh with the hiring company’s goals.
With focus and preparation, your interview will be a breeze. We are with you at every step.
Interview Question Prep
Questions for Them
Your recruiter will help you prepare for initial phone interviews and in-person interviews
Many people are uncomfortable in an interview situation because they feel they will be judged harshly by their interviewer or they will not be able to adequately answer questions. Your recruiter can help you identify your concerns about this potentially stressful situation and provide solutions. Your recruiter will also help you prepare in advance, with information about the company and the position. We can also do a mock interview, which helps smooth out answers.
What the interviewer observes during the interview is an indication to them of what kind of employee, team player and contributor you will be. For the interview, be well-prepared, with the overall goal of a job offer.
COVID-19 has led to more phone and video interviews
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and health concerns, most companies are conducting their interviews via phone and video meetings. Here are some ideas for preparing for your phone and video interviews:
These types of interviews are important! They are not a diluted version of an in-person interview. They are an important opportunity to present yourself, your skills and your experiences to a Hiring Manager or HR rep AND learn about the position and the hiring company’s culture and focus.
Your primary goal for a phone interview/video conference interview is to make the company rep realize that you would be a wonderful addition to their team.
To prepare in general I recommend
- Research the company (website, LinkedIn, contact people you know who work there)
- Review the job description and compare it your resume/skill set
- Have a list of questions about the job and the company
- Be ready to take notes (easier & less obtrusive to do on a phone interview)
- Consider using headphones if you are concerned about sound quality and/or privacy
For a video interview
- Make sure you have installed the video conference software on your phone/laptop/tablet ahead of time
- Make sure that you appear as professional (clothes, hair, makeup) as you would for an on-site interview
- Find a background that is not distracting to the interviewer
- Join the meeting 5-10 minutes early
- Take some slow, deep breaths!
During the phone/video interview
- Let the interviewer lead the conversation – they have an agenda and there is specific information they are looking for
- Listen. Listen. Listen.
- Answer questions succinctly and at a high level, then ask if the interviewer would like more details
- If there is enough time, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. If you are truly interested, express your interest (Ex.= “This sounds like a great opportunity!”) and ask higher level questions (Ex.= “Can you tell me more about your company culture?” or “How big is the team?”). If you have multiple questions, ask the interviewer if they have time for more questions.
After the phone interview
- If you are working with a recruiter, let the recruiter know how it went and what your interest level is. Your recruiter will follow up with the hiring company for feedback.
- If you have the interviewer’s email address, send a brief thank you email, thanking them for their time, stating in 1-2 sentences why you are qualified, and stating your continued interest. If you don’t have their email address, you can ask your recruiter for this information.
To prepare for your interview, obtain as much information about the hiring company as you can
Visit the company website. See how this company positions itself. Ask your recruiter for information about the company and position. Your ability to speak about the industry, your niche and the company demonstrates to the interviewer that you have a serious interest in the position. It also allows you to have an in-depth conversation.
Verify the time, date and location of your interview (especially important if there is a time zone difference), as well as the names and titles of your interviewer(s). Your recruiter will make sure you have this information.
Arrive 20 minutes early
We suggest that you bring extra copies of your resume and, if applicable, a tablet/lap top to show your portfolio.
If you are running late, call your recruiter so she can alert the company for you.
After the interview, ask each interviewer for a business card, so you can follow up with a Thank You email.
Dress in a way that would be a good match for the company culture. If you are in doubt about the dress code, ask your recruiter for suggestions.
Types of interviews
Interviews are often a combination of behavioral and problem-solving questions. There are four types of questions that interviewers ask.
• Behavioral interviewers like to know how you respond to different stimuli, especially how you perceive stress. They will ask you about certain actions you took in the past, or require that you explore hypothetical scenarios. Questions to expect in a behavioral interview would be specific to your experience: “Describe a situation in which you handled a conflict with a colleague…” or “Tell me about a time when you…” OR more hypothetical: “What would you do if you were dealing with a frustrated client and you were on short deadline?” or “If you were on a cliff and a herd of elephants was running toward you, what would you do?”
• Resume questions. These relate to your past experience, skills, job responsibilities, education, upbringing, personal interests, and so forth. Resume questions require accurate, objective answers, since your resume consists of facts which tend to be quantifiable (and verifiable).
• Interviewers will usually want you to comment on your abilities, or assess your past performance. They’ll ask you to critique yourself with questions like, “What do you think is your greatest asset?” or, “Can you tell me something you’ve done that was very creative?”
• Some employers like to test you with stress questions such as, “ “If you were to compare yourself to any great leader, who would it be any why?” or, “Why should we be talking?” or “Why should we hire you?”
Think about how to present yourself
What have you accomplished at your previous positions? Your interviewer is assessing your skills, personality and attitude toward problems, and how you will contribute and fit in. No matter how impressive your resume, it is equally important to make a good “connection” with the hiring manager and other interviewers. Let the company know what you bring to the table and how your skills can be beneficial to their needs. Your own stories can be very powerful illustrations to the interviewer of your achievements and skills.
You should have several personal stories that you can tell as examples of your successes, and each story should last between 30 to 90 seconds. Think of these as concise “commercials” about your skills, personality and career.
Typical questions posed by the Interviewer
• Why are you looking to leave your current employer?
• Where do you see yourself five years from now?
• What would you like to achieve at this company?
• What do you consider your strengths? Weaknesses?
• What motivates you?
• Why should we hire you?
• How would you rate your organizational skills?
• Presentation skills?
• Do you work best alone or with a team?
• What do you like most about your current company?
• What do you like least about your current company?
Preparing for interview questions
Anticipate the questions that might be asked. What skills are most useful in the job? Look at the job description for ideas. What have you listed on your resume as a skill, achievement, or responsibility that would prompt someone to ask you about it? How do the job description and your resume dovetail?
Your recruiter will ask to schedule some time prior to the interview to help you prepare. This is valuable practice for the real interview, and the recruiter can give you important insights into the company culture and the personality of the team and management.
Every conversation you have at the company matters
From your first phone screen interview to your last in-person interview, the company’s goal is to gather information about your energy level, attitude and communications skills. Everyone you meet, from the Receptionist to the CEO is assessing you.
The employer will be looking at your communication and reasoning skills. Body language is a very important factor during the interview process. Stand up straight, offer a firm handshake and make eye contact. Make sure your answer addresses the question asked.
It is OK to think before you speak! The interviewer wants to get a sense of your communication style. Your style of answering will reveal much about your confidence level, how easily you feel pressure, your communication skills and your approach to finding solutions. When in doubt, you have a couple of options: you can answer the question in a very high-level way and then ask your interviewer if they would like more details OR say “Just to clarify, are you asking if….”
Why you are leaving your current employer?
Tell your interviewer why you are interested in the position. You may choose to say that you weren’t actively looking, and your recruiter called with this intriguing opportunity and you wanted to explore it. Never say anything negative about a former company or boss. It is fine to say that you are interested in a more challenging role, or that you are seeking a positive, team-oriented environment, or that you prefer a position without supervisory responsibilities. If there is an issue that concerns you, strategize with your recruiter on how to best address the problem. The way you deal with leaving a negative situation is an important indicator to your potential employer of your attitude toward problems.
Ask your own questions and always be positive!
Your questions will help the interviewer tell you more about the position and what type of things they are looking for in an ideal candidate. These answers will provide you information that you can use to present your strengths. It will also give you insight into how problems and questions are handled at the company.
Below are some of the areas you will need to understand in order to determine your interest in the company and position
• The requirements of the job, the challenges of the role and what a typical day/week would look like.
• Team members
• Leadership style
• Why the job is open or why has it been created, and the growth potential
• What is the forecasted growth for the company?
• The culture of the company
• How is success in this position measured?
Don’t bring up the subject of compensation yourself. If you are asked about your compensation goals, it is best to answer simply, “I am confident that you would make me a fair and equitable offer. I am interested in what I can learn and contribute.” If the interviewer persists, you can give the salary range and benefits you’re targeting and indicate again your belief that the company will make a fair offer. Your recruiter will help you if negotiating an offer is necessary.
Close the deal!
Tell your interviewer you are interested and …ask for the job! Many people feel uncomfortable or pushy asking for a job. There is nothing pushy or obnoxious about telling the interviewer that you have enjoyed meeting them and would like to contribute to the company. Ask what the next steps will be. Asking for the job also indicates to the employer how you will deal with the company’s clients. If this makes you uncomfortable, strategize with your recruiter before the interview to find the right words to use.
Send an email Thank You after the interview
The “Thank You” email is one of the most important parts of the interview process. It is another indication of how you will conduct business. Email thank yous are very acceptable and are currently preferred over handwritten thank you notes. Send a separate email to each person who interviewed you. Try to make each one a little different. The recipients of these emails may compare notes! If you met with more than one person at a time, it is OK to send one email to all the interviewers. If you’re not sure, please ask your recruiter.
• A good subject line would be: “Thank you for your time ” or “Thank you for meeting with me” or “I enjoyed meeting you.”
• Thank you emails should be sent within 24 hours of the interview.
• The first paragraph should include a general appreciation for the interview.
• Within the second paragraph discuss briefly what you can bring to the table.
• End with a final thank you, a positive statement and indicate your eagerness for the next step in the interview process.
After the interview, contact your recruiter and let her know how things went. Summit Professional Search, Inc. will keep you updated about next steps. Please call or email the office any time to check on feedback. Of course, we will do our best to update you as promptly as possible.
... Ellen was extremely responsive and attentive to my needs... it was evident from the outset of our relationship that she... was always on top of every detail of the position to which I was applying and never needed reminding about previous events. She was an excellent listener... I would strongly recommend her to any colleague.
RH - Director of CNS Biology
Ellen is a highly client focused and extremely personable Executive Recruiter. Given her interpersonal skills, communication ability, business savvy and work ethic, I'm not surprised she produces outstanding results. I highly recommend her without reservations - she is the consummate search professional.
TR - Recruitment Manager
I worked with Ellen when I chose to make the transition from academia to the medical writing field full time. Ellen is a genuine and encouraging recruiter who is always happy to give great advice. She wants to help and spend time speaking to you on how to advance in your career.... She is also an excellent motivator and is very knowledgeable about the field.
JW - Associate Director Medical Affairs
... Your kindness, professionalism and knowledge of the field were apparent from our first conversation. Your patience and sincerity in getting to know me and understand my career goals exceeded all expectations.... Thank you for everything you have done for me!
BF - Medical Affairs Professional
I had the pleasure of working with Ellen regarding a clinical position. She is a very caring and compassionate recruiter. Her focused attention to detail and dedication to her referrals is refreshing. Ellen's professional and cordial manner makes her very pleasant and easy to work with.
CB - CRA III
Ellen is beyond a doubt one of the best professionals I have had the pleasure of working with. She goes above and beyond in every single aspect of her work. The time, dedication, and kindness she gives is unmatched... she always made herself available. Her knowledge, experience, and advice were key to making sure I was prepared for every step of the process. Above all else she truly cared that I and the company were happy.
JL - Associate Medical Director
Ellen is a highly professional and engaging personality who helped me find a position that I truly feel is the 'right fit' for me. Throughout the process, she went above and beyond in terms of being helpful -- but also, importantly straight forward. I am lucky to interact with her professionally and extend my warmest thanks to her for all of her efforts and support.
JG - Director Global Scientific Publications
Ellen is amazing at what she does. She not only cares about making sure that she has a solid candidate for the company hiring but also wants to ensure the position is the right fit for the employee as well. She knew exactly what I was looking for, and as soon as she found a position following that criteria, she called me. Ellen always makes herself available, even if it means taking calls at night or on the weekends. She has put in so much time and dedication to ensuring all of my questions/concerns were answered and corrected....
AW - Account Services Director
Ellen is a terrific recruiter because she gets to know her clients and is committed to finding the right fit. Ellen is professional, prepared, and has relationships with industry leaders that provides an excellent pool of companies for clients to consider. Ellen approaches candidates with a holistic view which enhances clients' rate of happiness and success in their career. I recommend Ellen highly as a recruiter!
FW - Medical Writer II
The first thing I notice about Ellen is her forthrightness and her willingness to help. She was always available to answer questions via phone or email and she was extremely generous with her time explaining everything in detail. She is excellent at matching the needs of her client to the job seeker, making it a win-win situation for everyone involved.... I highly recommend her services.
SD - Associate Medical Director
Ellen was wonderful to work with when looking at new career opportunities. From the first moment (until the last) it was clear that she had my best interests at heart and provided exactly the type of informative, judicious and caring counsel that you'd want when making a big career decision. She is a very hands-on, attentive, resourceful and truly empathetic recruiter that anyone would be lucky to work with….
EF - EVP Strategic Planning
Ellen's preparedness, professionalism and kind spirit makes her a great person to work with. Her focus on providing career options that fit my background and expertise, as well as her knowledge of the industry provided a solid experience with great results... I got the job!
SP - Medical Marketing Scientific Director
Ellen is very easy to speak with and took a genuine interest in my… goals and needs. She delivered quickly on everything she said she would do…. I felt I could rely on her in my job search process.… I was already close to a job offer when I first spoke with Ellen, she followed through and was genuinely happy for me when I received the offer I was waiting on. Her excitement about my good news proved that Ellen's goal in recruiting is to help her clients and ensure their professional happiness.
DD - Attending Psychiatrist
Recruitment for Marketing, Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare Communications, Advertising and Branding
Summit Professional Search, Inc. is a full-service recruitment agency focused on the pharmaceutical and marketing sectors. Our mission is to find and connect the most qualified candidates with the best opportunities available at our client companies.
Connecting job seekers with great companies since 2008!
PO Box 573
Chalfont, PA 18914, USA