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Successful Interviewing. Iona College Center for Career Services. Why are Interviews Conducted?. Meet the candidate first-hand. Probe for detailed information about the candidate. Determine the candidates suitability for the position and organization.

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Successful interviewing l.jpg

Successful Interviewing

Iona College

Center for Career Services

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Why are Interviews Conducted?

  • Meet the candidate first-hand.

  • Probe for detailed information about the candidate.

  • Determine the candidates suitability for the position and organization.

  • Where appropriate, sell the job and the organization.

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Preparing for the Interview

  • Research the organization

  • Know yourself

  • Practice interviewing

  • Dress appropriately

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Conduct Thorough Research

  • Research both the position and organization.

  • Visit the company website to learn more about it’s mission, culture, job openings, and media news.

  • Know who you are interviewing with –individual(s) or a panel and the approximate length of the interview.

  • Know geographic directions and take a dry run if necessary.

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Know How to Market Yourself

  • Assess your strengths including skills, knowledge, and personal traits.

  • Determine how your strengths match the employer’s needs and how they will benefit the organization.

  • Review your resume and be able to discuss in-depth. Be aware of red flags in your resume i.e. lack of G.P.A., limited work history or activities.

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Practice Makes Perfect

  • Practice with Career Services Staff and schedule a mock interview.

  • Recognize your strengths in interviewing and what you need to improve upon.

  • Work on challenging areas through practice with a friend or with yourself in front of a mirror.

  • Obtain sample questions and prepare your responses (see Career Services for on-line sample questions and handouts.

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How to Dress?

  • Dress appropriately: a suit is always appropriate and is the norm for business.

  • Don’t make the mistake of dressing too casual even if the company dress code is business casual.

  • Accessories and makeup should not be overstated.

  • Hair should be neat and clothes pressed.

  • What you wear won’t get you hired but the wrong attire/presentation will often screen you out.

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Typical Interview Structure

  • Introduction

  • Interviewer asks detailed questions

  • Candidate asks questions

  • Closing & summary

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Introductions Count

  • Employers form first impressions early on.

  • Greet the interviewer with enthusiasm and a firm handshake.

  • Be personable and prepared to “make small talk”.

  • Be polite to support staff (their input matters).

  • First impressions can affect the rest of the interview.

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Non-Verbal FactorsMatter

  • Be aware of your non-verbal habits and expressions.

  • Maintain good eye contact, posture, and positive expressions i.e. smiling or hand gestures where appropriate.

  • Avoid fidgeting and nervous expressions.

  • Do a practice interview to assess problem areas and make improvements.

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Verbal Factors

  • Use proper grammar and communicate in a professional manner.

  • Reflect confidence in your voice tone.

  • Try avoiding “ums” and “you knows”.

  • Know geographic directions and take a dry run if necessary.

  • Stay focused on answering the questions in a specific and succinct way.

  • Ask for clarification if you are not sure what the interviewer wants.

  • Choose responses and verbal statements that promote you.

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Answering Interviewer Questions

  • Be preparedto talk about yourself:


    -Personal Traits




    -Work Values

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Answering Interviewer Questions

  • Organize your answers to commonly asked questions.

  • Try to look at the question behind the question-what is the interviewer looking for?

  • Prepare by practicing responses that reflect your strengths.

  • Practice giving examples from classroom work, extracurricular, volunteering or life experiences.

  • Be prepared for questions asking for more details than you have already given.

  • Don’t be afraid to “sell yourself”.

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Examples of Common Questions

  • Why do you want to work for our organization?

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • Why should we hire you?

  • What are your strengths (and weaknesses)?

  • How did you choose your college and major?

  • What are your short-term and long-term career goals?

  • What makes you a unique candidate for this position?

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New Techniques in Interviewing

  • Many employers use Behavioral Interviewing questions.

  • Behavioral Interviewing focuses questions on past performance.

  • The basic premise is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

  • Employers will probe to solicit specific examples and to get details on how you conducted yourself in a particular situation.

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Examples of Behavioral Interviewing Questions

  • Tell me about a time where you demonstrated strong teamwork during college.

  • How did you go about exercising leadership in a part-time job or internship?

  • Give me a specific example of when you offered extraordinary service to a customer.

  • When have you felt a great deal of pressure and how

    did you deal with it?

  • Describe a situation where you demonstrated the ability to multi-task.

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Always Prepare Questions

  • Prepare a number of questions for the end of the interview.

  • Questions should be well thought out and indicate that you did your research (View the company website to trigger questions).

  • Generate a list of questions in advance about the position, the organization and the hiring manager’s expectations.

  • Develop questions that demonstrate your level of interest and intelligence.

  • Questions should help you decide if the position is right for you.

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Examples of Questions to Ask

  • As Manager, what are your expectations for the position?

  • Describe a typical work day.

  • How will I interact with other employees and managers throughout the company?

  • What are some of the challenges facing the company and the organization?

  • What is the culture of your company?

  • What type of training will I receive?

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Examples of Questions that Reflect Research

  • “I read on your website that you will be acquiring businesses to increase your customer presence. How will this impact your organization?

  • “A Wall Street Journal article of 2 weeks ago stressed your

    company’s commitment to innovative marketing strategies.

    Can you elaborate on those strategies?”

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Questions to Avoid Initially

  • Avoid questions in the initial interview about the following:



    -Health and Retirement


  • They may reflect misplaced priorities.

  • Wait until the second interview or at the job offer.

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  • Time for either side to ask final questions & summarize.

  • Find out the next steps. When will you hear from them?

  • Express interest (if appropriate).

    “I’ve enjoyed this interview and am excited about opportunities with your company. I hope you will invite me to the next step.”

  • Ask for a business card (necessary for follow-up and thank you notes).

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After the Interview

  • Always write a thank you note:

    -Reiterate your strengths and yourenthusiasm

    -Include any important omissions

    -Email or send typed note through mail

  • Keep a log:

    -Any follow-up items

    -All the important facts

    -Any advice you were given

    -Your key impressions

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  • Take any steps suggested by the interviewer:

    -Providing references

    -Contacting an employee or manager

    -Completing application forms or exams

  • Stay in pursuit:

    -Follow-up with them if necessary

    -Let them know of your interest

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The Telephone Interview

  • Treat the phone interview like any interview.

  • Arrange to avoid interruptions.

  • Allow plenty of time.

  • Be comfortable.

  • Keep your resume and notes at your fingertips.

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Group Interviews

  • Some interviews are conducted by several key personnel in an organization.

  • Attempt to learn who will be interviewing you and their position.

  • Address each individual’s question taking into account what is important to them based on their position.

  • Strive for consistency in your responses if your interviews are conducted separately by a number of people.

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Learn from Your Interviews

  • Learn from every interview and make improvements.

  • Use the interview to assess your career interests and goals.

  • Keep a log with notes on follow-up and your impression.

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Additional Interviewing Resources

  • Mock Interview Practice (videotaping) with a Career Counselor

  • Virtual Interviews (Visit our website) Interviewing Tips hand-out

  • Sample Interviewer Questions

  • Sample Questions to Ask

  • Articles on Telephone Interviews and Successful Interviewing

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Contact Iona College Center for Career Services

  • Visit our website at:

  • For questions or to schedule an appointment Telephone: (914)633-2462 or


  • Visit our Center at 18 President Street