Your interviewing success will depend on your preparation!
The most important things to remember are the following:
- Be yourself!
- Be enthusiastic! Smile!
- Be honest!
Before the Interview
- Do your research on the business/organization. Review the website, the company’s annual report and other printed materials about the business/organization.
- Review the job description to learn about the position for which you’ll be interviewing.
- Research the salary range for the position. Be prepared in case the interviewer asks about your salary requirements.
- Review sample interview questions. Practice answering the questions with a friend, family member or Career Center staff.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer. A few well thought out questions will demonstrate your interest and show the interviewer that you’ve done your research.
- Review your resume so you know which of your qualifications you’ll want to highlight. Think about what sets you apart from other candidates.
- Ask three to five individuals who have known you professionally (and can tell a potential employer about your strengths) if you can list them as references. Examples: faculty advisors, college professors, coaches, work study supervisors, past employers. Prepare a reference list (DOC).
- Make sure that you know how to get to the interview site. Call the business/organization to ask for directions or check mapquest.com.
Going to the Interview
- Wear professional, conservative business attire.
- For men and women, appropriate interview attire is a conservative dark business suit with a long-sleeved white or light-colored blouse/shirt. Clothing should be wrinkle-free and in good repair. Wear clean, polished conservative shoes. Make sure your hair and nails are well-groomed and your breath is fresh. Use minimal cologne or perfume, if any. Take out nose rings, eyebrow rings and other body piercings. Cover tattoos if you can.
- Women: If you choose to wear a skirt, it should be no shorter than knee length. Wear conservative hosiery, sheer or a neutral color. Keep your makeup simple. Jewelry should be minimal.
- Men: Your necktie should be silk in a solid color or with a conservative pattern. The color of your belt should match your shoes. Wear dark socks that coordinate with your suit and shoes. A fresh shave is best for interviews. If you must wear facial hair, make sure that it is well-groomed. If you normally wear an earring, take it out.
- Bring your list of questions to ask the interviewer, a legal pad and pen, extra copies of your resume and your list of references. You may wish to carry these items in a briefcase or a leather folder. Do not take your backpack to an interview!
- Allow at least 30 extra minutes to get there, in case of road construction, traffic jams, parking, weather conditions, getting lost, etc.
- If a friend or family member will be riding with you on your drive to the interview, make arrangements for where that person will wait for you. Do not take friends or family members with you into the building where you will interview.
When You Arrive at the Interview
- Arrive to the interview 10-15 minutes early. Don’t be late!
- Discard gum and breath mints before leaving your car.
- Turn off your cell phone before entering the building.
- Greet the receptionist with a smile. Give your name and state that you have an appointment with the interviewer. As you wait, be polite and professional. The interviewer may solicit the receptionist’s opinion of you after you leave.
- When the interviewer greets you, introduce yourself and give him/her a firm handshake.
- Be seated after the interviewer indicates where you should sit, or after the interviewer is seated.
During the Interview
- Respond to the interviewer’s questions.
- Maintain appropriate eye contact and good posture. You may want to lean slightly forward at times during the interview, because this indicates interest in the interviewer and the topic discussed.
- Try to avoid saying "umm", "like", and "you know".
- Be aware of any nervous habits you may have such as pen clicking, hair twisting, toe tapping, etc. Do your best to avoid these mannerisms during your interview.
- Be positive!
- After the interviewer has asked you his or her questions, you will have the opportunity to ask the questions you’ve prepared.
- Watch and listen for clues from the interviewer that the interview is over and it is time to leave. Shake hands and thank the interviewer for his/her time. Restate your interest in the position.
After the Interview
Send a thank you note to each person that interviewed you. You can send a typewritten letter, an e-mail or a handwritten note card (if you have neat handwriting). Thank the interviewer for taking his/her time to interview you. Be sure to restate your interest in the position, along with why you’re interested in the position and/or why you would like to work for the company.