Get Ready for Your Interview
An interview is your opportunity to convince a potential employer that you are the right person for the position you want! Whether your interview is in-person, through video or over the phone it is important to research the organization so you can communicate your connection to their mission and da-to-day work.
Your interview is your employer’s first impression of you. If you show up late to your interview they will assume you will show up late to your job. Show up early and they will assume you are the type to show up early. Not to mention that planning to show up early means if there is an unexpected delay you will still be on time.
First impressions are everything. Your interview is your opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism. You should wear clothes a notch better than you would expect to wear on the job. This lets your interviewer know you are taking the process seriously and can be professional.
Here are some guidelines on professional attire
Don't have anything to wear? Come check out our professional clothing closet in SUB 202! We have an assortment of jackets, blouses, slacks, ties, etc.
Research the company. If you can show that you are excited about the company’s direction or have existing knowledge of what the company does you are more likely to stand out among other applicants and make a good impression. Researching the company will also assist in pinpointing questions you may want to ask at the end of the interview.
It should go without saying, but you definitely want to be professional during an interview. Be polite in your interactions with everyone. Always be attentive when talking to someone so you don’t miss anything. Lead with a firm handshake, remember to smile, and don’t slouch. Your impression begins the second you step through the organizations doors. Also remember to be enthusiastic. You will stand out far more if you show you are enthusiastic about the company and the job. It will show the employer you're excited about THIS opportunity and not just desperate to land a job for a job.
The interviewers will ask you questions about your past experiences to get a feel for how you work. Be sure to review your previous work experience and have multiple examples concerning conflict, teamwork, leadership, communication, etc.
It's almost a guarantee that you will be asked behavioral style interview questions (tell me about a time when...). When answering these questions, use the following STAR method outline to assist in efficiently providing a good example.
Situation: Describe the situation you were in--lay the groundwork
Task: Describe what needed to happen--your responsibilities
Action: Describe the action you took to solve the problem
Result: Outline the outcome of your actions, explaining what happened or the lessons you learned
Practice, practice, and practice some more. Practice with the mirror, a friend, a random stranger--whatever floats your boat. Research and practice possible interview questions. Make sure you have answers prepared for these common questions. If you find a question for which you can’t think of an answer, focus on that question and find an answer. Need more practice? Schedule a mock interview with our office and get feedback.
An interview is not just your potential employer finding out about you, it’s also your chance to find out more about your potential employer and if it's somewhere you actually want to work. Every interview will end with something along the lines of "do you have any questions for us?". Asking questions is a way to leave a meaningful impression and demonstrate that you are interested in the job and company.
A few examples:
- "If I were to get this position, what would be my main goals for the first three months?"
- "How would you describe your company culture?"
- "What's your favorite part of working at the company?"
- "What does success look like in this position and how do you measure it?"
- "What would be a typical career path for someone starting out in this role?"
- "What do you feel would be the most challenging aspect of this job?"
After the interview send your interviewer a physical thank you card. So few people actually do this, and it will get you noticed. It doesn’t have to be long, just short and sweet. Remember you are trying to standout in a good way. A thank you letter will be seen in a positive light and provide just one more opportunity for your name to be remembered. Send a letter to each person who interviewed you.
While a physical thank you card is preferred, the bare minimum should be an email thank you. Regardless of method, just remember that a thank you should be sent.
Regardless if you get the job or not, you should find out what you did right and wrong in the interview. Send an email asking for feedback and take any advice to heart.