Prepare for an interview
Interviews are two-way dialogues in which employers and prospective employees learn about each other. Every personal interaction should be considered an interview opportunity and a chance to make a good impression.
Employer Goals: To obtain information for hiring decisions; to compare applicants for a vacant position; and to present a positive image of the organization.
Applicant Goals: To promote your professional potential; to present your skills, values and interests; and to get the job offer.
- Spend time reflecting on your skills, interests, values, personal traits and previous experiences
- Identify your short-term and long-term goals
- Research the organization’s products, services, competitors, and the position itself
- Prepare responses and practice answering sample interview questions
- Identify five or more accomplishments and craft stories
- Prepare a list of questions you may want to ask the employer
- Know where you are going - location, parking, time of interview, etc.
Day of Interview
- Dress professionally: clothing pressed, shoes shined, well-groomed
- Bring additional copies of your résumé and relevant samples of your work
- Arrive 10 minutes early and be cordial to the receptionist
- Ask for the professional’s business card for future reference
Following the Interview
- Send a thank you; may be hand-written or emailed
- Reflect on your performance
- Write down difficult questions for further reference
- Greet interviewer formally (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) and with a firm handshake
- You only get one chance to make a first impression
- Illustrate answers by describing past experiences
- Keep your answers brief and focused on the question
- Include concrete, quantifiable data when possible
- Repeat your key strengths
- Consider employer perspectives and priorities
- Image (body language, eye contact) and presentation (communication, enthusiasm, interest) are often as important as content
- Maintain a conversational flow and ask relevant questions
- Never use an interview for practice - always prepare and learn from your experiences
- Prepare by digging deeper into employer literature and current articles about the industry or organization
- If possible, speak to current employees, customers or competitors to develop a well-rounded perspective.
- Usually conducted at the employer’s work site
- Expect to speak with multiple interviewers
- Costs are typically reimbursed by the employer
Accepting the Offer
- Before accepting an offer of employment, make sure you understand all the details. Be clear on the following points:
- The job responsibilities and salary meet with your satisfaction
- The starting date and location of assignment are clearly understood
- Ideally you have met with your supervisor and feel excited about the relationship with her or him
- You will have the opportunity to develop new skills and increase responsibilities