Interview Tips and Etiquette
The interview portion of the hiring process is crucial because interviews are often in person and can give an interviewee and interviewer(s) 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 one of our career counselors. In this hour long session, a counselor can help you practice for either a general interview or for a company-specific interview. Students may also use the information available on this Web site to review practice questions. Although no perfect answer exists, there are good ways to word answers to portray yourself in the best light possible. By looking over potential interview questions and speaking with a career counselor, your confidence will increase and you will have a better 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, showing up 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 doesn't give you much credibility with a potential supervisor.
- Dress appropriately. The way you dress will send a message to your potential employer. Of the utmost importance is to have a nice, clean professional suit. Clothes should never be too tight, low-cut or suggestive. Additionally, bare midriffs, ripped clothing and jeans are not appropriate for a job interview. Finally, shoes must go well with your outfit and flip flops are NEVER acceptable to a job interview. The key to dressing for an interview is to err on the side of conservatism. More traditional cuts, prints and colors are best for interviews.
- Grooming is of the utmost importance. Dirty or unkempt hair does not leave a favorable impression on the interviewer. Additionally, visible tattoos and piercings should not be shown during an interview. Furthermore, your scent is a small detail that can make a large impact when interviewing. Thus, the use of minimal perfume or cologne is recommended. Additionally, refraining from smoking or eating right before an interview is suggested. Chewing gum or candy during an interview is distracting and makes for a difficult conversation with the interviewer.
- Answer questions truthfully but tactfully. Honesty can be a very important trait to employers. However, you must be careful when speaking with them not to come across as negative. Whether you hated or loved your former boss, co-workers and job duties, speaking about them as though they are respectable will portray your character in a better light. Additionally, despite the difficulty of answering a question that can portray you in a negative light, it is best to be honest about whatever situation they ask you about.
- Ask good 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. Of course, some questions are obvious but some are a bit more creative and having the guts to say something creative might land you the job. Asking the interviewer(s) questions is your chance to discover something about the job that would help you decide on whether or not to take it. These questions are important because they help the interviewers understand your personality, strengths and concerns about the positions.
- Send follow-up correspondence. Sending follow-up correspondence in the form of a thank you card is very important when applying for a job. It can show the interviewer that you are very interested in the position. Additionally, it can give you one last personal connection to the interviewer or team. If something memorable happened in the interview process, mentioning it in the follow-up correspondence will help 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.