5 Minute Job Interview Tips for Success!

Supply Chain Time

Many of you have been a participant in innumerable job interviews, whether you are the interviewer or the interviewee. 

Interviews can be highly time consuming for both parties so it’s imperative that this time is valuable for everyone.

Having interviewed hundreds of people, and been interviewed myself many times, I usually find that the essence of an effective interview can be reached in the first 5 minutes.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t more to discuss from the 6th minute on. But it does mean that I’ve usually made my decision within 5 minutes.

The Supply Chain Hiring Environment

Supply Chain is an area in high, and ever increasing demand. Whether you are in Logistics, Distribution, Transportation, Procurement, Purchasing, Planning, Warehousing, Management, and more your skills will become harder and harder for employers to find.

On top of that the types of Supply Chain skills needed will continually advance, as discussed in our article Quantum Leap to the Top 10 Supply Chain skills of the Future.

For job candidates this suggests lots of great opportunities will be available. That does not mean that you won’t be competing against other candidates however. You will still have to be on the top of your game and pass an interview process if you want to be hired into your best job.

For those hiring it means that they will need to have heightened vigilance in ensuring that only the best candidates are recruited, despite skills shortages. There is still a distinction between good and great candidates that will positively or negatively impact your company based on your hiring decision.

Overall this means it is a very exciting time in the field of Supply Chain in virtually all industries everywhere around the world.

The Interview

The rubber hits the road in the hiring process with the interview. Resumes have been screened and final candidates down selected.

Usually an interview is scheduled for 1 hour, sometimes less and sometimes more. Similarly the interview may last for the entire time scheduled, or it may end early or go beyond the scheduled time.

I most often asked for any interviews I was conducting to be scheduled for half an hour, or an hour at most.

With few exceptions I found that within the first 5 minutes I knew if I wanted to proceed along the hiring process with the candidate. I would usually let the interview run the allotted time out of respect for the person, and they would certainly have my full attention. But I had already made up my mind.

I expect that this is the case for most people. The phrase “make a good first impression” can be valid in large part. In a small number of cases I found that my initial perspective changed as the interview conversation progressed beyond minute 5, but that did not happen many times.

So even though there may be a high demand for jobs, candidates must be aware that they have to make a powerful, positive impact not only in an interview, but in the very first part of any interview.

Tips for a High Impact 5 Minute Job Interview

In the interest of making sure a candidate has the best possible chance at succeeding in an interview, and making a tremendous impact in the first few minutes, here are our tips for the “5 Minute Job Interview”. Make sure that you follow these tips and prepare for the interview accordingly.

  1. Assume that your resume has already been read. In preparing your resume try using ATS friendly resume templates. There is no need to tell the interviewer everything that is already on your resume. Figure out in advance an “elevator speech” (ie. what you would say in 1-2 minutes) that you would like to say to tell the interviewer more about yourself than just what is on your supply chain resume, business resume, or IT resume.
  2. Be confident, but not cocky. Anyone who comes into the interview being over confident may come off as not being genuine and too full of themselves.
  3. Be focussed and be clear. Too many times candidates come into an interview and stumble with their words, badly. They tend to ramble and wander in what they say. 
  4. Keep your answers on point and don’t tell overly long stories. There is a balance between giving answers that are too short and too long. If you go on and on you will likely bore the interviewer. 
  5. Don’t do all the talking … listen and ask questions. The interview is truly a two-way communication vehicle. The candidate is equally interviewing to see if this is a job/company they want to join. Listen to precisely what the interviewer is saying, ask for clarification if necessary, and be sure to show interest by asking intelligent questions.
  6. Project positive body language. Dress appropriately for the occasion. Maintain eye contact at all times. 
  7. Nervousness is ok, to a degree. It is ok to be nervous and somewhat anxious but you still need to show that you can handle pressure and tense situations.
  8. Do your research in advance. Research the company, social media, websites, and any individuals you will be meeting. Prepare for the interview. Any preparation you’ve done will show in the type and quality of responses you give and questions you ask.
  9. Establish a rapport early and quickly. People like working with people that they like. Even though people will inevitably be working with people they don’t like, in the interview they will be looking for people they think will fit into their company culture, and be good team players and leaders.
  10. You don’t have to have all the answers or experience. If you don’t know the answer to something just say so. If you don’t have some of the experience requested talk about your ability to learn.
  11. Discuss through examples your initiative, motivation, team work and leadership.
  12. Practice in advance. Think about your questions, answers, and your message. Role play the interview with others. 


Most every interview will last 30-60 minutes. Sometime you will hit it off with the interviewer right away. In other cases it will take the duration of the interview to have a complete discussion.

Regardless you must focus on making an impact early in the job interview. If you don’t the interviewer will lose interest quickly and merely go through the formality of continuing the discussion with you.

Now that you’ve learned more about the job interview process, it is time to nail the interview and land on your dream job. Be prepared to hussle and work your way up the corporate ladder. Remember to always ask for a pay stub from your employer. Should they fail to provide you with one, you can create your own pay stub with PayStubCreator.

Originally published on May 28, 2019.

2 thoughts on “5 Minute Job Interview Tips for Success!”

  1. If hiring process takes multiple levels, HR in their instructions to candidates will ask that you do not repeat the same story to multiple interviewers. If the interviewers find out that you’ve repeated a story, this can hurt you because it shows that you do not follow instructions. To prevent this from happening, make sure that you have one leadership and one personal impact story prepared for first round interviews and different leadership and personal impact stories as well as an entrepreneurialism story prepared for final rounds. For an example of an exceptional answer to a behavioral interview question, check out this guide – net-boss org/how-to-pass-any-interview

  2. Thank you very much for mentioning the Nancy Kelley book! You didn’t mentioned that the autor was an HR manager and was writing this guide based on her own experience, also she asked other hiring persons from very different companies, about good practices and their tips for the candidates. Really nice lecture and indeed, very helpful!

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