Know How to Interview

As you search for a job, your networking contacts will help you to find job leads which will turn into interviews.

Interview Tips

Setting Up Job Interviews
Think about what you are going to say before you pick up the phone to call an employer.

  • You will have about 20 seconds to make the employer want to meet you. Therefore, what you say has to be brief, to the point, and persuasive. 
Prepare for an Interview
  • Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. You may be required to fill out paperwork before the interview.
  • Go by yourself. If a friend or relative drives you, have them wait in the car.
  • Dress professionally. It should fit the job for which you are interviewing.
  • Bring your sense of humor and smile.
What to Bring to an Interview
  • Extra copies of your résumé, your reference list, and examples of your work.
  • Papers needed to complete your application. This includes copies of work licenses, your driving record (if required), and your social security or immigration cards.
  • Questions you may want to ask during the interview.  
During the Interview
  • Display confidence. Shake hands firmly, but only if a hand is offered to you first.
  • Sit up close to the table with hands on the table.
  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Let the interviewer start the conversation.
  • Listen carefully. Give honest, direct and concise answers. (PAR or STAR method)
  • Accept all questions with a smile, even the hard ones.
  • Think about your answers in your head before you talk. If you don't understand a question, ask to hear it again or for it to be reworded. You don't have to rush, but you don't want to appear indecisive. 


Interview Preparation
An interview is just a conversation. You want to find out what they need, and they want to learn what you can do. Tell them how it is you can do that, and make sure they heard you. 
Research: Look at the company’s website.
  • What do they do?
  • What do they value?
  • Google them to see if there is any recent news regarding them.
  • Look at the position.  
Review Your Work History
  • What experience that you have relates to this position? Focus on these things in the interview. Everything else is extraneous.
  • For each position, answer the following: what did you do, what did you like most, what did you like least, why did you move on?
  • Look at any gaps, and think about any jobs you did not leave simply for a better opportunity. Why did you leave?
  • Is there any experience in the job description that is not reflected on your résumé or application? Be prepared to tell what you DO have that relates to this item. If you don’t know what a term in the job description or posting means, Google it. Ask people you know for help.  
Prepare for the Most Common Questions
  1. Tell me About Yourself: This consists of what in your background fits this position and this company. End with, “And that’s why I’m excited to be talking about this position with you today.”
  2. What are your three greatest strengths? Give an example of each.
  3. What is your greatest weakness?
  4. What is an accomplishment of which you are most proud?
  5. How much are you looking to earn?
  6. Why should I hire you?  
Prepare for Behavioral Questions
Most interviews are behaviorally based. You answer the questions using the PAR technique.
P- Tell the Problem VERY briefly. They understand there was a problem, don’t build it up or spend time proving it.
A- What action did you take?
R- What was the result?
  • Prepare five stories, using the PAR technique to highlight your strengths, an accomplishment, and a time something didn’t go your way or you weren’t getting along with someone.
  • Most people forget to tell the result. Remember end on the positive!  
Get Ready for the Interview
  • Put out your clothes tonight and shine your shoes.
  • Make sure you know how to get there, and take the contact information of the interviewer with you.  
End Well
  • At the end of the interview, let them know the fit you see there, and ask for the job, or what the next step is.
  • Make sure to get their business card(s).
  • Send a thank you note within 24 hours.  


Some Reasons Why People Don't Get Hired After an Interview
  • Application form or résumé is incomplete or sloppy
  • Arriving late for the interview
  • Didn’t ask questions about the job
  • Failure to express appreciation for interviewer's time
  • Lack of interest and enthusiasm
  • Lack of maturity
  • Lack of planning for career; no purpose and no goals
  • Negative attitude about past employers
  • Nervousness or lack of confidence and poise
  • No genuine interest in the company or job
  • Overemphasis on money
  • Overly aggressive behavior
  • Poor personal appearance
  • Responding vaguely to questions
  • Unwillingness to accept an entry-level position

Follow-up after the interview.

Send a thank-you letter or note to each person who interviewed you. Your letter should have these main ideas:

  • Thank them for their time.
  • Say you are interested in working for them.
  • Briefly say why you are qualified for the job.
  • Give any information that you forgot to say in the interview.
  • Add a final "thank you" for the chance to interview.
  • Send within 24 hours of the interview.

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