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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


The Key to Your Future

Interview Success

Internship & Career Services CenterNorth Carolina Wesleyan College

Presentation outline
Presentation Outline

  • What is an interview?

  • Preparation

  • Planning your interview

  • Dress for success

  • At the interview

  • After the interview

What is a job 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
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 continued1
Research (continued)

  • Better Business Bureau

  • Chambers of Commerce

  • Human Resources department

  • Individuals who work there

  • Business Directories

Research continued2
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 continued3
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
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
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.


  • 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
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
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!

  • General guidelines
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    General Grooming Tips

    • Deodorant

    • Light on cologne/perfume

    • Brush your teeth, use mouthwash

    • Neat haircut

    • Polished shoes

    • Impeccably clean


    • 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
    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
    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
    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

    Evaluation action
    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
    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