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?

  • 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 include:
    • Why did you apply to this position?
    • How long will it take you to make a contribution?
    • What else besides your schooling and experience qualify you for this job?
    • Tell me about a difficult situation and how you resolved it.
    • What are some aspects of your present job that you enjoy/dislike?
    • How would you define a positive work environment?
    • What do you see yourself doing five or 10 years from now?
    • How much do outside influences play a role in your job performance?
  • 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.
  • 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’re unsure of where you’re going.
  • 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

Your interview will often begin 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:

  • Turn off your cell phone before you get out of your car.
  • Greet others by saying “hello” with a smile.
  • 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's acceptable to sit down immediately once you are directed to a vacant seat.
  • Maintain appropriate eye contact.
  • 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, and are personable and 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 and concentrate on how those positive things can be beneficial to your new employer.

Dress to Impress!

When you go to an interview, you should plan to dress professionally and appropriately for the industry in which you are looking for a job. General guidelines to follow may include wearing conservative colors like black, navy, or gray; wearing clothing that fits you well and is clean; wearing a limited amount of jewelry; making sure your hair is neat and clean; and presenting good general hygiene. Being overdressed is better than being underdressed. Specific dress guidelines can be discussed in more detail in individual appointments or other Career Services events.