A way for you and a potential employer to get to know each other.
A dialogue in which the employer assesses your background and skills, and provides you with information about the job, organization and you provide information about your skills and get enough information to decide whether this job/organization is right for you.
Getting an interview usually means that you're qualified for the position, so the actual interview is a chance for the interviewer to confirm your qualifications, and to find out what you're like and how you will fit into the organization.
Qualities you should try to demonstrate in an interview are:
- Good communication skills
- Self confidence (being aware of your strengths and weaknesses)
- Your personality
- Your accomplishments
- Knowledge of organization with which you're interviewing
How to prepare for an interview
Announcement: The Career Resource Center counselors offer students and alumni the opportunity to perform a mock interview. Call (845) 257-3265 for an appointment!
Interviewing is a skill that is learned and developed over time; everyone gets nervous at first. Preparation and practice are the keys to overcoming nervousness and becoming an effective interviewer. Here are some tips:
- Know yourself, your skills, strengths and accomplishments. Prepare short examples to illustrate these qualities.
- Be sure that you can talk about (and give examples relating to) everything listed on your resume.
- Research the employer/job so that you know as much as you can about the organization and possible position. Interviewers won't expect you to spout statistics, but they will expect you to know the basics about the position/organization and how your skills relate.
- Practice. Be videotaped at the Career Resource Center, have friends ask you questions into a tape recorder and play them back.
- Prepare questions to ask of your interviewer.
The Actual Interview
Dressing for success!
- Dressing appropriately is important. Your goal is to dress so that the interviewer does not notice what you are wearing. The interviewer should remember your qualifications, not your clothes.
- The rule of thumb is to dress like the people who will be interviewing you. Suits and ties are still appropriate for men; suits or nice dresses for women.
- Avoid scents, flashy earrings, anything that detracts from your presentation of your qualifications.
- Arrive early to your interview (leave time to get lost if you are traveling to the interview).
- It is appropriate to bring a portfolio/nice folder and a purse, in to the interview. If you are an artist or an educator, you may bring a portfolio and samples of your work.
- Leave coats, briefcases, umbrellas, etc. in the reception area.
- Bring extra copies of your resume and a list of reference names into the interview with you. You may not need them, but you will be prepared if asked.
The actual interview
- Interviews should be like conversations, where participants take turns speaking and listening. Try to avoid creating a situation in which the interviewer asks all the questions.
- The first few minutes of an interview are important. Try to greet interviewer confidently, make eye contact and shake hands. Know their name and make sure they get yours right. Practice saying your name in a confident, easy to understand manner.
- Be positive.
- Be honest about what you want.
- Be specific, give examples to make your dialogue interesting.
- Practice interviewing can help you feel comfortable and sure of yourself.
After the interview:
- Be nice to everyone, including receptionists and secretaries. They may not have the power to hire you, but they may be asked for input into the decision.
- Follow-up your interview with a thank-you note as soon as possible. Call, if appropriate, to continue to express interest in the position.
Sometimes an initial interview will be over the telephone rather than in person. Always schedule a phone interview in advance, then prepare in the same way as you would for an in-person meeting. Before the interview begins, assemble your resume, notes, and questions in front of the phone. Wear whatever allows you to feel most confident. And remember, since the interviewer cannot see your body language, your voice has to convey all your interest and enthusiasm.