Dos and Don'ts of Interviews by Gap Inc.'s Eva Sage-Gavin

Q: What are the dos and don'ts of interviews?

A:1) Be on time.
2) Bring copies of your resume with you.
3) Bring a notebook for writing notes, and do take down notes during an interview. If nothing else, your notes will prompt you about the conversations you had when you write your thank you email or notes.
4) Dress appropriately for the company or organization with which you'll be interviewing. In all cases, neat and clean is important.
5) Take a deep breath and relax. Remember, everyone gets nervous during an interview, so being nervous is natural. Steady those nerves and relax.
6) Be prepared with thoughtful questions and be sure to ask them.
7) Do your homework and, based on what you've learned about the company and role, convey excitement during the interview.
8) Don't ramble. Answer the question directly, and if you get a blank look in response, feel free to ask, "Did that answer your question?"
9) Above all else, be yourself. If you try to be someone you think the hiring manager wants vs. who you really are, you will likely be miserable in the job. Answer questions honestly and stay true to who you are.

Q: What are some tips for standing out in an interview?

A:1) Current knowledge of the company/organization (e.g., "I just read in Business Week that your company did…" or "When I was on your Web site, I saw…"
2) Knowledge of the interviewer (e.g., "When I 'Googled you' I saw that you….")
3) Clear articulation of why the company/organization and the position are exciting.
4) Be energetic and enthusiastic… and smile.
5) Be clear on why you think you are the best candidate for the job.

Q: What are some questions you should absolutely ask during an interview?

A:1) What are the skills and experiences critical to the success of the person in this role?
2) Why is this role important and how will it contribute to the goals and objectives of the organization?
3) Why is this position open (e.g., newly created role, person who was in the role was promoted)?
4) What are the top three priorities for the role?
5) What are the challenges that will be faced by the role?

Q: At what point in the interview do you ask about salary, benefits, vacation days, etc. Do you speak to someone in HR about these concerns?

A:1) It's always important to get an idea of salary range before you interview. You don't want to waste your time or that of the hiring manager if you are out of the salary range. Typically, the recruiter or someone in HR will ask what your current salary is and/or what salary range you are targeting. If not, you should ask what the salary range is for the position.
2) You can ask someone in HR about benefits, vacation, etc. Typically these are part of a standard benefits package and are non-negotiable. So, if anything is a deal-breaker for you (e.g., you must have three weeks' vacation), you should ask HR before the interview.
3) Understand that timing is important. Save the very detailed questions toward the end of the hiring process. It can be a red flag to the hiring manager if you focus on these details in the first interview.

Eva Sage-Gavin is the EVP for Gap Inc. Human Resources, Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility. In her role as Chief People Officer, Eva sets the strategy for the company's communications and human resources operations worldwide, including staffing, diversity, rewards, recognition, employee benefits, learning and development, strategic change, and internal and external communications. Eva also oversees the company’s social responsibility and environmental efforts, focused on lessening Gap Inc.’s impact on the environment and improving conditions in garment factories and the communities in which they operate. • Visit the Gap Inc. Career Section

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