First impressions are lasting impressions. There are no second chances to make a good first impression! It pays to be prepared! Practice your interviewing techniques in advance by doing a mock interview with a career counselor from the Career Development Center. Do as many mock interviews as necessary to help you feel comfortable with the process. You might want to practice in front of the mirror or with family and/or friends.
- Develop a sound resume with experience and skills that support your objective. This resume must be critiqued and approved by one of our career counselors prior to your interview.
- Research the potential employer and the job responsibilities for the position in advance.
- Have a copy of the complete job description for the specific job.
- Know how you can benefit the employer; know the skills you have to offer.
- Prepare a 1-2 minute mini script about yourself; include your educational background, experience and reason why you are interested in the position.
Items to Bring for the Interview
- Professional copies of your updated resume
- Professional list of references
- Note pad and pen
- Detailed notes of past employers, dates, addresses, etc. for completing an application
- Copy of the job description or advertisement for the position
- Your appointment calendar in case another appointment needs to be scheduled
A helpful hint for when you are in the interviewing stages of your job search is to make an interview packet to keep in your car. The packet should contain most of the above items along with breath mints, tissues, an extra pair of hose for women, and an extra tie for men. This will come in handy in case you have forgotten something.
- Dress in appropriate professional attire; it's best to be conservative.
- Do wear deodorant, but don't wear perfume or cologne.
- Cosmetics should be conservative.
- Wear a minimal amount of jewelry for women.
- Men should not wear any jewelry, except a wedding ring.
Arriving for the Interview
- Have directions in advance; if driving, ask where you are to park
- Take a trial run ahead of time so you know exactly where you will be going and the time required to get to the interview setting.
- Get there early (10-15 minutes); find a restroom and use a mirror to be sure you're put together.
- Take care of breath odor.
- Notify the receptionist of your arrival.
- Be sure you know how to pronounce the name of the person you'll be interviewing with.
- Observe the environment (corporate culture) and take note of newsletters, journals, and hangings in the waiting room.
- Relax; take deep breaths
- Reframe your thoughts if you're nervous; focus on "what would it be like to work here?"
- Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake and smile.
- Maintain straight body posture.
- Make eye contact.
- Talk loud enough but not too loudly.
- Communicate with pride, honesty, and confidence about your accomplishments and potential.
- Be energetic and enthusiastic.
Be Mindful of:
- Developing rapport - follow the lead for small talk.
- Background information - keep them focused on your resume.
- Determining if your skills are a good fit for the position and company.
- Closing - you may ask questions.
During the Interview
- Keep in mind that employers are interested in how you respond, i.e., in a logical and thoughtful manner.
- Try not to hurry your responses; take time to formulate your thoughts. It's OK for a few seconds of silence as you prepare your answer.
- Pay special attention to questions for which you answer "no." If you have to answer "no" then qualify it positively. For example, if you are asked if you can do something like sprout wings and fly to the moon and back within 24 hours, you might respond by saying "no, I do not remember reading that in the job description. However, I know that I can learn." The point is not to leave a negative perception with the interviewer.
- Pay attention to "illegal" questions that the interviewer may ask. If you perceive that the information is irrelevant to the responsibilities, you could ask how that information affects your employment with the company or your ability to perform the responsibilities of the position.
After the Interview
- Follow-up with a thank you within 24 hours.
- Re-emphasize your strengths.
- A thank you should be sent to everyone you interviewed with.