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How to talk the talk: Interview basics

How to talk the talk: Interview basics

In the August issue of HR Connect, we told you how to make your resume stand out. Now we’re back with tips on how to shine in an interview.

The interview process is a two-way street. It provides the department with the chance to learn more about the candidate’s skills, and it also presents the candidate with the opportunity to assess the department and whether it is a fit for his or her career aspirations.

The following are recommended do’s and don’ts for the in-person interview. We’ve also included a list of questions to ask during the interview. These will help you learn more about the department and demonstrate your interest in the position. In our next article, this Talent Acquisition series will dive deeper into tips for researching the department and reviewing the position to anticipate interview questions.


  • Review the position ahead of time
  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • Be early (but not too early – 5-10 minutes)
  • Have a list of questions to ask
  • Research the department / org unit
  • Send a thank you (e-mail or hand written)


  • Be TOO early
  • Wear too much perfume
  • Have your cell phone on

What to ask

  • Questions for clarifying uncertainty:
    • What does a typical day look like?
    • What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?
    • How will I be trained? How will my performance be reviewed?
    • What are the performance expectations of this position over the first 12 months?
    • What are the most immediate projects that need to be addressed?
  • Questions about the culture of that department / organizational unit:
    • What is the department culture like?
    • Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
    • What are some opportunities for professional development within this department?
  • Questions about the next steps in the selection process:
    • What are the next steps in the interview process?
    • Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?

Types of questions to AVOID:

  • Questions you should already know the answer to (based on the job posting or anything already discussed in the interview process.)
  • Any questions about salary or benefits (these can be discussed and negotiated once an offer has been made.)
  • Questions that are too personal (not related to the job, company or org unit).
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