Communicate Your Best Image
- Dress appropriately; select clothing appropriate to the job for which you are interviewing.
- Arrive on time for the interview. Plan your schedule and route so you arrive 10 to 15 minutes prior to the appointment time.
- Fill out applications, neatly and completely. Make sure there are no spelling errors.
- Bring extra copies of your resumes.
- Bring letter(s) of recommendation, reference list, copies of licenses, driving record, transcripts, etc.
- Have with you any other documentation supporting your qualifications (e.g., portfolio, work samples, etc.).
Send Good Signals
- Non-verbal, e.g., smile, posture, dress, walk, energy and eye-contact.
- Use a natural greeting, shake hands firmly but only if a hand is offered to you first.
- Show reserved confidence. Let the interviewer start the dialogue. Listen carefully. Have good questions prepared before the interview.
- Ask thoughtful questions to find out if the company's philosophy is compatible with yours. Discover if the job is right for you.
- You are willing to work. Give examples of your productivity on past jobs.
- You are committed to learning. Demonstrate this through examples of learning experiences (e.g., independent study, professional development, education, workshops, etc.). Your plan for future development also communicates your commitment to learning.
- You are flexible. Employers want employees who can adjust, work well with others and fit into a new environment without complaints or special requests. Tell a story from your experience that illustrates your flexibility.
- You expect to make a contribution. Emphasize what you can do for the company.
- Tell the employer about your skills. If you don't, no one else will! Don't make the employer work harder than you during the interview.
Handle Difficult Questions
- Welcome all questions with a smile.
- Give direct, honest answers. Take your time. Develop the answer in your head before you respond. If you don't understand a question, ask for it to be repeated or clarified. You don't have to rush, but don't be indecisive.
- Ask questions in return.
- Be prepared.
- Take the initiative - demonstrate your interest by asking when the position will be filled.
- Summarize why you are qualified. This is the time to state strengths/qualities you may have forgotten to emphasize earlier. Mention a particular accomplishment or activity that fits the job.
- If you want the job, say so!
- Don't overstay your time.
- Ask what the next step is in the hiring process. Will there be additional interviews? When do you plan to make your decision?
- Be proactive in your follow-up. Schedule the next interview. Arrange to call the employer to learn their decision.
- Send thank you letters or notes to each person with whom you interviewed (see page 66 for more information on thank you letters and notes).
- Record your follow-up plans. Write the date and time for your next contact with the employer. Be sure you follow through on these plans.
- Evaluate the interview. What went well in the interview? How can you improve?
Every interview is a learning experience. Use each interview as a building block for the next one. You may go through many before you connect with the right job! It is not what happened at the last interview that is important, but what happens at this one!