Interviews are critical to the hiring process. The impression you make in the first few minutes can determine if you will get an opportunity for a second interview or even an offer. There are basically three steps to the interview process, the before, during and after. Although there are no guarantees with interviewing, your actions can increase your chances of success.
Before the Interview
Evaluate and Know Yourself. Interviewers use questions to measure your skills, experience, preparation and interests. Questions are used to determine how well you will “fit” with the employer.
- List the skills and abilities you have that qualify you for the position
- Practice describing your accomplishments, experience, education and skills
- Write out answers to commonly asked questions
- Practice answering questions out loud with someone else or in front of a mirror
- Participate in a mock interview with Business Career Services
Research the Employer. Researching employers will help you prepare to answer and ask questions during an interview. It is important to learn what an employer does, why they exist, how financially stable they are, what the work culture is like, and what jobs are available.
- Meet with company representatives at career fairs on campus and in the community
- Study the job description thoroughly. What would you be doing? What skills are required?
- Read annual reports and study the employer’s website
- Review industry and business publications for current information
- Consult our resource library
Dress Professionally. It is better to be over-dressed than under-dressed in an interview. A suit is recommended for campus interviews unless an employer specifies other attire. Dress conservatively and skip the nose rings, gum, smoking, sandals, spiked heels, cologne and perfume.
During the Interview
Impress everyone. Assume that everyone you meet will offer input used in hiring decisions. This includes participants in pre-night events, greeters you meet at on-campus interviews, and support staff involved in on-site interview days.
Listen attentively and be aware of your body language.
- Arrive early, greet the interviewer using his/her name, shake hands and smile
- Maintain good eye contact
- Use an open vs. closed seating position (unfold arms, uncross legs, lean slightly forward)
- Avoid distracting mannerisms
- Be polite and don’t interrupt or contradict the interviewer
Be concise and answer the question that is being asked. Be sure to follow the STAR method. Demonstrate your knowledge of yourself, interest in the employer, and skills for the job.
- Ask appropriate questions
- Ask about the next steps in the interviewing process, find out the next steps and the decision-making timeline in the organization’s hiring process, and ask when and how should you follow up with the employer
- Thank the interviewer, ask for a business card, and reiterate interest in being hired
After the Interview
Send a thank you letter or e-mail within 24 hours of each interview. Follow up accordingly.