Although interviews are an essential part of the job search process, many people are bewildered by them and don’t know how to prepare in advance. By taking a positive approach, you can reduce your interview anxiety, increase your confidence and improve your chances for a successful outcome.
Start by preparing an Elevator Pitch. A personal elevator pitch is a quick summary of yourself and is particularly helpful during a job search. The elevator pitch can be a good framework as you are planning your answer to the popular interview question “tell me about yourself”.
Interview Guide - Check out this interview guide for what to do before, during and after your interview. The Interview Guide has sample interview questions, questions to ask employers, tips on behavioral interviewing and interview attire.
Tips for Phone Interviewing
Quick Tips for Interviewing
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Networking is the practice of asking everyone you can for advice and job leads. One of the most powerful job search tools you can use is networking.
Informational Interviewing is the practice of aproaching employers to set up meetings just to get to know them. Many employers are happy to meet with you to discuss their company and possible job oportunities. Always bring a copy of your resume and well researched questions to ask about their company. Also, always send an email thanking them for their time after the appointment. Check this link for more info.
- Not sure what to wear for an interview? Check with a Career Advisor. You can also visit our Career Clothing Closet, for free professional attire. Check the links below for more info.
Want one on one help with interviewing? Set up an appointment for a mock interview. Your Career Advisor will have you dress for the interview, have sample questions, and record your interview. Call 707-826-3341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
Sample Questions Used by Interviewers
Open-ended questions such as “How would you describe yourself?” and “Why should I hire you?” are opportunities to give the employer information about your skills and accomplishments.
- How would you describe yourself?
- What are your career plans? Where do you see yourself 5 or 10 years from now?
- Why do you want to work for our organization?
- What do you know about our company?
- What type of position interests you most?
- What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
- What qualifications do you possess that will make you successful in your career?
- Why did you choose your particular major and/or minor?
- Do you have plans for continued study?
- What have you enjoyed most about your past jobs? Least?
- What have you learned from your mistakes?
- What are 3 words that describe you?
- Are you willing to relocate? Travel?
- What kind of work environment do you prefer?
- What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
- What do you consider to be your strengths? Weaknesses?
Sample Questions to Ask an Employer
Always prepare for your interview by planning to ask some questions. Your questions should show your interest in the job and the employer.
(PLEASE don’t use these exactly! Make up your own!)
- What sort of person are you looking for to fill this job?
- What are the general goals for your employee development program?
- How do you view your competition?
- Would you describe your training program for me?
- What are your plans for expansion?
- What do you like most about your job/organization? Least?
- What sets your organization apart from others?
- What are have other employees done after this position?
- What are your promotional policies?
- What are your policies regarding continuing education for your employees?
- What will I do during the first year?
- What texts, equipment and methods are currently being used in the area?
- I’ve had experience (organizing programs, writing brochures, etc.). Would I be likely to use those skills in your company?
- How would you describe your company's culture?
- Why did the previous employee leave this position?
- What are the next steps in filling this position?
End of the Interview
Be sensitive to signs from the interviewer that the session is almost over. If you are still interested in the position, sum up your interest and thank the interviewer for his/her time and consideration. Be sure that you know what the next step in the process will be. Many a job has been lost because the subsequent steps were left uncertain. If you are asked to submit transcripts, references, credentials, and so forth, be sure to do so immediately.
Thank You Note
A thank you note or follow up e-mail is often expected after the interview. This reaffirms your interest in the position, adds any additional information which did not come out in the interview, and can be attached to your resume if the employer has not previously received one. Thank you notes set you apart from other applicants.
Ethics of the Interview
Making an appointment for a job interview is a commitment on your part. If you change your mind, are no longer interested in the job, or are unable to keep the appointment, cancel as early as possible. Allow the employer plenty of time to schedule an applicant to take your place.