The interview is usually the final hurdle to the job. When you get asked in for the interview, take the extra time to shine. This is your moment!
If you are in the beginning phases of the job search, the interview may seem a long way away. However, take a little time right now to learn about interviewing, you never know when that opportunity will come.
Interview Do’s and Don’ts
Each phase of the job search should help prepare you for the next. A good resume and cover letter will have you thinking about your strengths and experiences and how they are a good fit for the position. If you are networking and doing info interviews you will already have some good information about industry trends and company culture. You can use this information in the interview.
When you shake hands and walk away from the interview, what are you hoping that they’ll remember about you? Think about which of your strengths and achievements you want to be sure to share with your interviewer. Be clear about your motivations and qualifications for the job. Show your enthusiasm, ask about follow up, and remember to send a Thank You.
Those are the easy ones. How many careers can you name?
As you prepare to enter the world of work, take a moment to explore what’s out there. Look before you leap.
You will find some great resources to get started under “Explore Options” on the Senior Checklist for Career Success. Read about different jobs, including the skills and education needed, the typical career path, salary and more. Take a moment to browse through the different Job Families on O*Net and the Occupational Outlook Handbook . Anything strike your fancy? Make a list of any careers that you would like to learn more about.
Want to explore some more unusual career choices? Check out these articles:
To learn more about specific industries or companies, explore the Career Field Information page. Also, check out One Day One Job. Everyday they profile opportunities at a different company, with a specific focus on opportunities for college students. They’ve profiled almost 1,500 companies!
Once you’ve got your list of interesting careers/organizations, you’re ready for the next step. Career Services often recommends informational interviewing as one of the best ways to learn more about a particular job, career path or company. Talking to people who are doing the job that you are interested in can help you realistically assess whether that career would be a good fit for you.
You can start right now with these informational interview videos and personal accounts of different jobs:
Hollywood has given us plenty of examples of workplace happenings, including glimpses into the job search process. From hilariously absurd job interviews to heartwarming interviews gone right, we have lots of examples of what to do and what not to do.
In Step Brothers (2008), the characters of Brennan and Dale are two unemployed, middle-aged men are forced to get jobs when their parents marry. Unfamiliar with proper interview etiquette, they find themselves in situations like the following:
To be clear, this video demonstrates what not to do when interviewing. Some tips we can learn from these guys:
Know who you’re speaking with: When interviewing, be sure you know your interviewer’s name. “Human Resources Lady” won’t cut it.
Dress to impress…not to overwhelm: Although it’s harder to overdress for an interview than it can be to underdress, this isn’t prom. For more information on appropriate dress, see our website.
Alternatively, we have the real-life success story Chris Gardner, portrayed by Will Smith in 2006’s Pursuit of Happyness. The homeless single-father seeks an opportunity to improve the lives of him and his son:
This is a great clip because it gives a realistic glimpse into the interview process. Everything didn’t go well for Chris, but he made the most of his situation by being proactive. Here’s what we can learn:
Determination: Research companies you want to work for and keep your eye out for new opportunities.
Network: Chris made a connection with an employee of the company, and that relationship paid off- he got the interview and had someone to vouch for him in the process!
While life is not a movie, these clips definitely leave us with ideas to ponder. To learn more about preparing for an interview in the real world, visit our site.
So you are all prepared for your job interview. You know the skills, strengths and experience you have to offer. You have chosen what to wear: professional and not distracting to the eye. You have the directions to the company and have planned out how to get there on time with bit to spare. You know the questions you want to ask about the job at the end of the interview, but before you get there, the dreaded question may arrive: “So, what are your weaknesses?”
Is this a trick question? Did they notice my black socks don’t quite match? Do I have poppyseeds between my teeth? Or do they know I was laid off from a job a few years back?
What is most important is to prepare for this question in advance. Here are some tips for approaching this:
Keep it professional: having an obsession with chocolate may indeed be your biggest weakness, but it most likely won’t impact your job performance unless you are working in a chocolate factory.
Be clear concise: don’t spend too much air time on this. Clearly state a weakness you have been working on.
Show that you have taken action. What matters most is that you are AWARE of your weaknesses, and have developed strategies to address and compensate for them. “I have a tendency to…. so I have done ….. to address it.”
Here are some resources to navigate this territory.
Finally, don’t make an actual interview a practice session! Career Services counselors conduct mock interviews, via phone and in person. This is a great way to practice responding to a variety of interview questions and to debrief your interview skills before the real deal.