Interviewing & Networking
Your resume has made it past the first screen and among all the candidates that have applied you have received the invitation for the interview. Are you ready?! We can help. Below are some great tips to help you think through and prepare for a successful interview. Want some extra practice? Call us, we can run through a mock interview with you so that you are warmed up and ready to go on interview day.
In Person Interviews
- Dress appropriately: Either business or business casual depending on the industry. Nothing too tight, revealing or bold. Make sure clothing is neat and clean. Grey, black or navy suits or dresses work best.
- Don’t be late, or try to reschedule at the last minute
- Bring extra copies of your resume
- Your introduction or “30 second commercial” sets the tone of the interview. Keep your introduction focused on your professional skills, abilities, and education. Practice your introduction, so you don’t stumble over your words or forget information. Be outgoing and personable while still maintaining your professionalism.
- Research the company & industry
- Have organization specific questions prepared
- DO NOT bring up benefits, children, or work schedule conflicts, or personal issues
- Have a realistic salary range in mind for the industry and your experience and education level. You can check out sites like salary.com to see what similar positions pay in your area.
- Ask insightful closing questions
- Watch your body language, don’t be too stiff or slump in the chair. Make eye contact!
- Follow up after the interview
- Give the interviewer a good phone number where you can be reached.
- Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
- Keep your resume in clear view.
- Have questions and answers handy.
- Keep a short list of your accomplishments available.
- Smile – this will project a positive image.
- Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat or drink.
- Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
- Remember that your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview.
- Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered.
- Dress for the occasion! Choose your colors wisely and wear neutral, solid colors (shades of black, blue or grey are best).
- Clean up your room! You don’t want anything in the background to distract the interviewer from what you have to say.
- Keep the noise down! Find a quiet place to do the interview is vital!
- Get the technology right! Make sure you create a professional username in Skype, and test it out with a friend beforehand.
- Watch out for the delay! There will usually be a slight transmission delay when using the video functionality. It’s important to be aware of this delay and to pause to ensure that your interviewer has finished speaking before you speak.
- Smile! This makes you look positive, confident and enthusiastic about the job you are applying for.
- Make eye contact! Look straight into the camera, not the screen.
A strong, comfortable introduction gives a positive first impression. The best way to prepare is to create your very own “30-60 second commercial.” This is simply a statement that is 30 seconds to one minute long that allows you to do the following:
- Introduce yourself. Include your area of study or major.
- Demonstrate some knowledge of the organization or company.
- Express interest in the company or organization in the form of an inquiry about the job possibilities, internships, etc.
- Dress to make a positive first impression! Colors: navy or black are best. For women: a skirt suit or a conservative pant suit. For men: a suit; a button down shirt, tie, sport coat and nice slacks; shined shoes.
Refine your manners. Greet everyone with a smile and a firm handshake. Be confident, enthusiastic, and polite. Maintain good posture. Don’t focus on the goodies from the company’s table; focus on your goals. Use the person’s name and say thank you. Know when to move on; others may be waiting. Collect business cards and ask who is serving as the contact person. Make notes about your conversation with each representative and use this information in follow-up letters and phone calls. Send thank you letters within 24 to 48 hours.
Ready Your Requests
Request information from the corporate representatives by asking intelligent questions that demonstrate your knowledge of the company, your interest, as well as your awareness of your needs in a career opportunity. Some good questions:
- What type of training program do you offer new employees?
- Describe the work environment of your company.
- How are employees evaluated and promoted?
- How has working at this company influenced your personal and professional growth?
- What are the major projects being undertaken now?
And be yourself! Enjoy the opportunity to meet new people and increase your network.
Offer a brief statement of what you think you could offer the organization or company. Rehearse your commercial, or introduction, in front of a mirror or with a friend. This will enable you to become so comfortable with your introduction that you are able to deliver it in a natural, unrehearsed way. A good presentation will increase your confidence, allowing you to appear relaxed and self-assured, even if you are a bit nervous
In today’s job market having the inside connection to new positions is key. This is why networking is vital to your professional success.
- Join social or professional organizations that pertain to your field.
- Use social networking sites like LinkedIn, to follow companies, and connect with professionals
- Attend Chamber of Commerce meetings or Town Hall meetings. In these meetings you will come in contact with major employers in your area.
- Attend professional social mixers, happy hours, or conferences.
- Make sure you have business cards with your contact information and a little about what you do. Your business card, is the advertisement for your skills, abilities or services.
- When you meet new people be engaging! Make people remember you in a positive way.