It has been said that the Interview is the great equalizer. Why? Because the interview gives you the opportunity to represent you. No longer is your resume speaking for you, no longer are your transcripts or references standing in your place. You are now standing in your own place and it's you against the other candidates. This page is designed to give you some quick tips on how to represent yourself.
Preparing for the Interview
1. Attitude is Everything
It has been said, "that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Your attitude and how you present yourself is what people will remember about you. Have the attitude that each opportunity to interview is a privilege.
2. Have a Practice Interview
There is little that can be done to relieve interview "jitters" but a practice interview is definitely something that can help. It's not enough to know the answers but have never verbalized them. You must have the opportunity to answers questions live, and be critiqued by a professional. See Jared Stark in the Career Center if you would like to go through a practice interview.
3. Research the Company
If you know someone on the inside, it's okay to use them to attain information as long as you don't act covertly. Employers will respect your researching their company because it shows you are thorough. Ask about the day-to-day activities of the company, the history, or the interview process. Search for tips that can give you an edge. You can much more candid responses in these conversations than the actual interview.
4. Understand their Mission
Check the company's website and other materials, what are their purposes and mission statements? If you can shock your interviewer with knowledge of their mission and values they will know that you can be a key contributor in their company. Any piece of literature or information that you can attain will give you more insight into what your possible employers are all about. It's your future, so invest in it by knowing what it is that you are walking into.
During the Interview
1. Dress for Success
There's a reason this is such a well-known adage - because it's true! You need to look like you care about getting the job by paying attention to details such as shining your shoes or polishing jewelry. Here are some helpful hints on what to wear.
Men and Women
Conservative two-piece business suit (solid dark blue or grey is best) Conservative long-sleeved shirt/blouse (white is best, pastel is next best) Clean, polished conservative shoes
Clean, trimmed fingernails
Minimal cologne or perfume
Empty pockets--no bulges or tinkling coins
No gum, candy or cigarettes
Light briefcase or portfolio case
No visible body piercing (nose rings, eyebrow rings, etc.)
Necktie should be silk with a conservative pattern
Dark shoes (black lace-ups are best)
Dark socks (black is best)
Get a haircut; short hair always fares best in interviews
No beards (unless you are interviewing for a job as a lumberjack!) Mustaches are a possible negative, but if you must, make sure it is neat and trimmed
No rings other than wedding ring or college ring
No earrings (if you normally wear one, take it out)
Always wear a suit with a jacket; no dresses
Shoes with conservative heels
Conservative hosiery at or near skin color (and no runs!)
No purses, small or large; carry a briefcase instead
If you wear nail polish (not required), use clear or a conservative color. Minimal use of makeup (it should not be too noticeable)
No more than one ring on each hand
One set of earrings only
2. Use Good Non-Verbal Communication
Use Good eye-contact, your facial expression should be a genuine smile, maintain good posture whether you are standing or sitting, use calm gestures and respect other people's personal space. There a million little non-verbal clues that can be applied, some are more prominent than others. My advice if you are interested, do some personal research on it.
3. Show and Tell
When appropriate it is beneficial to bring examples of projects or samples of your work. This way, you are not just talking about your capabilities are but you are proving them with evidence. Bringing something that you can leave behind will also give the rest of the office to investigate your work, not only the interviewer and your name will stick out in their minds more because you have left a product with them. Make sure, if you do leave a project, that it is of high quality.
After the Interview
1. Don't Assume
Don't assume that they know you want the job just because you are interviewing for it. Make it known, if you are truly interested in the job, that you want it. Fewer than 1% of all college students actually ask for the job they are interviewing for. Set yourself apart by voicing clear interest in the position.
2. Make a clear statement of thanks
Make a clear statement of thanks for the opportunity to interview. Let them know you appreciate all of their time and have enjoyed the opportunity to learn about their company or business
3. Know the next step
A lot of people walk out the door not knowing what the next step in the process is; is there a second interview, is someone going to call? If an employer doesn't offer what the next step will be, ask. It will prove your interest in vigor to get started right away if called upon.
4. Letters of Thanks
For some interviews these are appropriate but not for all. Give this some thought before you do it and make sure your thanks are professional in nature if you decided to proceed.