Ace that Interview
Interviews can be nerve-racking. At Career Services, we want to give you the tools to not just do well, but stand out in your interviews. As part of the application process, the interview is the critical time to communicate to the interviewer who you are and what you can bring to the team, as well as learn about the company. Learning the best interview tactics will enable you to send the message you intend and impress the interviewer.
Four P's of Interviewing
Here are some general things to think about when preparing for an interview.
Ask yourself why the interviewer asked the questions he/she did. This will help you determine the skill, trait, or ability that is being measured. Highlight this quality in your response.
Prove each of your statements with concrete examples. Think of specific stories from past experiences which prove the message you wish to convey.
Practice answering sample interview questions and schedule a mock interview. Even if the questions you prepared are not used in the interview, practicing answering these types of questions is valuable.
Project a positive attitude even when the questions become negative. By remaining positive you will show the interviewer your character and the type of employee you will be.
Before the Interview
Research and Practice
- Fully understand the job description or position advertisement.
- Research the company mission, history, services/products, as well as the industry as a whole.
- Participate in a mock interview - Mock Interview Day is held on campus.
- Research potential questions and prepare answers.
What to Bring
- Bring copies of your resume and references. (Some interviewers might request work samples or examples from your portfolio).
- Bring breath mints, tissues, and an extra tie (for men).
What to Wear
- Men - a two-piece solid color suit (black, gray, blue, or brown) with a simple pattern tie, high calf socks with conservative and polished shoes.
- Women - a solid color suit with a knee-length skirt (preferred), tailored blouse in a simple color, or a two-piece pantsuit with professional shoes, modest jewelry, and make-up.
- Both men and women should have neatly groomed hair, trimmed nails, and an extra pair of clothes for extended interviews is highly encouraged.
During an Interview
- Arrive early, and allow for plenty of time to find parking and walk-in.
- Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, direct eye contact, and a smile. This first impression is critical, so be confident!
- First, the interviewer will likely briefly describe the position, the organization, and the layout for the interview itself.
- Answering questions is the heart of the interview. It will usually last 15 to 20 minutes. Remember this is your opportunity to expand on your qualifications and experiences outlined in your resume. Your answers to each question should be about 1 to 2 minutes long.
- Asking the interviewer questions is a great opportunity that should never be passed up. By asking about three to five relevant questions you are expressing genuine interest in the company.
- At closing, the interviewer will probably review the next steps in the interviewing process. If not, be sure to ask the details of the next steps.
- Thank the interviewer for their time. Again give a firm handshake, eye contact, and smile.
After the Interview
- Send a thank-you note to the interviewer for their time and consideration- either handwritten or typed. An email will do. Send no later than two days following the interview. If there is more than one interviewer, send one to each of them.
- Keep a record of the interviewer’s name/title/company, date, address, phone number, and any other relevant information.
- Keep notes on what was discussed in the interview for future reference.