Career Development

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General Interview Tips

INVESTIGATE the employer. The Internet is an invaluable tool for learning about a company’s products, services, benefits, philosophy, etc. It is also important to research the company culture and the history.


CREATE a profile of the position for which you are interviewing. What qualifications does this position require? What are the duties and responsibilities for this position? How do your skills fulfill the requirements/transfer to this position?


PREPARE for questions. Identify your experiences, skills, and characteristics related to the position. Write your answers to commonly asked interview questions to help formulate your thoughts and ideas.


COMPILE relevant information. Some organizations will ask you to fill out an application as well as provide a resume. You may want to write down addresses of former employers, names and dates before going to the interview. Always have extra copies of your resume and keep a pen and paper handy to jot down notes about the interview.


PRACTICE. It is essential to rehearse prior to a successful interview. Spend some time with a list of interview questions and develop a plan to answer each question. Attend the Office of Career Development’s Mock Interview sessions. Or, schedule a mock interview with Career Development personnel. You can also rehearse with friends, family, or even in front of a mirror.


DRESS professionally. Make sure your shoes are polished and your attire is clean and well pressed. Make sure you are properly groomed (clean hair, clean fingernails, etc). Keep jewelry to a minimum and NO perfume or cologne.


FIRST IMPRESSION is lasting. Arrive at least ten minutes early. Allow time for traffic. Introduce yourself to the receptionist and indicate who you are there to see. Remember the interview starts the moment you enter the door and does not end until you leave. Practice the pronunciation of the interviewer’s name and repeat the name when you greet him/her.


ATTITUDE. Show confidence, interest, assertiveness, and enthusiasm. Do not be arrogant, aggressive, or immature. BE YOURSELF. Smile, relax, and be friendly. Be HONEST in all your answers. Be COURTEOUS, POLITE, and RESPECTFUL at all times.


VERBAL COMMUNICATION. Use proper grammar. Do not use “um”, “like” and “you know” when you speak. Pause for a moment before answering to gather your thoughts. Answer questions thoroughly by using examples. DO NOT monopolize the conversation or ramble. Make sure you answer the question asked.


NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION. Shake hands firmly with the interviewer and anyone else to whom you are introduced. Make eye contact when speaking to someone. Always wait to sit down until you have been offered a seat. Be aware of your posture at all times. Beware of talking with your hands too much.


YOUR PAST. Do not be evasive. While past failures need not be volunteered, do not try to cover them up. If you have a “blemish” in your past, simply explain the circumstances around it without giving excuses for blaming others. Discuss what you learned from the situation. Never speak poorly about former supervisors, colleagues, or employers.


BE ATTENTIVE. When introduced to others, remember their names. Pay attention. Do not ask questions about information that has already been addressed. Ask for a business card at the close of the interview to ensure you have the proper contact information.


NEGOTIATING SALARY. The employer should be the one to introduce this topic. It will generally be discussed at a later interview or at the time an offer is made.


THANK YOU. Thank interviewers for their time and shake hands firmly with a smile. Indicate that you look forward to hearing from them soon and welcome them to contact you if they have the need for additional information. Send a thank-you letter within 24 hours after the interview.