FIVE-STEP INTERVIEW PREP
Research and Investigate
- The organization; its culture, economic conditions, structure, history, and purpose/mission.
- The position; the requirements and duties, prepare intelligent questions; develop 3-5 questions ahead of time and have them written down.
- The industry; be prepared to discuss current issues and trends.
Review Your Responses
- Assess yourself; make a list of strengths, abilities, and experiences that relate to the job.
- Determine major points you want to stress in the interview; how you will “sell” yourself.
- Identify three reasons for selecting this job and/or employer.
- List three assets you have which you feel will interest the employer.
Study your resume
- Review your resume as it fits the position.
- nticipate questions or issues that might arise.
- Solidify travel arrangements for the interview.
- Choose your outfit; project a professional image, be comfortable (not casual), dress conservatively.
- Gather appropriate paperwork: resume (bring 2-3 copies – make sure they match the resume that was submitted to employer), a completed application (if requested), references (a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers and/or letters of recommendation), and, in some fields, a portfolio (samples of your work).
Practice, Practice, Practice
- Practice responses to potential interview questions; answers should be a brief, results-oriented view of your experience and skills.
- Watch yourself in front of a mirror.
- Participate in a mock-interview at the Career Development Center.
INTERVIEW TYPESThere are various types of interviews which depend on the employer, the job, the situation, and your position in the interview process. Following are several basic types of interviews:
Employment InterviewThe most familiar is the employment interview. The focus of this face-to-face meeting is to determine whether the applicant’s qualifications meet the employer’s needs and vice-versa.
Phone InterviewEmployers use this opportunity to screen the applicant. They ask detailed questions about the applicant’s background, skills, and professional interests which may not be covered or to expand upon information in either the resume or cover letter. It also gives the employer the chance to inspect the applicant’s phone etiquette and behavior.
Panel InterviewThe applicant typically meets with two or more company representatives at the same time. The advantage is that the applicant is able to meet more than one person at one time, the disadvantage is that it can be intimidating – just remember you are not alone, others interviewing for the job have to go through this as well. Make eye contact with each interviewer, don’t get caught focusing on only one person.
Group InterviewThis allows multiple individuals (interviewees) to meet with one employer. It may sound easier because there is more than one applicant involved. However, in this situation, the applicants are doing the majority, if not all, of the work. The employer typically instructs the applicants to interact and/or interview each other.
Informational InterviewThe Informational Interview is not an Employment Interview – this interview is initiated by the job seeker. The purpose of this interview is to gain information about a certain career or company rather than to pursue a position within a certain organization. The applicant is responsible for making the initial contact with the employer and running the actual interview. The great thing about the Informational Interview is that the applicant has the opportunity to ask just about anything, even questions about salary and benefits, which are considered taboo in initial Employment Interviews. At the very least, the Informational Interview broadens the applicant’s professional network. It could also lead to an Employment Interview and a possible job offer.
INTERVIEW STAGESFollowing are several stages that applicants typically go through during an employment interview:
- Breaking the Ice
- Getting acquainted
- Small talk to make each other feel comfortable
- General Information Gathering
- Employer asks questions to expand on information given in resume
- Employer surveys the applicant’s background, goals, and areas of interest
- Stay relaxed and involved
- Be positive throughout
- Applicant directs employer to her/his strengths and how they relate to the needs and goals of the company
- Applicant asks specific questions about the responsibilities of the job and articulates how his/her abilities and background match.
- DON’T talk about money or benefits before they do!
- Don’t let the interviewer talk the entire time
- Employer summarizes the company’s needs and goals, confirms applicant’s interest in the job, discusses next phase of the search process
- Applicant summarizes strengths that fit the employer’s needs, confirms any follow-up meetings, and asks for the interviewer’s information/business card
- Follow-Up – (Don’t neglect this step)
- Applicant sends a thank you letter (no later than 24 hours after the interview) to the employer indicating continued interest and highlighting strengths
- Applicant calls the employer 1-2 weeks after sending the thank-you letter to inquire about the status of the position.
Download the complete Interviewing Guide (PDF)