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Job Search: Interviewing


Preparation

  • It is very important to practice. You can practice with a friend, career counselor or whomever you trust. Be sure to have them ask you questions as if you were in the interview. You can also practice in front of the mirror, tape yourself or simply talk out loud.
  • Practice will give you a chance to think through your answer, visualize the process, clarify the points you would like to make, hopefully decrease some of your nervousness, and prevent some unnecessary mistakes.
  • Get an itinerary ahead of time that shows the names and titles of people you will meet with during the day.
  • Read as much as you can about the company or university, including the people who you will meet with.

What to Wear

  • Wear a suit. The more conservative and classic, the better.
  • Use simple, non-descript jewelry.
  • Do not wear perfume or cologne as it can distract or disturb your interviewers.

What to Bring With You

  • Several copies of your resume/CV. Use white or cream inexpensive bond quality paper (the watermarked paper that is slightly heavier in weight) as it is easier to read.
  • A copy of your references.
  • A list of at least five questions regarding the position. List them in order of importance in case there is only time for a few to be asked in the interview. The questions will help assist you to determine if the position will be a good fit and/or demonstrate your interest in the position.
  • A pad of paper and pen to take notes (optional).
  • Portfolio or briefcase to hold a pad of paper, a pen, directions, copy of your references and a list of questions for the interviewer(s).

Upon Arrival

  • Arrive early- about 10 to 15 minutes before your appointment.
  • Go to the restroom to check your appearance one last time.
  • Smile, make eye contact and check-in with the receptionist in a professional manner. If they are not formally part of the search committee, they are likely to be informally.
  • Stand and smile while greeting your interviewer(s) with a firm handshake. Make eye contact and use names when introduced.

In the Interview

  • Be yourself.
  • Remember to breathe and think through the questions that are being asked as well as ask for a moment to think, if a question is difficult.
  • Use eye contact and speak to the individual to whom is asking the question(s). Make sure to include the other interviewers with your eye contact as to not leave anyone out of your discussion.
  • Be aware of your body language for example crossed arms, foot tapping, playing with a pen, etc.
  • Think about what you are saying. Describe your strengths and assets as well as provide relevant examples. Be clear about what you can bring to the company or university.
  • Never say anything negative about a previous employer or a former colleague.
  • Raising salary questions in an interview will send the wrong signals. Let your interviewers bring up this subject first.
  • Thank the interviewer and determine what the next steps are in the interview process. Ask the interviewers for their business cards. It is important to obtain their contact information to send a follow-up letter as well as the correct spelling of their names and titles of the individuals with whom you met.

After the Interview

  • Take notes on your interview regarding your thoughts about the environment, information you learned, and any further questions you may have. These notes can assist you in preparation for a second interview as well as information on whether the position may or may not be a good fit for you.
  • Write a follow-up thank-you letter as soon as possible. Email is okay but a hard copy is best.
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Page Updated 08/07/2014