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Interview Preparation

Interviewing 101

Be Prepared
Preparing for an interview is a must. Interviewers can usually discern which candidates took the time to think about their answers and have researched the company they are interviewing for.  Being prepared for an interview can entail a variety of things.

How do I prepare for an interview?

1. Answer commonly asked interview questions by writing them out or speaking them out loud.  This technique is especially helpful for those who tend to get anxious or nervous. Common interview questions often include:

a. Why did you apply to this position?
b. How long will it take you to make a contribution?
c. What else besides your schooling and experience qualify you for this job?
d. Tell me about a difficult situation and how you resolved it.
e. What are some aspects of your present job that you enjoy/dislike?
f. How would you define a positive work environment?
g. What do you see yourself doing 5 or 10 years from now?
h. How much do outside influences play a role in your job performance?

2. Research the company by doing an Internet search.  Look for the company’s specific website as well as other sites such as reliable news sources that reference the company.  From this search, you should be able to speak intelligently about the company and pose some questions to the employer about specific things you learned.

3. Map it. Know where you are going and how long it will take to get there.  Drive the route if your interview is in town and you unsure of where you are going.

4. Prepare your references.  Inform your references that you are interviewing for a position.  You should express to them the degree of interest you have in the position, the qualities you believe they should emphasize, as well as any other positions you have applied for.

Be Polite:
Often times your interview begins even before you step foot into the building. Anyone you encounter may be a part of the interview/screening process. Therefore, you should conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times.  Some employers may even test your interaction with their employees by setting up situations or force you to deal with people before you enter the interview.  Below is a list of general guidelines to stay professional:

1. Turn off your cell phone before you get out of your car.

2. Greet others with a smile and a hello.

3. When entering the interview, wait to be directed to which seat you are to take and remain standing until the interviewer(s) sit. If there
are others already seated in the room, it is acceptable to sit down immediately once you are directed to a vacant seat.

4. Maintain appropriate eye contact.

5. Do not interrupt others

Be Positive
Employers are more likely to hire someone who smiles and remains both positive and enthusiastic during the interview process. Employers want employees who get along well with others, are personable, as well as approachable.  Do not spend your interview dwelling on the faults of your other jobs, bosses, or co-workers. Instead, focus on the things you liked about your previous job but also concentrate on how those positive things can be beneficial to your new employer.

Dress to Impress

FACT: The way you dress for your interview says a lot about you as a potential employee.

What does your appearance say about you?  Low cut shirt girl?  Tacky tie guy?  Don’t be remembered for your fashion faux pas.  Your clothes as well as your overall appearance should make a positive statement to others.  Here are a few guidelines to follow when dressing for your interview.

Guidelines for Men & Women
Suit:   A two piece matched suit in black/navy/dark grey is best. Ensure that it fits properly as well as remove all tags and loose threads. Coordinate your shirt or blouse to compliment your suit.  Shirts (and blouses where appropriate) should be pressed and tailored to fit.

Is suit always appropriate attire for an interview?

If you are entering into a job or worksite that does not require a suit, it may still be appropriate to wear one.  Wearing a suit to the interview shows respect and that you are serious about the job.  If you believe you are entering a company that would frown upon a suit, seek advice from professors or people you know who have been employed in the industry and/or ask the company directly.

Shoes:  Choose shoes that match/compliment your suit and are close-toed, low heeled, polished, and scuff-free.

General appearance:  You should be freshly showered/bathed, have your hair groomed, and your nails should be neat, clean, and trimmed.  Stay away from heavy colognes or perfumes and make certain to hide tattoos and abnormal piercings.

Additional Guidelines for Men
Socks:   Wear dark dress socks that go to mid-calf so skin doesn’t show when you are seated.
Belt:  Belts should match the color of your shoes.
Ties:   Tie styles come and go, purchase one made of good quality fabric in a conservative solid color or small pattern. Stay away from loud colors and character ties.
Jewelry:  Keep jewelry to a minimum. A watch and wedding or class ring at most.  Remove earrings.
Facial Hair:    If worn, should be neatly trimmed/groomed.

Additional Guidelines for Women
Skirts:  When seated, your skirt should fully cover your thighs. Longer skirts are acceptable as long as they are not billowing.  Skirts should have a proper form and compliment your body; however, they should not be so tight as to not allow you to move comfortably.
Shirts:  Underneath your suit jacket, wear a tailored blouse or finely knit shell.  Do not show cleavage.
Jewelry:  Be conservative. Minimize the number of pieces you wear. (e.g. a watch and a necklace)
Makeup:  Keep makeup natural and light.
Hosiery:  Fads come and go, be certain to remain neutral and wear hosiery that matches your skin tone.
Shoes:  Shoes should match /compliment your suit in both color and fabric.  Heels should be no taller than 2 ½ inches.
Purse/Bag:  If you choose to bring a purse, keep it small and simple, especially if you bring a briefcase/portfolio

Additional Interview Preparation:

Coming soon!