How to Prepare for an Interview
Remember this is an opportunity for you to decide if the employer is a fit for you, as well as for the employer to determine if you are a fit for the organization.
Before Know Yourself
Five minutes - small talk
• Fifteen minutes - a mutual discussion of your background and credentials as they relate to the needs of the employer • Five minutes - employer asks you for questions or anything else you want to add • Five minutes - conclusion of interview and determining when the employer will contact you As you can see, there is not a lot of time to state your case. When you respond to questions or ask your own, your statements should be concise and organized without being too brief. Interviewing Questions Interviewing questions typically fall into three categories: “behavioral”, “situational” or “traditional”. Employers may ask all three types of questions. Be ready to ask your own questions. See “Interviewing Questions” in this guide or on our website. After Evaluate the Interview What did you learn from the interview that can help during your next interview? Is there any additional research or preparation you need to do for your next interview? Were there any follow-up instructions given by the recruiter that need to be completed? Thank-You Letter Send a thank-you letter to the employer no later than two days following the interview. If you are interested in pursuing employment with the company, confirm your interest and reiterate your strengths. If you are not interested in employment, thank the employer for the interview and indicate that you would like to be removed from consideration for the position. If two weeks have elapsed since your first interview, and the employer has not made contact, a telephone call is appropriate. See “Job Search Letters” and “Sample Letters”. Second Interview Normally, first interviews will not include an offer for immediate hire. The interviewer’s job is to screen candidates for future interviews. They must review your qualifications with the hiring managers and usually they will schedule a second interview. These interviews generally take place at the employment site. See “The Second Interview” in this guide. thoroughly. If you need more time to make a decision, ask for an extension. If you decide to accept the offer, immediately notify other employers who may be waiting for your decision. If you decide not to accept the offer, immediately contact the employer and inform them. See “Offers and Acceptances” in this guide for more information on assessing job offers. Also, see “Job Search Letters” and “Sample Letters” for information about acceptance, rejection, and delaying decision letters. The Offer If you are extended a job offer, you will need to assess it
Review the job description to identify the skills, knowledge, and personal characteristics required for the position. Be prepared to relate concrete examples that show you have the skills required of the position. Skills are developed not only during your formal education, but also through employment experiences, co-ops, internships, volunteer experiences, community service, and hobbies. Know the Employer Research the employer to gain a better understanding of the organization’s mission, vision, and values, to help determine if you really want to work for them. Also, by researching the employer you can better tailor your interview answers to meet the needs of the employer. You will then be able to ask questions that are pertinent and show that you are prepared and knowledgeable. See “Researching Employers for “Successful Interviews” in this guide for more information. Dress for Success Dress expectations vary by employer, industry, and location. It’s important to get a sense of the corporate culture before you head into the interview, to make sure that your attire aligns with company expectations. Do your research on the dress expectations of the companies you’re interested in. Different industries have different expectations of how candidates and employees should dress. However, regardless of what everyone those at the company wear, it’s essential to take particular care with your appearance during a job interview. The candidate dressed in a suit and tie, or dress and heels, will usually make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in jeans and sneakers. Strive to celebrate your individual style while remaining aware of dress standards a company has. And, if how your typical dress doesn’t conform to a traditional gender norm, your interview attire shouldn’t have to either. The key, as with gender specific attire, is to find clothing that is polished, professional, and a fit for the company you’re interviewing with. Do a Mock Interview Do a mock interview using “InterviewStream” found in Handshake. This interactive web based program allows you to privately practice interviewing at your convenience by answering questions from a virtual interviewer while being recorded. You can check out a webcam for recording on your computer or use the computers in Career Services. This recording can then be viewed and shared with Career Services counselors or others for feedback. Additionally,you can set up a mock interview with a counselor to practice your skills in person. During Sharing Information The interview process can be scary if you don’t know what to expect. The typical interview will last 30 minutes, although some may be longer. A typical structure is as follows:
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