Interviews



"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Unknown

Interviewers choose people that their organization will invest in. It’s up to you to convince them that YOU are the best possible investment.

Interviewers need to figure you out and decide if you are a good fit with their organization, all in a very short span of time. It takes prep and practice to make sure you stand out among the multitude of other candidates. And, nothing’s more important than getting the basics right. So, as a starting point, know yourself and know the company, before you go into an interview.

Remember, the interview is a conversation. Have your answers ready and prepare some questions too. It is your chance to learn from your interviewer as much as the other way around. Find out about the company’s short-term and long-term plans, why the interviewer likes to work there and what is the job all about.

Do's

  • Do ... be familiar with the job. Read the job description again and know the job title. Ask people who have worked there about the job function and career tracks.
  • Do ... think about possible questions and prepare answers in advance.
  • Do ... carry a black portfolio with two copies of your résumé, a pen, and paper.
  • Do ... ask questions - you will get a chance to do so. Use your background prep on the organization and job to frame relevant questions. It will show that you are curious, interested in the job and pro-active.
  • Do ... send a thank you note – by email if the application was submitted online; or else by regular mail. Spell the interviewer’s name correctly!
  • Do ... your homework! Study the organization’s website. Learn its history, mission, products, and locations. Know the name of its CEO. Read recent press releases. Google for news on the company and industry. Know the company’s competitors. TMI does not apply!.
  • Do ... listen carefully and think before you respond to questions your interviewer asks.
  • Do ... wear the right clothes. Look professional. Check the dress code.
  • Do ... start your interview with a firm handshake (before you enter the room, check your hands make sure they are not cold and clammy); make eye contact; sit upright and lean slightly forward.
  • Do ... know your résumé and what you can offer. Have your story ready about how your specific education and experience add value to the job.
  • Do ... speak slowly and clearly through the interview.
  • Do ... practice! Use the mirror, record yourself, and do mock interviews with a friend or at the career center.
  • Do ... arrive on time (or a bit early). The early bird catches the worm!
  • Do ... expect the unexpected - questions on tough topics, interruptions.
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Don’ts

  • Don’t ... dress inappropriately for an interview; it is immature and disrespectful to do so. Also, being more formally dressed is better than being under-dressed.
  • Don’t ... forget to make and keep eye contact throughout the interview.
  • Don’t ... forget details from your résumé during the interview.
  • Don’t ... skirt difficult questions your interviewer asks. You can talk about mistakes in the past - it’s OK. Say what you learned from those mistakes.
  • Don’t ... forget to shake hands both at the start and at the end of the interview.
  • Don’t ... check your cell phone. Don’t even think about your cell phone. Turn it off and put it away before you go to the interview.
  • Don’t ... forget to send a thank you note PROMPTLY to the interviewer.
  • Don’t ... ask about hours, extra work or vacation time. It’s an interview – you don’t have the job yet!
  • Don’t ... over-talk or embellish the truth in an interview (or anywhere!).
  • Don’t ... lose your poise and posture as you walk OUT of the interview room.
  • Don’t ... forget to ask your interviewer what the next steps are.
  • Don’t ... go unprepared to the interview, not knowing about the organization or the job.
  • Don’t ... be late to an interview; but you also don’t need to be more than 15 minutes early.
  • Don’t ... leave without the interviewer’s business card.
  • Don’t ... slouch, cross your arms, fidget with your hair or nails, chew gum, look uninterested during the interview. It’s called body language!
  • Don’t ... badmouth past employers at an interview (or elsewhere).
  • Don’t ... forget to be responsive and available after the interview.
  • Don’t ... carry coffee, a soda or food into the interview.
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