Before the Interview
These basics all contribute to a professional demeanor
that is fundamental in the interview process.
- Be on Time - You should
arrive at least 5-10 minutes prior to the interview. Nothing leaves a
worse first impression than keeping the interviewer waiting, regardless
of the reason. If you are late due to an emergency, phone ahead.
- Know Where You Are Going
- If you have not been to the place where your interview will be, it is
a good idea to visit before the day of your interview so that you can
plan what route you will take and where you will park. Once you know
where you are going then you can make sure to give yourself sufficient
time to get there.
- Get Food and Rest -
Equip your body with enough food and rest before the interview. This
will help you to feel your best, which in turn will help you to look
and perform your best.
- Dress Properly - Dress
for success - you will be judged by your appearance. As a general rule
you should dress one stage up from what the position itself would
require or suggest. For most office-type positions, both males and
females should wear formal business attire. Also make sure that your
clothing is clean and that you are well groomed with natural looking
make-up and hair.
- Bring the Necessities -
If possible, prepare a portfolio of your best work to show the
employer. This is more relevant for certain occupations, but can be
appropriate in many different circumstances. Before the interview you
should prepare a list of references to bring with you. You may also
want to bring letters of recommendation. Finally, extra copies of
transcripts, resumes, or other relevant documents will be handly. You
will look professional if you can save your employer the trouble of
Your objective at the
interview is to be able to describe your skills as they relate to the
position or organization, and to evaluate whether the position is one
that you want. In order to do this, you should first ensure that you
know the employer, the industry, and yourself. Then you should prepare
questions to ask at the interview, answers for questions that you think
you will be asked at the interview, and examples (to supplement these
answers) that demonstrate your skills and abilities. Finally, you
should rehearse in an interview-like situation.
- Research the Employer
and Industry - This impresses your potential employer and put you a
step ahead of others. Just as importantly, it may also help you to
decide if you want to work for this employer and in this industry. Find
out about the organization's size, structure, history,
products/services, customers/clients, competitors, geographic
locations, and any current news. Also put some time into researching
issues, trends, and current events in the field. Such information can
be found at your campus career centre (company literature) the library
(periodicals, magazines), by contacting the company itself (annual
reports, recruitment or public relations literature), through
networking (talking to those who work at the company or within the
industry) as well as on the Internet (company Website).
- Research the Position -
To find out information about the position you can consult the job
description if it is available, or conduct an informational interview
with someone in a similar position/occupation.
- Have Questions Prepared
- Make a list of questions that you would like to have answered at the
interview. See Questions You Can Ask for an idea of some of the things
that you might want to inquire about. Remember that the interview is as
much a chance for you to evaluate the employer and position as it is
for the interviewer to evaluate you. Also, this is your chance to
demonstrate your knowledge about the firm.
- Know Yourself - You
should be able to identify and articulate your interests, transferable
skills and abilities, key accomplishments, and personal and
professional strengths and weaknesses. Think carefully about what you
want to impart at the interview and how you will do so.
- Review Your
Résumé - Look over your
résumé and a copy
of the cover letter that you sent to this employer. You should be able
to expand upon every point and to answer any question about the
information in these documents, especially those areas which might be
of concern to the employer.
- Prepare Answers to
Common Questions - As certain types of questions are asked in most
interviews, be prepared, and plan how you will answer them. Be sure
that you relate all of your answers to the position. Here are some
Questions They MIght Ask.
- Think of Examples
Demonstrating Your Skills - To supplement your answers, you should
prepare examples that demonstrate your relevant transferable skills.
For each skill be ready to describe a situation from your past work (or
academic) experience where you used it effectively.
- Rehearse - Once you know
what you want to ask and how you will answer questions at the interview
you should practice with a friend or professional. Many college career
offices have a mock interview service. Take advantage of this - it will
make a difference! The more you practice your answers, the more
confidence you will have and the more coherent and effective you will
be at the actual interview.