Career Services

Interviews

You applied for a job and they called you back for an interview!

This means that an employer is interested in you and would like you to move on to the next phase of their hiring process. It is important to keep in mind that there are other candidates in the running. The more prepared you come to the interview, the better chance you have at moving on in the selection process. So, how should you prepare and what do you need to know?

Preparation Phase

  • Research the company or organization you are applying with.
  • Thoroughly study the job description and take note of the skills, requirements, and characteristics they are look for. Think of examples of when you demonstrated these.
  • Review standard and behavioral-based interview questions.
  • Compose your practice answers to interview questions with specific talking points of when you experienced the given situation.
  • Keep your answers on target with the question; develop your answers in a way that lets the employer get to know the best of you.
  • Be prepared with 3-5 questions for the employer. This is an opportunity to demonstrate to the employer that you have done your homework.
  • Schedule a mock interview with the Career Center or someone who will provide you with constructive feedback.

Tips

  • Be sure you know exactly how to get to your interview destination. Practice the day before if needed.
  • Decide what you are going to wear prior to the day-of your interview. Take a look at our professional dress guide for tips and ideas.
  • Print a few copies of your resume on resume paper and bring them to the interview in a portfolio or folder to give to the employer as a refresher of your past experiences and qualifications.

During the Interview

  • Offer a strong handshake
  • Maintain eye contact throughout the interview. Do not look down or past the employer.
  • Be aware of any nervous habits. (e.g. tapping finger or foot, using filler words such as “like,” playing with hair or ear ring, etc.)
  • Nod your head and smile when appropriate. Be intentional to show the interviewer that you are interested in what they are saying.
  • Be careful to not interrupt the interviewer.
  • Stick to the topic when answering a question, be careful to not deviate out of nervousness, the best rule of thumb is to keep it short, concise, and full of good content.
  • Remain professional, but be yourself. Do not allow your answers to sound robotic or practiced.

Post Interview

  • Send an appropriate email or “thank you” note. You can find examples of these types of notes here.
  • If you have not heard back 2 weeks after your interview it is appropriate to call and check on the status.
  • Keep in mind that the hiring process can be lengthy. It is best to apply for other jobs and keep yourself busy during this waiting period.

Skype Interview

Skype interviews are becoming more popular especially when you have applied to a position at a distance and are in the beginning stages of the interviewing process. Below are a few tips specific to Skype interviews that are important to keep in mind.

  • Because you are not there physically it is even more important that your dress reflects the culture of the company as you will be up close and personal with those interviewing you.
  • Prepare your surroundings. Consider what the interviewer will be looking at. Remember a cluttered background is distracting and communicates disorganization. You also do not want personal items showing as it demonstrates a lack of professionalism. A blank or neutral background is best with an organized desk.
  • Be sure to find a quiet location where you will not be interrupted.
  • Practice first. It is best to practice a Skype call first with a friend. Try looking at the camera so the interviewer sees your eyes as opposed to your eye lids.
  • Make sure your Wi-Fi connection is strong so there will not be any network issues on your end.
  • Don’t forget to smile. This is a little less natural since the interview is taking place remotely.
  • Stay present. Be an active listener, offering clues that you are hearing what they are saying. Interjecting listening sounds like “yes” gives the interviewer the indication that you can still hear them.
  • Be aware of any nervous habits as the sounds that come from tapping or tinkering with the keyboard are very distracting and difficult to hear past.
  • Address technical problems immediately. This might be uncomfortable to do but it is important that your interviews know you are having a hard time hearing them or that their connection is weak.
  • Go ahead and cheat! One advantage of a Skype or phone interview is that you can keep notes in front of you to glance at during the interview. Just be sure that you are not relying on them too much.

Phone Interview

Just like Skype interviews employers will sometimes request a phone interview in the beginning stages of the interviewing process. Below are a few tips that will help you prepare for this type of interview.

  • If the employer will be calling your personal cell phone be sure the phone is fully charged and the volume is adjusted to where you can hear the call.
  • Decide on a designated place for the phone interview where there will be no distractions and good reception.
  • While the interviewer cannot see your facial expressions they will be paying close attention to the tone of your voice. Be sure to sound enthusiastic and engaged.
  • Oftentimes employers will be typing or taking notes while you are talking. After you complete the answer to their question there might be a long pause. Do not continue talking; wait for the interviewer to initiate the next question.
  • While they cannot see your body language it is important that you are still aware of your nervous habits as it could come across in your voice or fidgeting could be heard in the background.
  • Address technical problems immediately. This might be uncomfortable to do but it is important that your interviews know you are having a hard time hearing them or that their connection is weak.
  • The interviewer will not be able to see any notes you might have, use this to your advantage!
Make an Appointment

Contact Career Services to set up a mock interview or make any other preparations. Email careercenter@bryan.edu or call 423.775.7164.