Preparing for an Interview
Doing well in an interview is critical to your getting the internship or job you want. You may have done an interview for a part-time job, but a professional interview is often quite different from interviews that you may have had up to now. Here are some general facts about interviews you are likely to encounter.
- The screening interview is designed to narrow down the list of those who are qualified to a limited number of people who are the most likely prospects for hiring.
- A typical interview is 30-60 minutes in length.
- Face-to-face interviews have been the most common formats, but telephone interviews are increasingly popular. Some interviews are on Skype.
- Screening interviews normally follow a specific model.
- Fact gathering – Interviewer asks you for information about you.
- Behavioral – These interviews probe how you have handled different situations in the past or would handle a hypothetical situation.
- Discussion – Interviewer asks you questions in a discussion format. This interview allows you to sell yourself by directing the discussion.
- Encounter – Interviewer puts you under a lot of pressure to see how you handle yourself. This interview can be stressful, but it is also an opportunity to go beyond your resume.
- Some organizations have started to use panels (2 or more persons) to conduct interviews.
- The initial decision to consider a person further is typically made as soon as the interview is complete.
One of the critical questions you will have going to an interview is how to dress. Outlined below are some general guidelines for how to dress.
- Dress suit
- Conservative tie
- Dress shoes
- Neat haircut
- No earrings, jewelry, or piercings
- Cover up tattoos
- Conservative skirt or pant suit (dark color)
- Skirt at knee length
- Modest jewelry
- Small heel on closed toe dress shoes
- Hair should be away from your face and neatly styled
- No piercings
- Cover up tattoos
It’s surprising how influential non-verbal signals are in an interview. Often a decision to continue considering you is based on these non verbals. Here’s what to be careful of
- Hand shake – Position your hand so that you get a full grip of the interviewer’s hand, not just the fingers. Shake firmly but do not try to crush the other person’s hand.
- Eye contact – make eye contact throughout the interview. Do not look to the side.
- Voice – Use a strong voice that comes from deeper in your windpipe than you normally speak. This is a voice you might use in a presentation.
- Hand position – Keep your hands in front of you in a steepled position.
- Body position – Lean slightly forward to give an appearance of sincere interest.
- Neck rash – Many people get a neck rash when they are in stressful situations. For males, a necktie will probably hide this. For females, you may want to wear a scarf.
Finally, do research on the company. Find out what they do and the types of positions they have available. Check the career section of their website. Also prepare a list of questions you might want to ask the interviewer about the company (e.g. questions about a new product, career options for someone with your major)..