An interview is your opportunity to highlight why you are the best fit for the employer and how you can meet their needs. Additionally, it gives you the chance to evaluate the environment to determine if the position is what youwould want.
Preparation and practice are the keys to interview success!
Here are some key steps that will ensure success in the interviewing process:
Before the Interview
1. Research the employer to find out as much as you can about who they are, what they do, their mission, products or services, history, and current company news.
2. Understand the job description for the position you are being considered, who will be interviewing you, and the structure of the interview. Analyze your own strengths, accomplishments, and personal qualities that fit with the position description, and be prepared to give examples of how you have demonstrated those.
3. Practice typical interview questions to help you prepare to present your best.
Sample interview questions can be found in the Resource Library on Career Connections. Have a friend practice with you or schedule a mock interview with a Career Advisor. Interviews are conducted in different formats, such as:
- Phone Screening: brief interviews that allow employers to narrow down their applicant pool. Most time, the questions from these interviews come directly from the job description.
- In-Person: A formal interview that can last from 1 hour to an entire day. You may be meeting with just one person, but often times you will meet with several different groups and decision-makers.
A common type of interview is called “Behavior-Based Interviewing.” These questions allow you to provide specific examples of how you have demonstrated certain competencies in the past. The questions are open-ended, allowing you to speak at length about how you demonstrated the competency sought. An example of how a behavior-based interview question might begin is, “Tell me about a time when…”
For sample interview questions, click here or visit Career Connections in the Resource Library to learn more about how to effectively answer interview questions.
4. Prepare questions for the employer. Remember--you are also deciding whether the position and employer are a good fit for you. Think about 2-3 questions that you would like to ask the employer. This gives you a chance to learn more about the employer, the position, or to display that you've doneyour research on the employer.
1. Dress for success. For your interview, your personal style will have to be shelved or kept in the closet. While many companies have adopted the "office casual" dress code, don't try to set new standards in the interview. When in doubt, it is better to be too conservative than to be too flashy. For men and women, a suit is the best bet.
Here are some guidelines for dressing for the interview:
- A two-piece suit is most common
- Solid colors and tighter-woven fabrics are safer than bold prints or patterns
- Bright ties bring focus to the face, but a simple pattern is best for interview. (A tip for larger men: Use a double Windsor knot to minimize a bulky appearance.)
- Wear polished shoes with socks high enough to no skin is visible when you sit down and cross your legs.
- A suit with a knee-length skirt or fitted trousers and a tailored blouse is most appropriate.
- Accessories should be kept simple
- Basic pumps and modest jewelry and makeup help present a professional look
2. Arrive on time. Be at the interview location at least 10-15 minutes ahead of your scheduled time. This will help you reduceyour stress level and you will ensure that traffic or any other delaysdon't make you late.
3. Have additional materials. Bring along extra copies of your resume and any additional materials you may need, such as a list of references or portfolio of your work.
4. Be Present. Be enthusiastic and friendly with all that you meet. Direct eye contact, a smile, and a handshake will be expected upon entering.
After the interview
6. After the interview, summarize why you are the best candidate for the position. Be sure you knowwhat the next step in the process will be and how you might follow up. Ask for contact information so you can follow up promptly with a thank you note, either emailed or mailed or both. Your note can include additional information about why you are a good candidate and your interest in the position. You may also call or email to check on the status of your candidacy if you have not heard from them within the timeframe discussed in the interview.
If you need additional information or assistance on Interviewing, contact the Career Development Center at 303-352-3306 to schedule a practice or mock interview. You can also view the Career Guide for more interviewing tips or log into Career Connections to view sample interview questions in the Resource Library.