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Do Your Homework to Get Work

Knowing how to answer these frequently asked questions will help you ace your next job interview.

If you are working with a recruiting firm, your contact at the firm will probably tell you about the interview request. He or she will be your "middleman" in dealing with the employer. Working through a recruiter can speed or impede the job-application process. Sometimes a firm can make your search more frustrating than if you had handled the arrangements yourself. That’s one of the downsides of working through a recruiter. Still, be sure to ask the same questions of the recruiter that you would of someone from the employer's office.

The Interviewing Process: What to Expect

Interviewing varies widely, based on industry, occupation, employer, and position. Generally, the higher paid the job, the longer and more rigorous the selection process. Below are some general expectations, based on type of position, that you can have for the interviewing experience:

1. Hourly Wage Positions (administrative, clerical, manual-labor, skilled-trades, personal service, or technical positions): Be prepared for a "screening" interview over the telephone followed by an interview in person at the employer's facility. The interview could include skills, capability, and personality tests. You may interview with a human resources recruiter, your potential supervisor, and possibly coworkers. You probably won’t have to do follow-up interviews.

2. Salaried Positions (professional, senior technical, sales, supervisory, or managerial positions): Expect lengthier phone screenings and interviews, including second and/or third follow-up interviews at later dates. There could be some testing for knowledge and skill levels, and there is an increased likelihood of personality testing. You could encounter panel interviews with two or more people on the employer's side of the table. This could be for efficiency or to gauge your ability to speak to a group.

3. Higher-Paid, Salaried Positions (senior professional, upper-management, or executive positions): Expect rigorous, lengthy, and repeated interviews spanning several visits. There is not likely to be any skill- or knowledge-testing, but there is a higher likelihood of personality tests to gauge your "fit" with the culture and style of the employer.                       

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