An interview is an opportunity for you and the potential employer to get acquainted, learn about one another and explore the possibility of working together. Interviewing is an important part of getting hired and there is a process to it. Below we have laid out some best practices for that process.
- Practice: Being comfortable, confident, and effective come through practice. Decide what it is that you want to say and practice it! Schedule a mock interview at the Gateway Student Success Center to rehearse your examples and answers to questions.
- Prepare: You must know yourself! Self-assess what skills, accomplishments, values, interests, and goals you want the employer to know about you. Prepare specific examples that demonstrate your skills and accomplishments that you can use in an interview. Know about the potential employer and company. Have at least three questions prepared to ask the employer.
- Perform: Arrive at the location at least 10 minutes early. Be respectful to everyone! Be confident! Be enthusiastic! Answer the questions completely; take notes if you need to. Be specific and give examples that exhibit your skills and abilities. Remember that interviewing is a two-way street and you should consider what impression the interviewer is making on you.
- Proceed: Mentally review with yourself how the interviews went: Do I feel the interview went well, did I highlight my skills, experiences, and strengths? Was I respectful, confident and enthusiastic? Did I like the environment and the people? What can I improve on for the next interview? Send a Thank You note or email as soon as the interview is over. Write down contact information or ask for a business card of your interviewer(s).
A well-groomed, professional appearance is critical to your success. Anything else will detract from the best possible first impression, and first impressions can determine the tone of the remainder of the interview. Deciding what to wear is part of preparing for your interview and should be done well in advance of the interview. A good way to determine appropriate apparel is what people typically wear in the organization or industry, so use your network to talk to people in the organization/ industry to determine appropriate apparel. In general, both men and women should generally plan to wear a fairly conservative outfit in a dark color. In some innovative organizations or industries you may have more leeway in terms of formal versus casual attire, but it is always safe to stay on the basic side. Avoid: wild ties, trendy or loud items, attention grabbing jewelry, strong scents, and bold colors. See our CareerSpots Videos for more information, directions, and visual examples.
Long sleeved white or light colored shirt
Dark/ well-polished shoes
Coordinated belt and socks
Dark/ well-polished Close-toe shoes
As part of preparing for the interview you may want to practice commonly asked questions from the employer and to the employer. Below are some of those questions:
Getting to Know Your Questions
Tell us about yourself.
Why should I hire you?
What is your ideal position and why?
What are your professional goals?
What are your long/ short-term career goals?
What rewards do you expect to gain from your career?
What motivates you?
How do you evaluate success?
Are you willing to travel/ relocate?
What qualities do you think leaders possess?
What would you/ your supervisor/ friend/ professor consider to be your greatest strengths/ weaknesses?
What experiences have prepared you for this position?
What qualifications or contributions do you have to make our company more successful?
Why do you want to work for our company?
Do you have questions about our organization?
Describe your involvement with extracurricular activities and how you might apply those activities to this position?
Tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure. Were you successful/ unsuccessful and why?
Describe a time when you and a co-worker or group member had a conflict, and how did you handle that situation?
Describe a situation where you took a leadership role?
Tell us about a time where you were leading or a member of a successful/ unsuccessful team.
Don’t forget a thank-you!
As you proceed on from the interview and consider how you did in the interview, you want to ensure you immediately thank the interviewer(s). You want to share with them how much you enjoyed meeting with them, remind them how passionate you are about the position and how you are looking forward to hearing back from them. You can send your thank you note either in a thank you card or an email; you just need to ensure that the interviewer(s) receives that thank you within 24 hours. Check out our CareerSpots Videos for more tips on “The Art of Saying Thank You.”