Interviews - The Introduction

Questions This Guidance Answers: 

There are essentially four parts to the Introduction:

  • How do I prepare for an interview?
  • What should I say when I enter the interview room?
  • What should I talk about during the interview introduction?

Well, once again, we're barely getting this out in time to call it an October cast. But, I think you'll find it worth the wait. This month, Mark and I want to share a cast from our upcoming Interviewing techniques product. This particular cast is one out of 14 casts on Interviewing. In this cast, you'll learn how to handle the crucial first five to ten minutes of any interview - Introductions.

It is absolutely true that this is a critical part of the interview - first impressions are being formed, and I'd bet 75% of interviewers have a strong indication of how it's going to go by the time this portion is done. That translates into our gut feeling that this is where 75% of technical interviewees fail. It's THAT important.

  [Play in Popup]

Extra Content
    Manager Tools Personal License
    Interviewing Series
    First Job Fundamentals   

I enjoyed hearing this podcast and

I enjoyed hearing this podcast and agree that the whole first few minutes are crucial.

One thing I would disagree about is sitting down or preparing to sit down before the internviewer. Just as a matter of courtesy, I would expect to sit down when and where invited to do so- especially when it's not obvious where the interviewer wants to sit. (eg if he walks into the room with me and has no notebook etc there).

Where are the other 13 casts going to be published?

this may not be a fair question but how

this may not be a fair question but how much of this podcast can be utilized if you are the interviewer? if there are specific points in the remainder of this series would it be possible to point them out?
thanks for another great learning experience!f

The first 5 minutes is extremely

The first 5 minutes is extremely crucial for any interview. I particularly liked the "Check appearance." I can't tell you how aggrevated I get when someone is interviewing for a specific position and shows up in Khaki pants, sports shirt, ect... You get the picture. Obviously this individual didn't the get the job. Not only did appear in a professional attire, they were not even prepared for the interview.

I have had the opportunity to sit in on peer interviews and the amount of people who are not psyched is atronomical. I question why they even applied for the position (to myself of course). There are so many people who do not interview well and it truly shows.

Thanks guys for this podcast. As always, top-notch and right on the money.

I just dropped in hoping to find some

I just dropped in hoping to find some written reference material for my hastily scheduled meeting with a recruiter in fifteen minutes. Oops.

I am trying to prep my 23 year old for

I am trying to prep my 23 year old for interviewing. I directed him here. I learned why I didn't like a guy I interview last year - the first five minutes.

Glad to hear you are a Dodger fan. I keep up via game day here in Kansas. When I was in College, I worked at a radio station that was the Dodget affiliate in my town and I got paid to listen. Great job!

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed seven people for a relatively "senior" admin position (an admin supervisor, of sorts). One of the questions was, "Why are you interested in leaving your current position and seeking this job in our organization?"

Five of the seven candidates replied with words to the effect: "Because it would shorten my commute."

Needless to say, my sense of their commitment was a bit strained...

As an international student (Filipino)

As an international student (Filipino) who recently graduated from a top ranked MBA here in Montreal, I was told by most EVERYONE (colleagues in school, etc.) that I would not be able to find a job in this city given my non-existent French langauage skills. In addition, many told me I did not have "CANADIAN WORK EXPERIENCE" and that my accomplishments in Accenture's Manila Office would hardly be recognized here. Apparently none of them have come across your casts.

I followed your advice regarding resume writing, accomplishment bullets, the interview introduction and watched Mark's presentation at Kellogg.

Most importantly, I followed your advice on interview closing ("I want an offer, and here's why...)

It was PLENTY of extra work (and nerve) and I had never gone through an actual job search as I was recruited by Accenture from college.

I received 3 offers from major consulting firms here in Montreal that specified "fluent in French and English" as a pre-requisite.

Your resume format got me a foot in the door.

Your interview advice prepared me as well as anyone in answering their questions effectively ( and enabled me to stir the direction of the discussion).

The closing statement sealed the deal.

The typical comment I received when being informed about the offer was that all my interviewers felt a very positive "vibration" from me.

Thank you Mike and Mark. I hope your casts continue to enlighten more people!

Oh and by the way, those people in school who said I'm better off looking for work in Toronto or Vancouver... I saw their resumes. 2 Pages and plenty of white space!!! I thank them too for sending their applications together with mine!

- Jet Reyes

Jet- Well done you! Glad we're


Well done you! Glad we're providing you value.

GREAT story. Made my day.


Hi Mark and Mike, while I'm only

Hi Mark and Mike,

while I'm only looking forward to becomming a manager sometime in the future, I still enjoy listening to your show(s). Which are full of very good content, even if some can not be applied to a non english speaking professional. (I'm from Germany.)

I've one question regargind interviews/looking for a new job. How am I going to justify looking for a new position when I'm not supposed to say anything bad about my former/current job?

It's not for the salary ...

Gbock- You NEVER say anything bad


You NEVER say anything bad about where you are. On the other hand, you can say that you are looking for something better, and then use positives about other places (which allows an inference to be drawn, but you're in the clear).

Why ARE you leaving? One could almost say, "looking for more opportunity to grow" (which could mean that your boss has his thumb on you, or that there is discrimination where you are... there are a hundred reasons for this rationale), or "want more ability to impact the business, which could mean, "we're kept in the dark" or, "I believe I have skills beyond my technical ones."


The handshake part of this cast got me.

The handshake part of this cast got me. I recently was the victim of a preemptive hand-shake and it left me getting my fingers squeezed and feeling like I was a woman receiving an old fashioned fingers only shake. I couldn't very well 'choke up' on the hand-shake as the grip was already made and I was left dangling on the end of it.

I've never run into that before, usually I get my hand in there the right way (Grew up in Germany and we were always shaking hands all the time, it was just the way things were done.)

So, suggestions on what to do when your handshake is preempted and you're left having your fingers squeezed?

Simplerich- Ask for a


Ask for a re-do.

"Ouch, that was lame. Let me try again [even if they were the offending party]"

And get that web in there.


What a GREAT podcast!! Now that I have

What a GREAT podcast!! Now that I have my dose of energy. I wanted to share something with you and your listeners.

While most interviews may be in the same city, I wanted to pass along a tip If you are interviewing in a new city/state where you may not be too familiar.. you can find the local news at The site has a link to Radio/TV/Newspaper by state/city as well as national news links.

seeing as though the video of your

seeing as though the video of your Kellog presentation is no longer up, can you please expand on the interview closing ”I want an offer, and here’s why…"?

Thanks very much.

I think something happened to this

I think something happened to this cast. It appears to be only about 5 seconds long. Love the web site and the casts! Makes me look forward to my commute.

Hi Mark, Love your podcast, it has

Hi Mark,

Love your podcast, it has been helping me big time in creating positive impact and has even make my life easier to some extent in technical interviews...
I need help. I have an offer in hand (from company A) have a couple of rounds left of the second company (company B).

How do I avoid saying yes to A till I get a response from B (I am more interested in B). I definitely don't want to make A appear secondary by telling them can you wait for a few days cause there is another offer I am expecting (else I'll join you'll)


Anirudh- We do cover this in our


We do cover this in our series of podcasts on interviewing, coming out shortly...but the short answer is you really can't. Trying to stall a company is VERY dangerous.

The only true approach is to tell them - if you mean it - that you are genuinely interested, and would accept were it not for the other company. Ask for enough time to hear from them.

It's always different, but I'd suspect that "a couple more rounds" and "already have one offer" are NOT compatible, and you're going to have to choose beforehand.

And, once you accept A, you've got to stop the process with B. Accepting only to decline shortly thereafter is unethical in our book.


Hi Mark, Thanks for the prompt

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the prompt reply.

I will try to convince A that I am really keen for them need a week or two to commit myself (though I rarely so long in decision making) to evaluate all the parameters.

I am definitely keen on A but B is seems much better (though B started the recruitment process very late! :| ). But I agree bird in had is better than 2 in the bush. B is definitely hope/fiction at this stage.

I would not back out of A once I have said yes to them (and yes, as you suggested convey my regrets to B)


The podcast file seems to be truncated

The podcast file seems to be truncated as it is only playing the first 17sec of the cast.

Mike and Mark, I was able to use MS

Mike and Mark,
I was able to use MS Excel spread sheet and in two columns, used the achievements listed in the resume (from the master list) in one column (45 to 50 in number, some of them repeated) and in the other column listed the Behavioral traits that lead to/ reflected the achievements.(Leadership, Risk Taking, Managing change, Technical skill, etc about 8 to 10 Behaviors). I then used the "Sort" function (under Data Menu, Highlighting the sheet and using column heading) and I was able to classify list of achievements for a set of Behavioral skills for a quick reference.
Hope this is useful to folks. This will save photocopying, using papers at least at draft stage. (Environmental concern!!).

Karthik- Brilliant! I actually


Brilliant! I actually learned the genesis of this idea from Kris Fuhr (with whom I have lost touch, but what a brilliant and wonderful person), and she too used a spreadsheet.


I've started to do something similar

I've started to do something similar with a Mindmanager map. Each role is a branch, then each achievement in a sub-branch. I can then tag each achievement with the appropriate traits and use the filter function like Karthik. My plans in the future are to tailor the output word template to suit the MT single page resume format - but at the moment I output to a plain word document and cut and paste.

Hello Mark and Mike Having spent a

Hello Mark and Mike
Having spent a whole day at work I took the night flight and travelled to the place of interview. That night I didn't get any sleep. Terribly tired but having in mind your advice about keeping high level of energy I drank two red bulls before the interview. The interviewers made remarks about my high level of energy and enthusiasm. I got the job.
Thank you guys. You are the best.

Study proves Mark right

An interesting discussion at the Harvard Business School Working Knowledge site emphasizes the importance of  making a connection with the interviewer:


  • When assessing someone else, warmth plays a more important role than competence.
  • When assessing ourselves, we believe that competence (the capability of someone to carry out intentions) is more important.

I heard Mark say he could use his relationship skills to beat competency based competition. Now there is science to back that bet.



Are the last five comments just spam?

DiSC Profile: 2-5-5-4

Yes, and they're no longer

Yes, and they're no longer there. ;-) Thanks!