Interviews are crucial — they're one of the most important steps in the job-searching process. It's your chance to talk about your education, skills and experiences and how they relate to the job you want. Check out some interview tools and tips from Career Services!
The interview is one of the most important steps in the job search process. Preparation is key to any successful job interview. It is your chance to elaborate on how your education, skills and experience fit what the employer is seeking in a candidate and ultimately gets you the job offer. The keys to interviewing success are knowing yourself, researching the employer and preparing for and following up after the interview.
With Big Interview, you can practice for your interview — any time and anywhere. It can help you:
- Practice your interview skills before meeting with an employer
- View expert tips on interview preparation
- Answer mock questions
Researching the Employer
- What does the company do? Understand the mission of the company.
- How is the company structured?
- What are the company’s goals?
- What are the employers like?
- What is the “personality” or “culture” of the company?
- What is the reputation of the organization?
- Ask current employers.
- Who are their competitors?
- Company size – in terms of profits, current employees & growth
- Locations outside your community
- Be prepared to articulate why you desire employment based on your research
Researching the Position:
- What are the responsibilities of the job?
- Obtain a job description if possible
- Prepare to match your qualifications to those listed on the job description
- Know how the position fits with your goals
It is important for you to prepare for the type of interview and the type of interview questions you may be asked during the interview process. Familiarizing yourself with the examples below will help you to be more comfortable and confident for a successful interview.
The Traditional Interview is the most well known type of interview. This type of interview generally consists of standardized questions between one recruiter and one interviewee. The recruiter anticipates well thought out questions, in addition to well-articulated answers. The best questions are derived from employer research as well as industry research.
It is important for you to prepare for the types of interview questions you may be asked. A commonly used type of interview question is the behavioral-based question. These questions can help employers determine how you will react in a particular situation based on the way you handled previous situations.
The Case Method Interview is the type of interview in which you will be asked to evaluate a hypothetical situation, question or idea. The recruiter is not looking for a “correct” answer, but would like to assess your analytical reasoning skills. The most important idea in this type of interview is to justify the answer given.
Be prepared to address all relevant factors affecting the hypothetical question, situation or idea. Additional questions pertaining to the specific idea may be asked of the recruiter for further clarification. This type of interview is not as common as the traditional or behavioral interviews.
The Sequential Interview is a series of interviews with several recruiters consecutively. This type of interview is more commonly seen at the Site Visit or Follow Up Interview. Each interview should be treated as a new chance to showcase your qualities that match the employer’s requirements. The interviewers generally consist of your potential future manager, those with hiring authority and other key players within the organization. Although the sequential interview can be very tiring, keep a positive attitude throughout each session.
Team/Panel Interviews are a variation of the traditional interview. As organizations are moving towards more team projects and group decision-making, the team/panel interview keeps with this notion. A panel of 2-10 people questions the interviewee. Each person on the panel has a specific purpose within the interview. Eye contact is very important in a team interview. In addition, remember to pay special attention to each person when answering his or her specific question.
The Stress Interview is the type of interview that tests your boundaries. It is used to determine your tolerance level in withstanding the company culture, the customers and/or other stresses involved with the position. Don’t be stressed if your patience is tested because the interviewer is determining if you are a fit for the position.
Practicing your interviewing skills will assist you in preparation for the full interview.
The questions below can aid you in starting to think about the type of questions some employers may ask.
- Tell me about yourself?
- Why did you choose this career?
- What three words describe you?
- What goals do you have in your career?
- How do you plan to achieve these goals?
- What do you think it takes to be successful in this career?
- Do you consider yourself to be ethical?
- Do you handle conflict well?
- How do you resolve conflict?
- Do you handle pressure well?
- What is your greatest strength?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- How has your education prepared you for your career?
- What do you know about our company?
- What kind of salary are you looking for?
- Why should I hire you?
- Do you have any questions about the position?
Practicing your interviewing skills has many benefits including: reducing anxiety, increasing confidence and answering interviewing questions effectively. To schedule a mock interview, please contact Career Services.
Tops 10 Interview Tips
- Develop a list of questions to ask the employer
- Be prepared to respond to follow up questions and have examples ready
- Be positive about yourself and others and about your experiences
- Never speak negatively about former employers
- Show energy and enthusiasm for your field of interest
- Be aware of your body language and practice a good handshake
- Be sure to smile and maintain good eye contact
- Ask for clarification if you are unclear about a question
- Contact your references and alert them of the positions you have applied for
- Write a thank you letter - the same day of the interview
People start judging you from the moment they first observe you. After the first two seconds they have formed conclusions.
Remember, you are marketing a product — yourself — to a potential employer, and the first thing the employer sees when greeting you is your attire. You must make every effort to have the proper dress for the type of job you are seeking.
Why Dress for Success
Dressing formally shows the importance of the situation (being overdressed is better than under). Research the company with whom you're interviewing to make sure you're planning to dress appropriately. If you're still not sure what to wear, talk to your career counselors, faculty and professionals in your area of interest.
Dressing on a Budget
Just because you're watching your wallet doesn't mean you can't look professional. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan an outfit for an interview. Invest in separates to combine together to create a professional look. Use shirts, blouses and sweaters to create a variety of visual effects.
- Avoid heavy fragrance. Interviewer may be allergic or sensitive to strong fragrances. When in doubt, skip fragrance all together.
- Cover visible tattoos.
- Apparel should be clean and pressed.
- Apparel should fit appropriately.
- Avoid jeans.
- Attire should be properly tailored.
- Avoid logos.
- Wear a tie.
- Make sure suit jacket and pants match.
- Wear a white or light blue shirt to contrast with a dark suit.
- Minimize jewelry (watch, one ring per hand, avoid necklaces and earrings)
- Match belt with shoes.
- Dresses and skirts should be an appropriate length (To the knee or lower but not to ankles).
- Patterns and attire should not be too flashy. Avoid distracting patterns.
- Clothing should fit properly.
- Hair should be pulled out of face in order to not be distracting.
- Wear natural make up and nail polish.
- Always wear hose if wearing a skirt or dress and bring an extra pair in case you encounter a run.
- Carry a purse OR a briefcase, not both.
- Wear flat shoes or pumps and avoid open toe shoes.
When a recruiter invites you to dinner or lunch, it is all about making a good first impression. Follow our suggestions below to ensure it is a success.
- Review the restaurant ahead of time and wear appropriate attire.
- Look at the menu online and choose something that is not a messy meal.
- Put the location address in your phone navigation and have a paper back up of directions. Allow time for traffic and arrive early.
- Allow women to be seated first.
- Even if the recruiter orders an alcoholic beverage it does not mean it is okay for you to order one.
- If you unsure of which utensils to use, work your way from the outside in to the plate.
- Which one is your drink? Remember bread on left, drinks on right. You can hold up your fingers to make these letters as a reminder.
Quick Dining Etiquette Tips
- Eat to your left, drink to your right.
- Start with silverware farthest from your plate.
- Keep your elbow off the table.
- Never return utensils to table once used.
- Always pass the salt and pepper together.
- Butter is transferred to plate not bread.
- Taste food before seasoning it.
- Never put items or purse on the table.
- Do NOT talk with food in your mouth.
- Pass food to the right.