Interviewing

The Interview:

Click here for a PDF Art of Interviewing Workshop Presentation

Dress:

  • When dressing for an interview (or attending a Career Fair), dress appropriately for the position and company for which you’re interviewing. This will mean doing some research.
  • Your clothes should be neat, cleaned and pressed.
  • Shoes should be polished and no strappy sandals or opened toe shoes.
  • Do not wear perfume and avoid excessive make-up and jewelry.
  • Clean and trim your fingernails. Brush your teeth and do not chew gum.
  • Wear conservative colors and avoid trendy loud fashions (unless you’re interviewing for a position in fashion!). Dark colors are power colors. Pastels are friendly and approachable.
  • Only carry a small scale briefcase or purse (for women) – never both. Preferably only bring a padfolio with you into an interview.

Preparation for the Interview:

  • Write down the time and day – don’t rely on your memory!
  • Get the full name of the company and interviewer along with the address.
  • Research the company interviewing you (on-line, by talking with people, etc.).
  • Make a list of what you have to offer this company and why you should be hired.
  • Prepare a few open-ended questions before you go in for the interview that shows you’ve done your homework.
  • Study your resume/application and try to anticipate what questions will be asked.
  • Practice, practice, practice your answers to common interview questions. Arrange a mock interview.
  • Bring a pencil and paper and a copy of your resume with you. It is advised to even bring enough copies of your resume for each interviewer.
  • Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early. Late arrival for an interview is not excusable.
  • Select your interview clothes in advance.
  • Think about and practice your opening statement/power greeting to create a great first impression.

The Interview:

  • Turn off your cell phone and leave it in the car.
  • Think positively and don’t be late.
  • It’s normal for people to be nervous but avoid doing things with your hands that make it obvious. Sit up straight and look alert/interested at all times.
  • Greet the interviewer by name and introduce yourself. Shake hands firmly. Take your cues from the interview(s). Wait until a chair is offered before you sit down.
  • While the interviewer(s) may take notes, you should not (unless asked to jot down a phone number, email, etc.).
  • Try to establish a discussion versus cross-examination using non-verbal communication and by the questions you ask. Don’t answer merely in yes’s and no’s. If you’re relaxed and enjoy the interview, the interviewer(s) will most likely feel the same way. People hire people they like!
  • Answer questions with specific examples and stories to demonstrate your abilities.
  • Be ready for at least one surprise question!
  • If your interviewer(s) is talkative, you will have to SELL yourself and make sure to get your points across.
  • Never make a slighting reference about a former employer. Avoid giving the impression that you have come in to look over the possibilities and that you’re not sure what you want. Don’t say “I’ll do anything if I’m given the chance to learn,” or “I don’t know what I want to do.”
  • Do not negotiate or bring up salary/benefits until you have an offer.
  • Smile.

Follow-up After the Interview:

  • Make notes about the interview – what you learned about the company, their needs, problems, challenges, peoples’ names, ideas, etc.
  • If you noticed questions you found difficult to answer or ways to improve on your next interview, write it down.
  • Fewer than half the people who go on a job interview follow-up with a thank you note. It can give you the edge. Write a brief thank you note immediately.
  • Follow up with the interview by letter, email, and/or email over a period of time until a hiring decision is made (but don’t harass).
  • Follow up works!