Interviews don’t have to be scary or difficult. Although each interview is unique, there are standard, common guidelines among all. With enough preparation and an idea of what is to come, you can tackle your interview effectively and with confidence.
For on-campus interviews, they are hosted at the Career Center in Roscoe West 102. Arrive 15 minutes before your interview to sign in, then head back to the waiting area where the interviewer will call you when ready.
If you need a conference room for a video or phone interview, feel free to call the Career Center (609-771-2161) in advance to reserve a room. It will be ready when you arrive.
Before the Interview
Before the interview, research the employer. What do they do? What are their objectives, goals, and mission? Understand fully what the organization does as well as what your role will require you to do. Furthermore, look at their social media to get a better understanding of the corporate environment and culture.
Prepare for common interview questions and know how to answer them. Preparing ahead of time to answer these questions will allow you to give the best answer you can. You can answer these questions by using the STAR method: describe situations, tasks, actions, and results.
Start generating potential questions to ask your interviewer at the end. This preparation beforehand will allow you to stand out compared to others and show that you have a genuine interest in the position and organization.
What to Wear and What to Bring
Come to interviews dressed in business professional clothes. If you are concerned about what to wear, it is always safer to be overdressed than under dressed. Wear conservative, neutral color clothes. Shoes should be clean, clothes wrinkle free. Avoid strong perfumes and cologne.
Some general tips include:
- Suit should be well-pressed, pants should barely hit the shoe. Jackets are highly encouraged.
- Suits should be well fitted, jacket well pressed. Pants, skirts, and dresses are all acceptable. Skirts and dresses should be knee length.
- Dark navy suits are ideal, but any dark color is acceptable.
- Dress shirts should be lighter than the suit. Avoid bright colored shirts, and don’t forget to wear an undershirt.
- Ties should be darker than the dress shirt and should not extend below the belt. The belt should match the shoes.
- Shoes should be clean, socks should be dark colored.
- Avoid low cut blouses.
- Avoid heels that are higher than three inches.
- Avoid business casual or too “trendy” attire. Stay on a more business professional side when in doubt.
For an infographic on what to wear and what not to wear, click here (courtesy of Stetson University).
Bring to the interview multiple copies of your resume, a pen or pencil, and paper for notes. You can keep your materials in a portfolio or folder.
During the Interview
Show up to the interview at least 15 minutes early. This will give you time to get calm down and prepare yourself.
When greeting the interviewer or interviewers, give a firm handshake and introduce yourself confidently.
During the interview, be attentive and answer questions to the best of your ability. Answer questions confidently and thoughtfully. If you need a few seconds to answer a question, that’s fine. Pay attention to your verbal and non-verbal cues. Avoid slouching or looking disinterested, maintain steady (not overbearing) eye contact, and be aware of personal space.
Ask questions! Don’t leave without asking questions either about the position or the organization itself. This shows interest in the position and a willingness to learn more. This is also the time for you to cover anything you may still be unsure about or that was not covered during the interview. Ask questions that cannot be found online or anything you need elaborated.
After the interview, thank the interviewer(s) for their time, and once again, give a firm handshake. Make sure you collect a business card for contact as well.
After the Interview
Follow up the interview with a “thank you” e-mail, preferably within the next 24 hours. Make sure these responses are proofread and formal. Lastly, be patient! Some decisions take longer than others to process, so don’t worry if you don’t hear back right away.
The time has come: you have received your job offer! Congratulations, you’ve worked hard for this. Please know that you can use the Career Center as a resource to discuss options. Before you accept or decline, think about whether or not the organization is best for you. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is the organization like?
- How is the environment?
- What will be my daily duties?
- Are there opportunities for me to advance in my career?
- What benefits are provided?
The questions you ask yourself should be ones that are most important to you. Do not let your emotions affect your decision – you should take each offer seriously and consider the options well.
Think carefully about salary as well. Is the salary lower than what you expected? How should you go about negotiating salaries? Consider these factors as you decide whether or not to accept the offer.
If you received multiple offers, carefully examine all your choices and consider them well. If you need more time to make a decision, notify each employer for an extension if possible.
Finally, it is time to accept or decline the job offer. When accepting the offer, do so verbally and also via e-mail or some form of written communication. Remember to reaffirm the start date, salary, dress code, and any other important information.
Once you accept an offer, notify all other employers that you appreciate their time, but will not be moving forward with the process.
Once again, congratulations on the offer! If you accept the offer, your job search is now complete. Do not continue to apply for positions or rescind an offer after you have accepted. Rescinding an offer after you have accepted is unprofessional, and reflects poorly on you and the school. Do not do so without appropriate reason. If you do rescind an offer, you may be contacted by the Career Center for a meeting to discuss why.
If you are declining an offer, do so politely. Thank the employer for his or her time and maintain professionalism.
For further information, feel free to read our Career Center Handbook.