Interviewing

If you are invited for an interview you are already seen as a qualified candidate, so the interview is your chance to further convince an employer that you would be a valuable asset to the organization. Interviewing is a two-way street; a mutual exchange of information. Both you and the employer are striving to answer one question: “Is this the right fit?”

Evaluate the match between you and the job by answering 3 questions

  • Can you do the job? (skills, educational background, work experience)
  • Do you have the motivation and work ethic for the job? (personal characteristics, achievements, knowledge of the organization)
  • Can you fit in? (personality, match between you and the organization’s goals)

Research, preparation, and practice are the keys to a successful outcome

Research, Preparation, and Practice

Know as much as you can about the company you are interviewing with. Go beyond the “basics” by researching the following:

  • Trends, established products, and services

  • Mission and achievements

  • Organizational structure and culture

  • History, competition, and future outlook

Make a bridge between you and the employer. What are they looking for and how do you connect with that? What types of things are mentioned in the job description? How have you demonstrated those skills? Think of examples from your history to illustrate your qualifications: this will prepare you for Behavioral Questions* that the employer will ask you. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be prepared to sell yourself and your skills.

Whether your interview is on the phone, via Skype, video, or face to face; our office is here to help! Schedule a one on one appointment with a career advisor through Handshake. You may use this time to go over the steps to prepare for an interview and/or you may practice a “mock interview”. Review sample interview questions, as well.

The more you tell your story and become familiar with questions that could potentially be asked, the more comfortable and organized you will be.

Make sure you know where the interview is taking place in advance. Plan your route and method of travel and keep things like traffic and delays in mind. Arrive about 10 minutes early.

Wear a suit; first impressions last! Make sure you maintain a neat, clean, professional appearance. Bring a briefcase or portfolio with extra copies of your resume. Have a firm hand shake, maintain eye contact, stand straight, and smile. Avoid perfume and cologne and wear simple jewelry. Do not expose tattoos or extra piercings. Dress for Success!

Be engaged in a two-way conversation with the interviewer. Express your enthusiasm for the position and listen carefully to the employer. Speak clearly, but not too quickly. It is okay to take time to think before you answer. Be positive as you describe your skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Do not speak negatively about a previous experience or person. Be sure to answer the question fully and provide an example or explanation to support your answers.

Prove that you have been thoughtful about the process of interviewing by asking questions that reflect your knowledge of the field and/or position. Do not ask questions that raise “red flags” such as salary, vacation etc. The company should bring up salary first – do not negotiate salary on an interview. Also avoid questions that can be easily answered by the organization’s webpage. It is expected that will ask about next steps in the interview process. Read through sample questions to ask employers.

Send either a typed or emailed thank you note to all individuals you interviewed with. Ask for business cards while at the interview. Whether you type and mail your thank you note or email it is up to you but sending it immediately is imperative. Mention something that struck you from the interview (i.e., that was particularly interesting or that you learned). Personalizing thank you notes goes a long way. Feel free to follow up with any questions or information you did not feel you answered sufficiently.

Is this a place you think you would enjoy working? Do you feel comfortable in the environment? Remember, part of an interview is also deciding if this is the type of position you would accept. Prove that you have been thoughtful about the process of interviewing by asking questions that reflect your knowledge of the field and position.