The purpose of an interview is to build a favorable impression and clearly communicate to an employer the value you will bring to the company. It is an exchange of information: namely yours (your education, experience, related skills) and theirs (job details, corporate culture). Successful interviewing is a skill that is developed through preparation and practice.
Know what you want to say about yourself. You do not control the questions the employers will ask, but you do control the content of your answers!
- Review your résumé and know what you want to say about your experiences, skills, education, and other qualifications.
- Connect your skills and knowledge with the needs of the company or requirements of the job.
Research the company/organization. Taking the time to learn about the company shows you are interested in working for the organization, helps you stand out from other job seekers, and assists you in identifying the skills you have that will make you a valuable employee.
What type of data to gather?
- Information on the products, services, or clients
- History of the company and/or organizational culture
- Mission and goals
- Upcoming events / promotions / newsworthy happenings
- Financial statistics
How to conduct the research?
- Company's website
- Online sites such as Hoovers.com, standardandpoors.com, vault.com, guidestar.com, glassdoor.com and newslink.org
- Google the company
- Talk with people who work there – alumni, friends, family, social networking connections.
Dress for Success. First impressions are critical in a job interview, so dress professionally. See ACA's Dress for Success guide for more information. Professional dress can vary by industry, but in general:
- Women: wear a business suit or skirt/dress pants with a blouse and jacket.
- Men: wear a business suit or pants with a shirt, tie and jacket.
Try on your clothes ahead of time to ensure that they still fit and are clean. You don't want discomfort or embarrassment to distract you from the interview.
Think about, research, or ask others about the types of questions employers will ask during an interview.
- Speak with Career Advising staff, your faculty, internship supervisors, and others you know who work within the industry related to the job for which you are interviewing. Search online for typical interview questions based on job, industry or company.
Prepare questions related to the job, which you will ask at the end of the interview.
- Have 5 to 10 questions prepared, although you may not ask all of them or some may be answered during the interview.
- Don't be late for the interview.
- Know the location of the interview and how long it will take you to get there.
- Print extra copies of your résumé to bring to the interview.
- The initial interview may be conducted by phone. The general preparation for a phone interview is the same as an in-person interview.
Start answering typical interview questions and those specific/common to the job field
- Do mock interviews with Career Advising staff, alumni, family, or friends.
- Answer questions out loud to yourself. It is good to think about how you will answer questions, but even better to practice verbalizing those answers.
- Get feedback on speech patterns (uh's, ummm's) and speed (too fast?), as well as word choice (too many "greats"?).
- Don't memorize responses to standard questions – you want to sound prepared, not packaged.
- Your handshake should be firm, not limp, but not so hard that it breaks bones!
- Send a thank you note. This can be done through e-mail or snail mail, but must be sent out immediately after the interview.
- Do not be late for the interview
- Do your homework - research the organization and job requirements
- Be honest
- Listen to the question being asked and answer with confidence
- Never speak negatively about others or former employers
- Make eye contact
- Turn your cell phone off during the interview
- Believe in yourself and project confidence in your abilities
Contact Academic and Career Advising
Academic and Career Advising Office
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435