Ace Your Interview
An interview allows you the opportunity to convince a potential employer that you fit the organization's culture and have the skills, knowledge and experience for the position. A successful interview is highly dependent upon preparation! Follow the steps below to maximize your opportunity.
Before The Interview
- Research the career industry and organization. Lack of knowledge of the field and organization are consistently cited as a reason candidates do not advance in interviews. To stand out amongst the less-prepared candidates, you should first utilize resources such as Vault, Wetfeet, LinkedIn, trade or business publications for an overview of the organization and industry. Be sure to check recent news headlines about the company and read recent press release for insights. You should also perform a detailed review of the organizations website which includes reading their mission statement and researching their products, services, clients and any case studies available. Consider reaching out to individuals in your network who are familiar with the organization to better understand their culture.
- Compare your skills and qualifications to the job requirements. Review your resume! Your resume is often a source of interview questions. Be able to expand on each item on your resume and connect your experiences to the job/organization. Make sure to analyze the job description and outline any tasks you will be responsible for along with the knowledge, skills and abilities required to carry out your duties. Understanding where the position fits within the structure of the organization is critical
- Develop your interviewing skills. Meet with a Greene Center counselor for a mock interview. Most interviews involve a combination of resume-based behavioral questions. Practice telling your story and prepare responses for commonly asked questions.
- Prepare. Know your way to the interview location and arrive at least 10 minutes early. You should confirm things like time and location in advance. Be sure to dress professionally and bring copies of your resume and cover letters, along with any other pertinent application materials. Bring a padfolio or professional binder along with pen and paper to take notes. Many interviews will end with "Do you have any questions?". Have a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the organization or position based on your research. The Greene Center has an Interview Preparation Worksheet available to help guide you through the preparation process.
During The Interview
Have an open and positive attitude from the onset. Greet the employer with a firm handshake while making appropriate eye contact. You should express confidence through your body language - nonverbal communication is just as important as your interview responses. Be aware of eye contact, posture, hand gestures and facial expressions while remaining attentive. If you need clarification on a question or subject during the interview, simply ask! Use the interviewers' names and develop a rapport while you communicate your excitement and motivation towards the position you are interviewing for. It is a good idea to collect business cards from your interviewers, or at least make note of the correct spelling of their names
On the flip side, you should never exaggerate or lie about your qualifications. It is also a bad idea to talk negatively about previous employers or colleagues. While you should exude confidence, be careful to not dominate the conversation or come off as arrogant/casual with someone you do not have a rapport with. When answering questions, try to provide details instead of generic, scripted answers. Lastly - do not ask about salary or benefits before you receive an offer.
After The Interview
Be sure to follow up with a thank-you email within 24 hours to all of those with whom you met. Notes should personalize your experience, reiterate your qualifications, and declare an interest in the next stages of the selection process. You should also perform a post-interview analysis. Take note of positive experiences and any areas you might want to improve upon.