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ICSC. The Key to Your Future. Interview Success. Internship & Career Services Center North Carolina Wesleyan College. Presentation Outline. What is an interview? Preparation Planning your interview Dress for success At the interview After the interview. What is a job interview?.

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Interview Success

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The Key to Your Future

Interview Success

Internship & Career Services CenterNorth Carolina Wesleyan College

Presentation Outline

  • What is an interview?

  • Preparation

  • Planning your interview

  • Dress for success

  • At the interview

  • After the interview

What is a job interview?

  • An opportunity to:

    • Learn details about a company and job

    • Convince an employer that you have the skills and qualities needed

    • Visit the workplace to evaluate your fit with the office culture

    • Decide whether or not you want the job

  • Can be on the phone or in person

  • One-on-one, panel, presentation



  • This very important step will allow you to answer and ask questions intelligently

    • Publicly owned (shares traded on the stock exchange)

      • Info. easy to locate

    • Corporation, subsidiary or division

      • More info. available on corporations than subsidiaries, divisions, or regional and local companies.

    • Privately or foreign owned

      • A bit more difficult to find info. but its out there

Research (continued)

  • Where can I find company information?

    • Corporate websites

      • Look for “HR” or “About”, maybe “Strategic Plan”

      • Also browse the consumer side of their site to be up on what they offer and how they present themselves

    • Newspapers

    • Libraries and Career Centers

      • May have limited and dated information

Research (continued)

  • Better Business Bureau

  • Chambers of Commerce

  • Human Resources department

  • Individuals who work there

  • Business Directories

Research (continued)

  • Look for these answers:

    • Is it for-profit or non-profit?

    • If it’s an educational institution, public or private?

    • How old is the company?

    • What types of services/products does it provide?

    • What are its competitors?

    • What kind of growth has it experienced?

    • What is its reputation?

Research (continued)

  • How many employees?

  • Are there any branch offices or is this part of a larger corporation?

  • What are its sales records, assets, and earnings?

  • What are its current goals?

  • Are they working toward any new products or projects?

Review Job Announcement

  • Look back over the original announcement, highlighting all mentions of duties and specific skills

  • Try to form a picture of the individual they are seeking

  • What is missing? Often times the announcement is vague, you will want to decide in advance what questions you have so you can ask them.

Review Your Skills

  • Match your skills with those mentioned in the announcement

    • Plan specific examples you can share that will exhibit your possession of these sills.

    • Try to recall a time you have done something similar to what they are looking for.

    • What transferable skills do you have that will be helpful in this position? Give examples.


  • Review a list of typical interview questions and anticipate how you might respond.

    • Pretend you are the interviewer. What questions would you ask?

    • Do not try to script your responses.

  • Participate in Mock Interviews with the ICSC Director.

Planning Your Interview


  • Agree to a time you know you can make. Canceling or rescheduling is a bad idea.

  • If the interview is out of town will they pay or reimburse you for travel?

  • If scheduling a phone interview be certain that you will have access to a quiet environment where you can spread your materials out in front of you.

Scheduling (continued)

  • Plan to use a land-line, if possible, for phone interviews.

  • Inquire as to who will be on the call.

  • Ask if they expect you to bring anything or prepare a presentation.

    • Even if they say no it’s great to have samples of your work on hand

  • Request an agenda of the day

    • They may have plans for you to meet with other folks in the company

  • Determine what you will wear. Do you need to have something dry cleaned?

The Night Before

  • Be certain your clothes, shoes, briefcase (or bag), and other accessories are ready

  • Plan your travel – get directions, check for road closings, and allow plenty of time for potential delays

  • Prepare your interview materials

    • Conservative pen and portfolio

    • Copies of your resume

    • Questions for the employer

  • Get a good night’s sleep!

  • Dress for Success

    General Guidelines

    • Dress conservatively

    • Sensible, practical clothes that make you look like you know how to focus on your work

    • Make sure clothes look clean and neat

    • Do not chew gum during the interview or smoke before (the smoke smell will attach to your suit)

    Women’s Appearance

    • Conservative suit color (black, grey, navy)

    • Conservative blouse color (white, ivory)

    • Appropriate neckline

    • A tailored dress or coat dress is also appropriate

    • Skirt/dress length should be between an inch above or below the knee

    • Check slip length

    • Wear hosiery

    Women’s Appearance (continued)

    • Accessories add color and variety but less is more in the interview situation

    • Heels should be around 2” height

    • Conservative shoe style and color (close toe, black, navy, taupe, brown)

    • Be aware of manicure

    • Do not carry a purse, only a professional tote or leather-bound pad

    • Wear make-up, but not too much

    Men’s Appearance

    • Fit is critical to a suit jacket and pants

    • Dark blue, grey, or black

    • Button your jacket when standing and walking, unbutton when sitting

    • A pressed, white, long-sleeved, cotton shirt

      • You should be able to fit 2 fingers between the collar and your neck

    • Silk tie in a conservative color/print

    Men’s Appearance (continued)

    • Tip of tie should reach center of belt buckle

    • Shoes should be black or brown

    • Socks should complement pant color

    • Belts – plain leather in black, 1”

    • Neatly trimmed facial hair

    • Clean nails

    • Polished shoes, no worn heels

    • Carry a brief case or leather-bound pad

    General Grooming Tips

    • Deodorant

    • Light on cologne/perfume

    • Brush your teeth, use mouthwash

    • Neat haircut

    • Polished shoes

    • Impeccably clean

    At the Interview


    • Arrive early (but not too early). 5-10 minutes is about right.

    • Be polite to everyone you meet.

    • Speak clearly and with good grammar.

    • Avoid verbal fillers (“uh”, “you know”, “like”).

    • Answer questions with examples and stories. Use humor if it seems appropriate.

    • Feel free to take down a few notes.

    Behavior (continued)

    • Food and drink - Feel free to accept if offered but drink sparingly to avoid needing the restroom. Eating may cause you to have your mouth full when needing to answer a question.

    • Visiting the restroom – avoid by doing this before arrival but if you must ask to be excused and apologize upon your return.

    • If something embarrassing happens – stay calm and laugh it off. You’ll win points for keeping composure.

    Body Language

    • Firm handshake

    • Good eye contact

    • Erect posture (slightly leaning forward)

    • Relaxed and confident

    • Small facial/hand gestures

    • Avoid fidgeting

    • Smile

    • Be enthusiastic

    • Swallow yawns

    What Not To DO

    • Don’t…

      • Be late

      • Ask about money

      • Criticize prior job or boss

      • Lie (better to say you don’t know an answer)

      • Slouch

      • Cross your legs

      • Interrupt

      • Feel obligated to answer illegal questions

    After the Interview

    Evaluation & Action

    • Immediately make notes

      • What do you still have questions about?

      • What are the pros of the company/position?

      • What are the cons of the company/position?

      • How do you feel about your performance in the interview?

      • What could you improve on next time?

    • Complete any follow-up instructions given to you by the employer

    • Send a thank you letter to the employer within 24 hours (example)

    Thank You Letters

    • Express appreciation for the interview and meeting the individual.

    • Comment on things that were mentioned in the interview.

      • If the employer had mentioned a current problem, remind them of ways you can help.

    • If there was something relevant you forgot to say in the interview, mention it here.

    • Express your interest in working at the company and that you look forward to hearing from them.

    • Example

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