Interviewing & Professional Dress
Your job during an interview is to sell yourself. There are a few steps that can help you during this process, and presenting yourself as a prepared and qualified individual will have a strong, positive impact on your candidacy.
Steps for a Successful Interview
Know who you are and what you have to offer. Here are some things you’ll want to think about.
- Your career objectives
- Personal qualifications
- Interests, values, skills
- Reasons for your career choice
- Examples of experiences (challenges, accomplishments, etc.)
- Geographical concerns (are you willing to re-locate?)
- Know your resume!
Know the Company
It is important to conduct research on the organization prior to the interview. Review the company website, but don’t stop there!
Company Research Resources
Dress Professionally and Look the Part
A business suit is usually the best and safest way to go for both men and women. Dark colors are most appropriate (black, dark blue, gray) and a white shirt for men with a tie and a white blouse for women. You will want to bring extra resumes and copies of your reference page.
It is best to arrive 15-20 minutes early for an interview. Never be late!
Practice standard interview questions
There are some questions that you will be asked in most interviews. Preparing for common interview questions will help you build confidence for the interview. The following are some examples of common questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What qualifications do you have that will make you successful in this position?
- What do you like about our company/organization?
- What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
- What interests you about our product or services?
- Why should we hire you?
- What is the last book that you have read?
Prepare for Behavior Based Questions Using the STAR Method
Based on the idea that what you have done in the past is a predictor of your future workplace behavior, the interviewer will be asking behavioral based questions. In answering these questions the interviewer will be expecting specific examples of a Situation/Task, Action, and Result (STAR).
- Sample Behavior Based Interview Questions
- Organizational skills: Tell me about a big project you had to plan for school or work.
- Ability to set priorities: Describe a situation when you had several things to do in a limited time, such as study for exams.
- Ability to delegate: Tell me about a big project you were in charge of and had to let others help you.
- Interpersonal skills: Tell me about a time when you have had to deal with members of the public.
- Being a team player: Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a group problem.
- Ability to deal with people: Tell me about a time when you had to work closely with someone in a position above (or below) you.
Have several questions prepared to ask the interviewer! Three or four is usually a good number. Some examples of questions to ask about are:
- What kind of training will I receive?
- What kinds of growth and development opportunities are available?
- What is a typical day like in the position?
- What do you like best about your job/company/organization?
- Is there a lot of team/project work?
- What is the company culture like?
Do not ask about money during the interview. Let the employer initiate the conversation and be prepared to discuss your total compensation package.
Research the average salaries of professionals in your field.
Know what may be included in your total compenstation package.
- Education and training
- Expenses (ex. commuting costs)
- Equipment (ex. laptop, cell phone)
Send a Thank You Note
A thank you note is one of the surefire ways to make yourself memorable and let someone know their time was valued after a networking meeting, function, or interview.
- Always write (e-mail is fine) within twenty-four hours of your phone call or interview
- Get the names right and spell all names correctly!
- Remind them why you’re contacting them
- Thank them in specific terms. Reference an element of your conversation.
- Keep it short and focused
- Attach a business card or copy of your resume, if appropriate
- View Sample Thank You Note
- Arrive early
- Dress professionally
- Start with a good handshake, and introduce yourself
- Maintain good eye contact
- Pay attention to body language – control nervous habits
- Be positive (don’t “trash” previous employers or companies)
- Make sure you know the interviewer’s name and pronounce it correctly
- Research on the company
- Express ideas clearly
- Ask good questions about the job
- Express enthusiasm in the company/industry/field