As you might already know, an interview is a conversation between you and a potential employer. In a perfect scenario, it is a mutually informative conversation where you both learn something from one another. For example:
“You are the perfect candidate!” or “I do NOT want to work here!”
Remember, the “fit” between you and the interviewer – how natural the conversation is, how much you enjoy one another’s company, how confident and positive you seem and how interested they are in spending time with you can be just as important. Also keep in mind, interviewing is a skill and like any skill one should practice and prepare to be successful.
A Career Planning Center counselor is available to assist you in honing your interviewing skills and can help you prepare for any interview! But in the mean time, here are some great tips on how to be an “Effective Interviewer”.
Prepare for the Interview
The first step in preparing for an interview is to research everything there is to know about the organization and the specific industry it is in. Employers expect you to have done your “homework” and be able to clearly articulate why you are interested in working for that particular company. The only way to do that is to KNOW the company inside and out.
Starting your research:
Go to the company’s website and start digging!
- You want to know as much as you can – who are their clients? Their competitors? What are their products or different services? Do they have an annual report?
- Set a Google alert for the corporation and the industry so you can start getting alerted on anything that is occurring in the news.
- With all of your research, begin to formulate questions that you can ask the employer during the interview.
Start reading the paper!
- You need to have an understanding of what is going on in the world.
- Some employers might even ask you a question about a current event!
Now that you know the company inside and out, it is time to get to know YOURSELF!
- Assess the requirements of the job and determine how your qualifications meet the employer’s needs.
- Relate skills, projects, and internships to the position.
- Know your resume and be able to DISCUSS it in detail.
- Prepare answers to potential interview questions (see Interview question handout.
- To boil it down, an employer is interested in knowing the answer to three basic questions:
1. Why are you interested in this field?
2. Why are you interested in this position and organization?
3. What relevant skills and experiences do you have that will make you successful? WHY YOU?
Dress for success!
- Be sure to dress professionally – wear a suit, conservative tie or blouse, clean shaven, limited jewelry, and bring a portfolio (more on dressing professionally in future blog post!)
- Know the location of the interview in advance and arrive early.
- Check in 5-10 minutes early – think of this as your first impression!
- Bring copies of your resume on RESUME PAPER even if they have the resume already.
- Prepare for inclement weather, bring an umbrella.
Communicating in the Interview
- A successful interview involves making a positive first impression and building rapport with the interviewer.
- Offer a good firm handshake and small talk to break the ice; be sure to be responsive.
- Your nonverbal communication is just as important as what you say.
- Maintain good eye contact, sit up straight, and be aware of your nervous habits (are you a tapper?
- There are 4 different styles of interviews, understanding the types will help you be intentional in your answers
- As the interview comes to an end, be sure to express your interest in the position and summarize why you are well qualified.
- Ask what the next steps will be or when you can expect to hear from the interviewer.
Follow Up E-mail
- Write a thank you email shortly after the interview
- This shows your interest in the position and provides you with one more opportunity to illustrate why you are perfect for the job.
- If you are not contacted within the specified amount of time, call or e-mail your contact to restate your interest and inquire about the status of the hiring process.
Do not be a nag, that might turn the interviewer off. Try to be patient and wait until they make a decision.
OK that was a lot! Again, come by if you want to do some one on one prep for any interview!
Assistant Director, Career Planning Center