You have an interview. What’s next? It’s time to impress the interviewer! Read on to see how to prepare, how to be successful during your interview, and how to follow up.

Interviewing 101

Research the company and the people you will be interviewing:

  • Review the employer’s website. Check out the “About Us” section. Find the organization on social media. This information will portray what the organization wants the public to know about them.
  • Review the organization’s demographics, mission, vision, and organizational philosophy.
  • Research their products, services, clients, or customers, and stakeholders, as well as recent news. 

Resources on How to Research a company/organization:

Research the position:

  • Know what you have to offer (your strengths, abilities, interests, motivation) & how your skills and experience are relevant to the position.
  • When offered an interview, ask for the latest job description, an interview schedule, and a list of people who will be interviewing you.
  • Know which department you will be working in, the specific duties & tasks, how the role fits into the flow of the company & how it will impact the company’s bottom line.
  • Map out your way of getting to the interview the day before. Plan to arrive 15 minutes early. Give yourself buffer time to get there & if you arrive early, wait in your car or outside of the office before showing up 5-15 minutes before the interview.

  • Nervous? Before you step into the office smile a lot (smiling reduces stress). Clinch your hands & toes and release (helps relieve tension). Yawn – (decreases anxiety) – but definitely not in front of anyone!

By now you have researched the company & the position, and you know the possible types of interviews.

Now it’s time to implement these strategies for making it a successful interview.

  • When you get there – put on your “professional” hat. Be courteous to everyone you meet; don’t complain to anyone; stay positive. Be grateful to be there & show confidence with a sense of humility.
  • Shake each person’s hand when you walk into the interview room (you could have one – or a whole staff interviewing you.)
  • Give each person eye contact. If you have multiple interviewers, and only one person asks a question, be sure to give each person eye contact while you are answering. (They have decision making power, too!)

Strategies for answering interview questions:

  • Give specific examples that help paint a picture of yourself & what you have to offer.
  • Don’t just “tell” – SHOW!
  • Define the critical skills needed for the position.
  • For behavioral interviews, determine 3-5 success stories from your academic background, extracurricular activities, internships, or work experiences that demonstrate your strengths/skills/abilities to perform the tasks of the job well.

Your turn to ask questions.

  • Reiterate your interest in the position

  • Determine appropriate follow-up – Ask, “How may I follow up with you?”

  • Get business cards from interviewers – “May I please have your business card in case I have more questions?”

  • Write thank-you notes within 24 hours! It can make a difference between choosing you & the candidate who forgot.

Recommended readings:

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