The interview is the most crucial part of the job search process. Preparation is key!
- First the basics: Company size, location(s), history – how long in business, mergers?
- Who is their competition?
- Who are their clients / customers? What is their product? What service do they provide?
- Read their mission or value statement.
- What is the culture of the organization?
- CEO / President, managers, department chairs
- Read employee bios – Look them up on LinkedIn and Twitter
- New and recent events. Website may have press release section – if not, Google them.
- Start following the company or organization on social media…LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
PRACTICE! Big Interview
- Prepare answers to the most commonly asked interview questions.
- Practice answering specific behavioral interview questions.
- Have questions ready to ask interviewer.
Psychology of an Interview
A good interview is not a one-way conversation. It is a dynamic interaction between employers and job hunters to determine whether they can work together.
From the employer's standpoint, their goal is to find people who have the skills and personality to fit the company's culture and contribute.
You are a capable person with strengths and skills to sell, and your goal is to find out what the employer really needs, then tailor your responses accordingly.
It’s all about building rapport and listening skills.
Use the STAR method when answering questions, specifically behavioral interview questions.
Situation: Sets the stage for the interviewer by providing an overview of the situation and any relevant background information. Be specific and succinct.
Task: What goal were you working toward?
Action: Describe the actions you took to address the situation. What specific steps did you take and what was your particular contribution?
Result: Describe the outcome of your actions and don't be shy about taking credit for your behavior. Your answer may contain multiple positive results.
Questions to Ask the Interviewer
- What qualities are you looking for in the successful candidate?
- Who would I be reporting to and working with most frequently?
- What current challenges are facing the department/organization?
- What new projects or goals does the department/organization currently have?
- What professional development opportunities are available within the organization?
- How would you describe the most successful employees in this organization?
- What is the selection timeline for this position?
Follow up! A thank-you note should be sent the following day. An email is acceptable, but a hard copy adds a nice touch, which could differentiate you from other candidates. Be sure to reiterate your interest and enthusiasm for the position.
Interview Check List
- Have you tried on your interview outfit to make sure everything fits and is comfortable?
- Have you reviewed your resume and professional references?
- Do you have copies of your resume, references, and letters of recommendation?
- Do you have a portfolio available to put your resumes and questions in?
- Have you researched the company and people you are interviewing with?
- Have you developed questions to ask the interviewer?
- Have you practiced some common interview questions?
- Have you reviewed the different interview types?
- Do you have the address and contact information of the people you are interviewing with?
- Do you have directions and parking information?
- Do you have extra money available for parking and or transportation?
- Do you have mints available for before the interview?
- Do you have the appropriate weather gear (boots, umbrella etc.)?
- Did you turn your cell phone off before the interview?
- Did you arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview?
- Be confident, be yourself and smile.
Get more interviewing tips from Career Services, and work through Big Interview.
Big Interview allows you to learn about interviewing by watching instructional videos. After learning about interviewing, you can then practice by recording yourself answering questions. These recordings will help you to learn what you’re doing well and what you need to improve before your interview day.