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Before the interview:
- Research the company thoroughly beforehand. Make sure you understand the position you are applying for, and how your qualifications and career goals match the position.
- Call or visit the company website to obtain an extensive job description if available.
- Think about your answers beforehand. Know how you would answer each of the sample questions, and be ready to share factual examples to support your answers.
- Practice your interview with a friend. Practice answering and asking questions.
- Pick out and try on the outfit you plan on wearing to the interview.
- Make sure you know where you’re going. Give yourself plenty of time to drive to your destination, and double-check your directions via the company website, receptionist, and/or a city map.
- Bring extra copies of your resume, your reference sheet, a pen and pad of paper. Carry these things in a briefcase or professional folder.
- Bring a portfolio of items that document your abilities (i.e. writing samples, photos of you in action, relevant class projects, photos of past projects, letters of recommendation, etc.).
At the interview:
- Eat something ahead of time. You should be doing the talking, not your stomach.
- Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early.
- Leave your cell phone in your car.
- Be polite with everyone, including the receptionist.
- Watch your wait. Magazines you select while waiting can reveal your personal preferences, information that may affect the hiring decision. Instead, quietly gather your thoughts, and review your answers.
- Greet your interviewer(s) by name. Check with receptionist beforehand to make sure you know how to pronounce all names correctly.
- Shake your interviewer’s hand firmly and smile.
- Make eye contact.
- Two-way traffic. The exchange should be a conversation. However, the interviewer is not your friend, so keep the interchange professional and watch what you divulge.
- Communicate. Be clear about what you expect to gain if hired so that you can clearly articulate your goals and contributions to the company.
- Listen carefully. If you feel the question is unclear, ask politely for clarification.
- Pause before answering to consider all the facts that may substantiate your response.
- Give and get attention by focusing on the interviewer’s needs and not your own.
- Back up your responses by also giving quantitative information. Give dates and examples to also support your points.
- Be truthful, but try not to offer unsolicited information.
- Try not to open yourself to areas of questioning that could pose difficulties for you.
- Regardless of how things go, conclude with a sincere thank you, a firm handshake, and a gracious smile.