As part of our goal to help our employees get into the job and career they have been planning for and to assist our clients in sharpening their own interviewing skills, we sat down with Toll Brothers Senior Recruiter, Julie Perales. We asked Julie a few of the questions people ask us regarding interviews, making a good impression and other tips for giving or conducting the best interview. Here are the questions we asked Julie:
In your opinion, what are the top characteristics that make a candidate outstanding?
Some of the key characteristics I look for in candidates is that they are well-prepared for the interview (done their research, brought a pen and paper etc), professionally and appropriately dressed and groomed, show a sincere enthusiasm for our company and the job, demonstrate flexibility and a willingness to learn, are problem-solvers, take initiative, and are highly motivated towards achieving their own personal success as well as the success of our team as a whole.
What question(s) do you ask to determine the 'work ethic'? of the candidate?
I use the Behavioral Interviewing method where I use open-ended questions asking the candidate to provide job-related examples of a specific situation they encountered, what actions they took and what the outcome was. For determining work ethic, I might ask them to share a time when they had to go above and beyond the call of duty to achieve a goal, or an example of when they did more than what was required of them in their role.
What is something an interviewee might bring with him/her that would impress you?
This can depend on the position, but generally speaking, I like to see candidates well prepared for interviews by bringing a portfolio or notepad with a pen, a few extra copies of their resume in case I invite others on my team to join the interview that day, a list of thoughtful questions that are specific to our company and the job (as opposed to asking how much vacation time they get or when their first raise would be), and any other information about themselves and their background that would help them stand out. This may include a professional portfolio of educational accomplishments (copy of their degree if they have one, any certifications pertaining to the job, letters or recommendation), examples of their work, etc. Also I look for candidates who have done their research on our company. It's a bad start to any interview when I ask what the candidate knows about our company and they know very little or clearly haven't even visited our website.