Interview procedures vary from employer to employer; the guidelines below should help navigate most interview situations.
Preparing for the Interview
- Research the organization’s mission, products, services and it major competitors
- Take several copies of your resume to the interview
- Prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview
- Clean and press clothes the night before the interview
- See our Dress for Success guide and Pinterest Board for information on interview attire
The Day of the Interview
- Arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the scheduled time
- Handshakes should be firm, but not too tight
During the Interview
- Follow the interviewers lead and listen carefully. You can often learn what they are looking for just by listening to what they say.
- Be yourself! It is important that you and the company are a good fit
- Turn off your cell phone!!
- Maintain good posture and eye contact as well as good grammar
- Be enthusiastic and focus on the positive, but don’t exaggerate or lie
- Your attitude and confidence will come through even over the phone
- Have your resume and the job description nearby for reference
- Use a landline whenever possible or be sure you are in an area with reliable cellular reception
- Arrange a space that is quiet where you will not be interrupted
- Never ask about salary during an interview
- Never speak negatively about a former employer, colleague or organization
- Never place anything on the interviewer's desk
- Never interrupt the interviewer
Types of interview questions:
- Direct – have a specific answer, usually a one or two lined answer
- Open Ended – do not have a specific answer, usually allow for an opportunity to expand on something and show communication skills
- Behavioral – ask about a how you handled a situation in the past
Personal or inappropriate questions – Sometimes interviewers are not aware of what they can or cannot ask in an interview. Prepare yourself to handle this kind of situation calmly. If you are asked a question you do not want to answer, you may want to try to focus on what their concern is behind the question.
After the interview
Always send a thank you note after an interview with whom you met. Before you leave the site, be sure you have the names (and proper spelling). Often a receptionist can assist you with this. Please see our Letter Guide for more information and examples.
Interviews with a meal
Occasionally, you may be asked to interview or meet over a meal. Be sure to review our Dining Etiquette guide for tips.