Monday, February 25, 2013

Tools for Success: Preparing for a Job Interview

With summer just around the corner, it is not too early to start looking for a summer job, internship or service learning opportunity.  Once you have applied, it is time to prepare for the interview!  To prepare for a successful interview, consider:
Interview Appointment: Once you get the call for the coveted interview, be sure to get the date/time,  full name, address (building number) and telephone number of the person that will be interviewing you.  Immediately place the information in your telephone calendar and/or planner (keep a back up).
Research: Explore the company or organization website and search for recent news articles. Be prepared to share what you have learned about the company accomplishments, mission and goals.  They will be impressed to see that you have done your homework.
Practice: Research interview questions and practice your responses.  Just as when studying for a test, or preparing for a presentation, it is important to practice early and not cram your thoughts and responses briefly, the night before.  Think of impressive illustrations from your past employment, personal and educational experiences.  Be familiar with group projects and ways that you have contributed as a team player.  This is your chance to shine – be prepared!
Test Drive:  Even if you are using public transportation, take the time to make a practice run to the interview location.  One blogger shares a story of a failed interview writing the applicant “arrived 30 minutes late for his interview [because] he had programmed his GPS too quickly the night before, and had entered the street address as ‘Drive’ instead of ‘Place’.”  
Dress for Success:  The first impression you set may be based on what you are wearing and how you appear.
Resume: Be sure to bring an up-to-date copy of your resume for each person on the interview committee.  If you can, carry it in a portfolio from your College.
Follow Through:  Be sure you have business cards or names of the employees that interviewed you so that you can follow through with a thank you note.
There is an abundance of informational blogs and tips focused on interview skills and questions.  A few to consider exploring include:,  Barbara Pachter & Associates and Top Interview Tips.  For an engaging and interactive approach, consider Student Lingo’s online workshop, Mastering the Job Interview, available free to NOVA Students. 
Not sure where to start in your job search?  ELI’s webinar, Exploring Career Options and/or Conducting a Job Search can help you get started.
When interviewing, do not hesitate to ask questions.  To determine if your career goals will be met, you are interviewing them as well.  Good Luck!

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