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- Interviewing Help
I hate to interview. How can I make the experience less painful?
Interviews are the most daunting part of the job search process for many people. But they needn't be. The interview is really a two-way conversation that allows you to speak about the information contained in your résumé and for the interviewer to provide you with more details about the job. It is actually a great opportunity for both of you to explore whether there is a good fit between your skills and experience and the organization's needs.
The best way to improve your interview skills is practice. At the Center for Career Development we can give you tips and tools to help you interview better, plus provide a safe environment in which to record "mock interview."
How should I prepare for an interview?
Learn as much as you can about the position, company and industry by using the internet, print resources and personal contacts. If necessary, call the company and ask for promotional/corporate literature to be sent to you. Know who you'll meet with, including job title and exact pronunciation of their name.
Review your résumé and analyze each of your positions. What were your significant accomplishments and challenges? Be prepared to talk about each position.
Review the advertisement or job description and determine the skills and qualifications that you possess that are relevant. Be able to describe and support them with examples or anecdotes.
Anticipate the questions you will be asked (PDF) Write or outline your answers on paper and practice them aloud. Role playing with a friend, career counselor or family member can be very helpful in building confidence.
Be aware of recent key issues and developments in your field by reading newspapers and professional publications. Be prepared to discuss these issues and to give your perspective.
Develop a list of questions to ask the employers (PDF) over the course of the interview. Ask intelligent questions about the organization or position which demonstrate your knowledge and interest.
We all know that first impressions are extremely important. Here are some ways to make a positive impression during your interview:
- Confirm your appointment the day before with the person or his/her assistant.
- Plan your travel route in advance as being late makes a terrible first impression.
- Arrange to arrive about 10 minutes early so that you have an opportunity to collect yourself.
- Dress conservatively and professionally (PDF). Do not smoke or chew gum.
- Engage the interviewer by making constant eye contact and smiling when appropriate.
- Appear interested by sitting up straight or leaning slightly forward.
- Be honest with your responses and keep focused on the question you have been asked. Avoid rambling or going off on tangents, especially about personal experiences.
- When unsure of how to answer a question, slow down and take a moment to organize your thoughts.
- Listen carefully to the question being asked. If you do not understand the question ask for greater clarification before answering.
- Do not hedge or bluff when you do not know an answer. Be honest about your lack of knowledge and offer to research the question.
- Never degrade past employers or jobs. Try to emphasize the positive aspects of an experience.
Closing and Follow-up
- Always ask about the next steps in the process before you leave the interview. Restate your interest in the position (if this is true).
- Use our Thank You Letter Tips (PDF) and write a letter demonstrating your understanding of the requirements of the position and your ability to fill these needs, to each person with whom you interviewed. See our Thank You Letter sample (PDF).
- Project enthusiasm, energy and self-confidence from your first handshake to your last.
- Provide the employer with information that will assist them in evaluating your skills, experiences, goals and objectives for the position(s) they are seeking to fill.
- Listen and obtain information from the employer regarding the position, work environment and organization so you can determine whether it is a job that you want.
If you have questions about interviewing or if you would like to do a mock interview please contact us at (617) 333-2195 or email@example.com.
Connect with Us!
The Center for Career Development invited 'Inside Higher Ed' blogger and social media expert Eric Stoller to be the keynote speaker at the 2013 Curry College Senior Conference. Stoller's task? To impart valuable career advice to Curry students regarding the use (and misuse) of social media.