The big day if finally here! Follow these tips to help you complete a successful interview:
- Be on time...this means arriving at least 15 minutes before the interview. If you are very early, you can always wait in the parking lot or down the street.
- Bring extra copies of your resume.
- Always be honest, confident and positive when answering questions.
- Do not discuss salary or benefits in the first interview.
- Don't be afraid of silence. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before answering. An interviewer will appreciate a well-thought answer as opposed to a hasty one.
- Keep your answers brief and to the point.
- Avoid using slang.
- Be aware of and control your non-verbal language - eye contact, posture, gestures, and hand movements.
- Always dress professionally, neatly, and appropriately for the organization for which you are interviewing.
- Err on the conservative side - navy blue or black are standard conservative colors.
- For women: a well-tailored suit with minimal jewelry and makeup.
- For men: a well-tailored suit, conservative tie, and polished shoes.
- As with everything else, hair should be in a neat, conservative style; make sure your fingernails are clean.
- It is important that you are physically comfortable so that you can concentrate on the interview – this is not the day to break in brand new shoes!
- Do not chew gum during or smoke prior to the interview.
- Do not overuse cologne or perfume; it’s best to avoid it altogether.
- Feel free to bring your interview suit to the Career Development Center for an informed opinion from a career counselor.
How can you enter an interview exuding confidence and competence? How can you know when it’s appropriate to express an opinion, or when it’s best to take a deep breath, pause, and offer the most tactful statement you can muster? Read on for advice from people who regularly interview job candidates and who help decide which ones to hire:
- Research - learn as much as you can about the organization beforehand. Know its products and services, target market or client base, profit margin, management, culture, dress code, recent press, and anything else you can find out. Good sources are Career Development counselors and resources, a college or public library, and the internet.
- Practice interviewing. Career Development offers mock interviews and one-on-one coaching. Additionally, a mock interview day, where candidates can schedule mock interviews with professional, corporate recruiters from local, regional and national companies, is scheduled every semester. Call Career Development for details.
- Relate your experience in work, classes, and activities to the internship or full-time job you’re seeking. If the connections are not obvious, what transferable skills do you have that apply?
- Dress for Success - plan out your interview attire well in advance – the morning of your interview is not the time to realize your shirt has a stain or your suit needs pressing or doesn’t fit. Also make sure that your shoes are shined and in good condition; and that your hair and nails are well groomed.
- Arrive prepared with extra copies of your resume and list of references.
- Speak slowly and clearly. Don’t be afraid to pause for a moment to collect your thoughts.
- Honesty is the best policy, especially when answering questions about your work history or performance, or answering the “weakness” question. Don’t try to cover up past mistakes. Instead, focus on how you learned from them.
- Assert yourself by asking informed questions at the end of your interview. Remember that the interview is also a way for you to learn if the job or internship is right for you.
- Get a business card from each person you meet so that you may send a thank you e-mail, typed letter or handwritten note within 24 hours after the interview.