INTERVIEWING Before the Interview During the Interview After the Interview Revised April 2010
Why Go Through an Interview? • The job interview provides an opportunity for you to sell yourself verbally to the employer on why you are the best applicant for the job.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW • Call to make an interview appointment • Research the company • Practice, practice, practice! • Know your do’s and don’ts • Plan your outfit ahead of time
Make an Appointment • While on the phone, you should… • Speak clearly • Say it with a smile • Repeat time and location of the interview • Remember, you make your first impression when you talk to employers on the telephone
Research: Ask Questions • Research — Be able to ask intelligent questions • Library books • Newspaper and magazine articles, brochures • Talk to employees and customers • Visit the company Web site • Check the Human Resource Department for press kit about company history • Visit the local Chamber of Commerce • The more information you know, the better you can showcase yourself
Practice, Practice, Practice • Interview with a friend • Practice typical questions using a mirror and tape recorder • Create a 30-second “commercial” that highlights your unique talents and skills • Questions you might be asked… • What is your experience? • What activities did you participate in school or in your community? • What are your career goals? • Why do you want this job? • What are your major strengths and weaknesses? • How well do you work in teams? • Are you willing to work overtime? • When can you begin to work? • Tell me about yourself.
Do… Act natural Be prompt Carry out promises Ask questions Allow employer to express ideas Read company literature Follow procedures Be clear and precise Listen effectively to the interviewer Don’t… Be late Come in extreme dress Come unprepared Oversell yourself or criticize yourself Become impatient Try to be funny Put an emphasis on salary Control the interview To Do and Not To Do
Dress For Success: Women • Professional Dress for Women • Wear a business suit in solid colors, such as blue, gray or black, or a nice dress and blazer or cardigan • Skirt and dress hemlines should be no shorter than the bottom of the knee • Wear quality fabrics and shoes that match • Avoid extra jewelry • Wear one to two rings per hand • Only wear one set of earrings • Wear perfume and makeup sparingly • Keep hair pulled back from your face • No gum, hair, cigarettes, or pockets full of coins
Dress for Success: Men • Professional Dress for Men • Wear a business suit in a solid, conservative color, such as blue, gray or black • Avoid wearing a suit that you can tell is from an expensive designer • White, collared shirt • Choose a conservative tie — no cartoon characters! • Your socks should be dress socks that match your suit • Shine your shoes • Keep hair and fingernails neatly trimmed • Don’t wear accessories except for a watch
AT THE INTERVIEW • Know how to make a good first impression • Remember the questions in your practice interviews • Be prepared to answer tough questions • Come with questions to ask • Know there are some questions the employer should not be asking you • Don’t forget to thank the interviewer for his time!
How to Screw Up an Interview • Making jokes that make no sense • Sitting against the wall to fill out an application • Listening to music, eating, talking on the cell phone, or reading text messages during the interview • Displaying your hobbies, especially if they are irrelevant to the job • Saying the only reason you’re looking for a job is to prove you’re searching for a job so you can get an unemployment check
Some Things to Remember • Dress appropriately for the job • Be neat and well-groomed • Go to the interview alone • Be on time • Use good manners and appropriate gestures • Pay attention to the interviewer • Ask appropriate questions about the job • Have necessary personal reference information with you • Smile and relax • Ask some opening questions • Have good posture • Sound enthusiastic • Make eye contact • Avoid distracting habits (rocking, etc.)
First Impressions Count • Proper handshake • Proper introduction • Good posture • Neat appearance: • Proper attire for your job market • Be groomed • Personal hygiene
First Impressions: Body Language • Good Posture • Sit up straight on the edge of the chair and avoid crossing legs and arms • Inviting Gestures • Firm handshake • Nod your head — indicates you are listening • Eye Contact • Indicates confidence • Speak Clearly • Standard English, not slang • Not only what you say, but how you say it
Tough Questions • When you’re faced with tough questions, remember to not be defensive, stay calm, and focus on your skills. • What qualities do you have that offset your lack of experience? • Are you going to move to a better job as soon as you gain experience here? • If you are faced with a deadline you can’t meet, what will you do?
Questions You Should Ask • What services or products does the company provide? • Who are the company’s customers? • Who are the key personnel? • Where are company headquarters, plants, etc? • What are the specific duties of the job applied for? • What is the name of the interviewer? • How profitable is the company? • Annual revenue? • Number of employees?
Questions to Avoid • Salary, Vacations, Benefits and Sick Leave • When asked about salaries, be prepared with research — know what other companies pay for similar positions and give a range • Don’t answer questions about… • Race, sexual orientation or marital status • Unemployment payments or what your spouse or family do for a living • Arrests, religion, or national origin • The employer is advised against asking these types of questions, but may ask them anyway.
Situations: A New Trend • Lately many employers ask interviewees situation-based questions to determine their decision-making skills and processes, as well as to see how they react under pressure. • Examples: • If someone (describe a typical conflict situation in the department), what would you do? • As we still have some time left, can you tell me a story? • Outline in very broad terms how you would create a strategy for a public interest campaign. • “Genius is attention to detail.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Closing the Interview • Watch for cues the interview is about to be over, such as the employer standing up or saying who will be in contact with you. • Thank the interviewer for the interview • Decide a convenient time you can call on the hiring status
AFTER THE INTERVIEW • Evaluate the interview • Write a thank-you letter or e-mail • Accept the job…or deal appropriately with rejection
Evaluate the Interview • Were there any issues you had during practice interviews that were corrected during your actual interview? • Did you speak clearly? • Did you forget important information, or forget to ask any pressing questions? • What was your overall opinion of the job? • Write out pros and cons • Will you accept or reject the job offer?
Writing a Thank-You Note • Things to include • Thank the interviewer for his time and effort • Reinforce your skills and abilities • Insert added information you may have forgotten • Restate your interest in the company • Make sure you’re spelling the interviewer’s name and address (e-mail or street) correctly • Proof-read the letter for spelling and grammar • Remember to call back at the appointed time
If You’re Offered the Job… • And you want to take it: • Ask for a day to think about the job offer • Review the pros and cons list you created before you accept the job • Ask for a formal offer letter for your files • Send and keep a copy of your acceptance letter • And don’t want to take it: • If you don’t want to take it because the salary is too low, try negotiating. • If you don’t want to take it because the job isn’t what you expected, be tactful in your response.
If You Don’t Get the Job… • Consider it a learning experience • Be respectful and tactful when speaking with the employer. • Ask why you were not hired. Feedback will help you in future interviews. • Do I need more training? • How can I improve in my interview?