Preparing for Your Interview
Your resume and cover letter have gotten you this far, now you’ve landed the interview! The most important advice for a successful interview is to be prepared.
Here are some tips to help you make the best impression with your prospective employer.
1. Do Your Homework
Research the organization before the interview. Find out the mission, business trends, and any special recognitions that make it a great place to work. This will give you an impressive edge in answering and asking questions during the interview.
The company’s website is an easy way to start and the human resources department will also have information.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice really does make perfect. Practicing your interview skills helps you be prepared to answer the hard questions thoroughly and with confidence.
Call or email the Career Services Center to schedule a mock interview appointment or ask a friend to help.
Be prepared to explain why you would be the best candidate for the job. Be able to describe your characteristics, talk about your experience, and discuss transferable job skills. Always use examples. Examples validate the skills and characteristics you have talked about.
When asked questions that require an example, remember to use the STAR approach. First, start with a specific situation from your current or past experience. Next, tell what task was required in the situation. Third, describe what actions you took to meet the task. Finally, relay the successful results of your actions.
Read more about questions employers might ask you.
3. Dress for Success
Look like a professional. Make a great first impression by wearing a nice business outfit and appearing clean and neatly dressed. You want to look like a person who is professional and takes a job seriously. Remember, the only thing you have complete control over before the interview is how you look. Make it matter.
4. Be Polite, Courteous, and Calm
Be sure to smile, maintain eye contact, have a firm hand shake, and listen well. Do not interrupt the interviewer, but wait until they are finished before answering. Use body language to show you are interested in the questions. Be careful that nervous habits such as toe tapping or hair twirling are under control because these are viewed as unprofessional.
5. Ask Questions
Most interviews will end with you getting an opportunity to ask your own questions. Ask questions that come from your research and show you are interested. Keep in mind, you are also interviewing them to see if the organization is a good fit for you.
Read questions that you may want to ask an employer.
6. Send a Thank You Note
A thank you note is subtle, but powerful. It is a common courtesy, reminds the employer who you are, illustrates your manners, and allows you to restate your qualifications.