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Interviewing Guide

The interview is the stage in the job-search process where hiring decisions are actually made. If you have an interview for a job or internship, you have obviously impressed an employer with your qualifications. Your goal during the interview is to use the knowledge you have gained about yourself and the organization to convince the interviewer that your qualifications match the employer’s needs. It is essential to be prepared by researching the company, anticipating and practicing questions, and preparing questions to ask during your interview.

Step 1

Research

How well you have researched the company demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm and is a critical factor in the interview process.

What to research:

  • Recent press releases and news articles
  • History and potential growth of employer and industry
  • Annual sales for past years compared to industry trends
  • Company products, services, clients
  • Organizational structure
  • Location(s)
  • Employer’s major competitors
  • Use of technology
  • Annual reports
  • Company mission/vision

Where to research:

  • Company organization website
  • Internet search engines
  • Professors
  • Your network
  • Newspaper articles/industry journals
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Step 2

Prepare

It is essential to understand and articulate what the skills and qualifications you have to offer, as they relate to the position and organization. 
  • Know your skills and talents. 
  • Understand areas of improvement. 
  • Know your résumé and the job description inside and out. 
  • Create a list of 5-10 “selling points” related to the position and the organization. 
  • Understand and practice using the Problem Action Result (PAR) technique. For examples of PAR questions and answers, view the Interviewing & Thank-You Note Guide (PDF).
  • Dress for success by planning your interviewing attire. 
  • Map out your interview destination and know where you’re going, and how long it will take to get there. 
  • Items to bring to an interview: directions to the interview site, padfolio, name(s) and title(s) of interviewer(s), extra copies of your résumé, references, portfolio (if applicable), a writing utensil, copy of position description, business cards and bottle of water. 
  • Prepare questions to ask the employer to show your interest in the position or organization. For examples of interview questions, view the Interviewing & Thank-You Note Guide (PDF).

Step 3

Practice 

Step 4

During the Interview 
  • Arrive 10 minutes early.
  • Give a firm handshake.
  • Show enthusiasm and confidence.
  • Keep a positive attitude about former employers, supervisors and co-workers.
  • Be aware of your body language.
  • Avoid slang, profanity, lying, and filler words such as “um,” “like,” “ah” and “you know.” 
  • Do not inquire about salary, bonuses or benefits in your first interview.
  • Remember to ask questions to show your interest.
  • Ask the interviewer when you can expect to hear back from them.
  • Express your interest in the position and thank the interviewer for their time.
  • Ask for a business card from each interviewer to ensure you have their name and address so you can send a thank-you note.

Step 5

After the Interview
  • Send a thank-you note or email within 2 business days; send a separate, individualized note to each person who interviewed you.
  • Evaluate your performance to address areas for improvement.
  • If one to two weeks has elapsed since the date the interviewer said they would make contact, it is appropriate to make a follow-up call to express your interest in the position.
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