Preparing for Interviews
Being prepared for the interview is the number-one way to calm your nerves. The employer has seen your resume and cover letter and is interested enough to want to meet you – you’ve already made the first cut. Remember that the interviewer is trying to find out if you are a good fit for the position and the organization. Give him or her reasons to say ‘yes’!
- Research – find out everything you can about the organization. The interviewer will be able to tell if you’ve done your homework. The more you know the more interested and motivated you will appear. It also shows the employer that you’re ready to hit the ground running.
- Network – if you got the interview through networking, use that to make a personal connection with the interviewer. Try to do this early on–it will help you to feel like the interview is more like a conversation and you’ll feel more at ease.
- Resume and cover letter – if you’ve gotten the interview, chances are the employer has already seen your resume but you should bring a copy of them with you to the interview, especially if you’ve got a more up-to-date version of your resume.
- List of skills – before the interview, make a list of your skills and abilities. These are what will make you an asset to your future employer; use the list to put yourself in a positive frame of mind and help you “sell” yourself to the interviewer. Your portfolio is a great starting point for this list, since it sums up your experience and interests.
- Practice – the Career Services Network offers practice interviews with employers throughout the year. Check Handshake for dates and times to sign up. Another way to practice is to videotape a practice interview with a friend. Watch the tape to see how you appear to an interviewer. Although this can be uncomfortable, it’s a great way to test your ability to answer common interview questions and get prompt feedback on your body language and speech patterns.
- Another way to practice your interview skills is to use InterviewStream. You will need a webcam to record a practice interview response to the questions provided. Simply play back to see how you are doing or send the recorded practice interview to an adviser or parents for input. It’s pretty easy to use! If you do not have access to a webcam, stop into career services office and record your practice interview there.
- Arrive late or appear rushed or disorganized.
- Seem over-eager and desperate.
- Apologize for your background or experience.
- Criticize your past employers or co-workers in any way.
- Ask questions that you know the answers to.
- Oversell your qualities.
- Ask about salary and job benefits before you have a solid job offer.
- Elaborate on unnecessary details to fill an awkward silence.
- Wear unusual clothes or heavy cologne; always be very conservative.