Interview Tips and Etiquette
The interview portion of the hiring process is crucial because interviews are often in person and can give both parties a chance to truly understand each other. The following tips can be used during the interview process.
- Practice, Practice, Practice! The Center for Student Professional Development gives significant help to students who want to do well in professional interviews. One of the best ways to practice interview skills is by scheduling a mock interview with a career counselor. In this hour-long session, a counselor will help you practice for a general interview or for a company-specific interview. Students may also use the information available on this site to review practice questions. Although no perfect answer exists, there are good answers to portray yourself in the best light. By reviewing potential interview questions and speaking with a career counselor, your confidence will likely increase and result in a successful interview.
- Be punctual. Arriving a few minutes early to an interview tells a potential employer that you are serious about a position with their company. Additionally, arriving early gives you an opportunity to observe the interaction of co-workers and the function of the office. Being late to an interview sets a negative tone for your interaction with an interviewer and reduces your credibility with a potential supervisor.
- Dress appropriately. The way you dress will send a message to your potential employer. Therefore, it is essential to have a nice, clean, professional suit. Clothes should never be too tight, low cut, or suggestive. Bare midriffs, ripped clothing and jeans are not appropriate for a job interview. Finally, shoes must coordinate with your outfit and flip flops are NEVER acceptable to wear to a job interview. The key to dressing for an interview is to choose traditional cuts, prints and colors.
- Grooming is important. Dirty or unkempt hair does not leave a favorable impression on the interviewer. Additionally, tattoos and piercings should not be visible during an interview. Your scent is a small detail that can make a large impact when interviewing. Thus, the use of minimal perfume or cologne is recommended.
- Do not chew gum. Chewing gum or candy during an interview is distracting and makes for a difficult conversation with the interviewer. Refrain from smoking or eating right before an interview.
- Answer questions truthfully but tactfully. Honesty can be a very important trait to employers, but you must ensure that you are not giving a negative impression. Despite your opinion of your former boss, co-workers and job duties, speaking about them respectfully will portray your character in a better light. When answering a question that can portray you negatively, it is best to be honest about the situation they ask you about.
- Ask thought-provoking questions afterward. Often interviewers will ask if you have any questions about the company, department, job duties or a personal opinion. Ask questions that you want to know the answer to and questions that will make them think. Some questions are obvious, but others are more creative, and asking a creative question might land you the job. Asking the interviewer(s) questions is your chance to discover something about the job that will help you make a job offer decision. These questions are important because they help the interviewers understand your personality, strengths, and concerns about the position.
- Send follow-up correspondence. Sending follow-up correspondence in the form of a thank you card or email is very important when applying for a job because it reveals your level of interest to the interviewer, and it may create one last personal connection to the interviewer. If something memorable happened in the interview process, mention it in the follow-up correspondence to cement the relationship that you developed in the interview.
For further questions about interview etiquette, call the CSPD at (210) 458-4039 or come by BB 2.01.08 to set up an appointment with a career counselor.