Our staff at the Western Addition Career Center are in an enviable position: they get firsthand information from actual employers on exactly what they’re looking for (and what they’re not) in an employee. Unfortunately, when we talk to employers they frequently mention bad interviews. They worry that they’ve rejected a great potential employee because the candidate’s real personality and ability didn’t come across during an interview.

A bad interview can be painful for all parties, even for those most qualified.

Connecting with interviewers

One way to have successful interviews is to approach every interview like it’s the first time you’re meeting someone you want to get to know better. Pique interviewers’ interest with your personality and job experience. Try to develop real conversations by asking friendly, open-ended questions like, “How did you get started here” or “What excites you about your position?” rather than just answering routine interviewer inquiries. This creates warmth and a genuine connection with interviewers.

Half the work in interviewing is creating a good “connection” with the interviewer…this connection is what employers are looking for too!!

Below are a few more suggestions to help you master your interview.

Steps to get to your interview

Research the company – impress employers by learning about their business

  • What is their mission statement?
  • How can you assist them in meeting their goals?

Review the job description

  • Find at least one example in each of your past experiences (positions)
  • Be able to tell the employer WHY they need you!


Prepare questions for the interviewer. Ask them:

  • Who is their ideal candidate for this position?
  • What are the challenges in this position?
  • What would they like to be done differently by the next person in this role?



Once you have an interview scheduled

  • Arrive fifteen minutes early
  • Dress professionally
  • Memorize or write down a few talking points (use your research)


What to do during your interview

  • Give a confident handshake
  • Give eye contact with each person you meet
  • Smile and be real
  • Keep answers short and relevant to position
  • Ask questions throughout interview; creating a conversation and not just answering questions


Wrapping up your successful interview

  • Ask the interviewer about their hiring process and about their timeline to fill the position
  • Get business cards from each person you meet (in the event you have follow-up questions)
  • Send “Thank you” emails as soon as possible….send it while you are fresh on their mind

If you like the hints provided, you should come to our one of our workshops at the Career Center at 1449 Webster St. in San Francisco…we would love to see you!

by Rito Andujo-Walker