Wednesday, October 8, 2014

5 Tips for Acing an Interview

The saying goes, "resumes get you the interview, but the interview gets you the job." Truer words have never been spoken. Last night I did a workshop for a sorority on campus, part of which covered interviewing techniques and tips. After the presentation, my audience had SO many questions about the interview process and it got me thinking. The interview process is, for the most part, a new and sometimes scary experience for students. Although feeling a little nervous is normal and probably inevitable (this is important stuff, after all!), it doesn't need to be scary. So, how do you make interviewing less scary, you ask? Preparation! Preparation before an interview is key. If you go in prepared, you will naturally feel more confident. There are several things you should and can do to prepare for an interview. Below is my list of preparation techniques: 

1. Do a mock interview with The Career Center. Mock interviews can help prepare you to answer those really tough interview questions. I always say its better to make a mistake with a career counselor than with an employer! Ideally, mocks should be done before you start the job/internship search. Sometimes you get a call for an interview for the next day or two which doesn't always leave much time for you to get on our calendar. If you find yourself in a pinch and in need of some practice, you can also log into PrideCMS through the portal and complete a virtual mock interview using our Mock Interview Module. 

2. Research the company and know the position description. It is critical to have significant knowledge of the company before the interview. Researching the company or organization before the interview will show effort and interest on your part and make a great impression on the hiring manager. A few ways you can research the company is by visiting their website, following them on social media such as Twitter or LinkedIn, and by going to to check out their company profile. Lastly, it is also important to review the position description and use it as a guide when preparing answers to interview questions. 

3. Have questions for the interviewer. This ties into doing research. By doing research, questions will probably naturally arise that you would want to ask about the position and about the company. Stay away from asking questions about salary, vacation time or benefits. That will be discussed if/when they make you an offer. If you need ideas on what to ask, make an appointment with a career counselor and we can brainstorm some questions you can ask. 

4. Arrive on time. Arriving late to an interview makes a terrible first impression and may cost you the job. Make sure you know how to get to the interview site before the day of the interview. You may also want to assess the parking situation or do a trail run if you are using public transportation. This may require making a trip to the site before the interview. 

5. Bring materials to show the interviewer. Some employers expect that you have a professional portfolio with you in an interview. This is especially true for creative and visual fields like graphic design. Even if your industry does not generally require a portfolio, it is not a bad idea to bring some visual examples of your prior work. This technique has the potential to set you apart from other candidates. 

Be sure to make an appointment at The Career Center to further discuss interview preparation! We are here to help! 

Kaitlyn Riley, Assistant Director

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