The interview is one of the most important steps in the job search process. It is your chance to elaborate on how your education, skills, and experience fit what the employer is seeking in a candidate and ultimately gets you the job offer. The keys to interviewing success are knowing yourself, researching the employer, and preparing for and following-up after the interview.
Preparing for the Interview
• Be able to discuss your skills, interests, values and goals that relate to the position
• Research the employer and know about their mission, services and products
• Demonstrate that you have the necessary position requirements
• Know what type of interview to expect (i.e. initial screening interview, telephone interview, second/site interview, panel interview)
• Be prepared to respond to common interview questions
• Practice your interview skills through a Mock Interview
During the Interview
• Make a Good First Impression
• Be on time – plan to arrive 10-15 minutes before your interview is to begin to not feel rushed - but we recommend not arriving to the actual interview place (e.g. office suite) somewhere between 5 - 10 minutes early
• Maintain eye contact with the interviewer during your greeting and throughout the interview
• Extend a firm handshake and use appropriate salutation (Mr./Ms./Dr.)
• Turn off your cell phone
Know What to Wear
• Wear a clean, pressed dark suit and tie
• Avoid whimsical ties
• Wear polished dress shoes
• Present a clean-shaven or neatly trimmed beard
• Wear a clean, pressed suit - either pants or skirt
• Skirts should be no shorter than 1” above the knee
• Wear polished dress shoes – flats no more than two inches high
• Hair should be neatly arranged
• Anything that could detract a recruiter from paying attention to your qualifications (i.e. facial hair, jewelry, heavy perfumes/colognes) will negatively impact the professional impression you want to achieve
• When in doubt, be conservative!
Gather What to Bring
• Professional portfolio to carry documents and take notes
• Extra copies of your resume
• Samples of your relevant work
• Reference list
• Any requested documentation
• A writing utensil
After the Interview
• Send a prompt thank-you note for the interview
• Follow-up regarding your status in the process if the employer has not contacted you within the agreed upon time frame (you can initiate contact and ask if a hiring decision has been made)
• Continue applying for additional opportunities
What Employers Look For
• Interest – Do you want the job?
• Skills, abilities and experience – Can you do the job?
• Motivation – Will you do the job?
• Personal qualities – Are you a good fit with the organization?
• Read more: Interviewing Prep
Reasons Employers Do Not Hire Interview Candidates
• Lack of enthusiasm and interest in the position
• Inappropriate attire
• Responses do not contain enough detail
• Inability to connect experiences and education to the position and the organization
• Unclear and/or unrelated career goals
• Limited knowledge of the organization and the position