Prepare for a Job Interview
What should I expect while interviewing?
Set up a mock interview with Career Services
Proper interview etiquette
- Dress: More conservatively than normal.
- Punctuality: Be early, not late.
- Listen: Listen well so that you can answer well.
- Talk: Engage in casual conversation before the interview. Showcase your social skills!
- Body language: Avoid nervous habits, make eye contact.
- Act interested: Act interested, take notes, be prepared.
- Answer questions: Respond directly or ask for clarification.
- Evaluate: Immediately after the interview, consider how you feel about the job.
- Send a thank you: Preferrably typed or handwritten (not e-mailed)
An interview that ends in a job offer is not the result of luck. Preparation is the key to a successful interview. A candidate who prepares for an interview will reduce their chances of being flustered by unexpected questions and will present a positive and relaxed image. Once your cover letter and resume have gotten you in the door, it's up to you to let the employer know why you are the best person for the job.
Remember, you are interviewing the employer or organization just as much as they are interviewing you. You want to make sure the employer or organization is a good fit for you too.
Here's how to convince an employer to hire you:
- First, you must know what skills you have, assess what your values are in relation to your work, and be able to discuss your personal qualities.
- Second, you must research the organization and position.
How do I get ready?
Do your research!
Research the position and the organization before going to the interview and try to obtain a detailed job description. Use the Web to research the company and read any printed materials available. Discuss the position with anyone you know who might have insights into the organization. This information will enable you to target your comments to the job and the organization and will demonstrate your interest. Your research will also help you formulate questions to ask the interviewer. Good questions display your thinking skills, your understanding of the position and your enthusiasm.
- What do you know about this organization?
- What contributions do you think you could make to this organization?
- Why did you decide to seek this position with this organizations?
Get to know yourself
Be prepared to discuss not only why you are the best person for the job but also how your strengths and abilities relate to the position. Provide examples from previous employment or activities to exemplify your skills. If you are unsure of your skills or how to describe them well, schedule a meeting with a career counselor.
In addition to discussing your strengths, learn to discuss and reflect your own values in relation to work and lifestyle. Prepare answers to questions such as:
- In what kind of work environment do you feel most comfortable?
- Why have you chosen the career for which you prepared?
- Would you be willing to relocate?
Thoughtfully answering these or similar questions demonstrates maturity and a strong sense of direction. If your answers are compatible with the values (or culture) of the company, you are seen as a potential employee who will be content with the job and committed to the organization.
What type of interviews should I expect?
Screening interviews are short, first interviews used to determine which candidates should be considered more closely. First impressions are crucial in a screening interview because the employer is trying to determine if you will fit in with the organization. Screening interviews are conducted over the phone or at the organization itself. Some interviewers come to campus to conduct this type of interview.
During on-site interviews, you usually talk to several people, including future co-workers, supervisors and high-level managers. It is appropriate to ask for the agenda in advance so you can prepare for the questions you will be asked and become familiar with the names of the people you will meet. Sometimes you will be invited on-site without a screening interview. Some on-site interviews may include a presentation. If so, find out what topics they would like you to present, who will be present, how much time you will have. Be sure to take time to prepare your presentation. Make sure the to clarifies the directions on where the interview will be held, so you will be on time.
What are commonly asked questions?
If you think through these questions ahead of time, you will be poised, confident and prepared. Read and think about how you would answer sample interview questions.
Questions to ask the interviewer
- What are the responsibilities of this position?
- What qualifications do you expect the successful candidate to have?
- What are the main problems that need immediate attention?
- What resources are available to solve these problems?
- What are the reputations, academic training, and tenures of the employees in this department?
- Do you support professional development? How?
- What is the level of the department’s authority in this position?
- What is the department’s supervisor’s reputation in the organization?
- What are the established guidelines and procedures for making decisions in this position?
- What are the reporting relationships of this position?
- What are the short-term and long-term goals of the department and how are they set?
- How would successful performance be measured in this position?
- How often is performance reviewed in this position?
- What is culture of this organization? Is the environment formal or informal, structured or flexible?
- Describe the interdepartmental relationships.
- What has the turnover rate of the department been?
- What happens next?
- Note the name of the interviewer and the place and date of the interview.
- What questions were you asked that you want to remember?
- Which questions posed the most difficulty? How would you answer differently if you could?
- In which areas do you need more information?
- What should you emphasize more strongly if offered a second interview for the same position?
- What is your overall evaluation of the interview?
- Jot down notes of any interviewer feedback.
- Send a thank you promptly!
Last modified August 28 2012 01:55 PM