How do you handle the introduction, the body, and the close?

What are the three parts of an interview?

  • Interviews usually last between 30 minutes and an hour
  • Each interviewer will use the time during an interview differently
  • There are, however, three basic parts of an interview: the introduction, the body, and the close.

The first part of your interview, the introduction

See: shaking hands and making eye contact

Interviewers usually begin an interview by shaking your hand

  • If shaking hands is part of your culture,
    — Firmly shake the interviewer’s hand
    — Make and maintain eye contact
  • If shaking hands is NOT part of your culture (or if your culture limits physical contact between men and women, for example)
    — Cross your hands over your chest
    — Bow your head slightly to show respect
What is “small talk,” and how do you handle it?
  • The interviewer may set the tone by trying to help you feel at ease.
  • The interviewer may engage you in “small talk,” which may include
    — Talking about the weather
    — Discussing a big event in the news
    — Complaining about the local traffic
  • The purpose of “small talk” is to help both you and the interviewer relax.
  • The goal is to establish a personal relationship before the body of the interview
How do you respond to “small talk”?
  • Answer the questions briefly, honestly, and tactfully
  • Be friendly, and yet business-like
  • Present yourself in a confident, professional manner

The second part of your interview, the body

The interviewer will ask questions that you will be expected to answer. Review the kinds of questions that interviewers ask

How do you respond to questions?
  • Listen carefully to the question
  • Ask the interviewer to repeat a question that isn’t clear
  • Pause, and think before you speak
  • Give a clear, concise answer to the question
  • Provide an example if you can
  • Keep your answers short (no more than 30-45 seconds)
  • Speak honestly about your background, skills and experiences
How do you handle difficult questions?
  • If the interviewer gives you a hard question, say, “That’s a great question. I’d like to take a moment to think about it.” Pause, think, and then answer.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, say, “That’s a great question. I don’t know the answer. Can you help me with it?” The interviewer will do so — or will ask a different question.
How do you connect with the interviewer?
  • Show your interest in the interviewer as a person
  • Look for common ground — shared experiences — with the interviewer
  • Connect with the interviewer as a human being

Interviewers often select someone whom they like or to whom they feel connected.

The third part of your interview, the close

  • The interviewer may ask if you have any questions
    — If the interviewer doesn’t ask if you have questions, you may ask the interviewer if there is time for you to ask questions
  • Ask questions showing that that you have prepared and have done your research
  • Express your interest in the role
    — If an interviewer senses a lack of interest, the interviewer will offer the role to someone whose enthusiasm was obvious
  • Thank the interviewer for the time spent with you
  • The interviewer will typically end the interview by shaking your hand.

Interviewers: who will interview you, and what do they want?