Nail the Interview

InterviewStream

InterviewStream

InterviewStream - is a customizable web based practice interview tool that helps candidates gain confidence by better knowing and preparing themselves for interviews. Students can conduct self-assessments or share their answers with a counselor for more personalized feedback. Technology requirements are : an internet connection, a Mac or PC and a webcam. Click on the InterviewStream icon to the right to access the link.

* Interviewing Handout 2013.pdf
Download the complete Interviewing Handout2013

10 Musts for your Next Interview

Step 1 - Do Your Research

Know as much as you can about the company you are interviewing with. Go beyond the “basics” by looking into things like future projects/trends, clients, mission, and culture.

Step 2 - Practice, Practice, Practice

Just because you are a “people person” doesn’t mean you’ll automatically ace the interview. Be familiar with talking about yourself, your goals, activities, projects, employment etc, through a practice interview in the Career Center - an important step in preparing yourself for the real thing. In this practice interview, a career counselor will videotape the interview, play it back, and critique it to help perfect your interviewing skills! Allow 1 hour for this session. Follow up with practicing out loud with a roommate or friend. Taking notes and thinking about your answers is great but you may find it differs from actually speaking your answers.    

Step 3- Be on time and be polite

Better yet, be a few minutes early! Make sure you know where the interview is taking place before the day of. Plan your route/method of travel early and keep things like traffic and delays in mind. Remember that everyone you meet on the day of the interview, from the secretary to the first year associate to the partner is involved in evaluating you even if it is informally.

Step 4 - Dress and act appropriately

Wear a suit! First impressions last! Make sure you maintain a neat, clean, professional appearance. High profile industries, especially, will expect a polished presentation which includes a suit even though you’re still a student. Have a firm hand shake, and maintain eye contact as well as straight posture and SMILE. Avoid perfume & cologne and wear simple jewelry. KEEP A FORMAL TONE - Address the interviewer as Mr. or Ms. unless directed otherwise. Avoid slang and overly familiar language. Avoid “filler language” such as “like” or “ummm.” KEEP EVERYTHING POSITIVE. Speak about yourself, even your weaknesses, in a positive light of growth and curiosity. SELL yourself and your skills!

Step 5 - Organize your thoughts

Your answers should be concise but also complete. Make sure you begin with the answer to their question and then follow up with examples and additional information. The more you practice and become familiar with questions that could potentially be asked, the more comfortable and organized you will be.

Step 6 - Be specific

This is one of the most important points. Don’t just tell an interviewer that you’re great – tell them WHY you are great for them! In other words, “sell, don’t tell.” Not only what did you do, but why is that significant? What are your top 3 strengths? How have you proven that throughout your college experience (ie an internship, project, activity, leadership position etc.)? If you cannot back something up do not talk about it in an interview. These things are what make you memorable. Set yourself apart from the other candidates interviewing for the same position.

Step 7 - Make a bridge between you and the employer

Again, this is one of the most important points. What are they looking for and how do YOU CONNECT with that? What types of things are mentioned in their job description? How do have you demonstrated those skills? Those are huge indicators in terms of the things you want to highlight in the interview.

Step 8 - Ask questions

Prove that you have been thoughtful about the process of interviewing by asking questions that reflect your knowledge of the field and/or position. Do NOT ask questions that raise “red flags” such as salary, vacation etc. The company should bring up salary first. Also avoid questions that can be easily answered by the organization’s webpage.

Step 9 - Send a thank you note

Send either a typed or emailed thank you note to all individuals you interviewed with. 

Ask for business cards while at the interview.
Whether you type and mail your thank you note or email it is up to you but sending it immediately is imperative.
Mention something that struck you from the interview (i.e. that was particularly interesting or that you learned). Personalizing thank you notes goes a long way. Feel free to follow up with any questions or information you did not feel you answered sufficiently.

Step 10- Evaluate

Is this a place you think you would enjoy working? Do you feel comfortable in the environment? Remember, part of an interview is also deciding if this is the type of position you would accept.

PHONE INTERVIEWS

Employers will often conduct interviews over the phone in the first round of the interview process, or if they are located at a distance from you and cannot arrange an in-person visit. The length of phone interviews can vary, so it is recommended that you ask the employer how long you should expect the conversation to last before scheduling your interview.

Phone interviews are similar to an in-person interview in that the types of questions asked and strategies to answering those questions are often the same. The fact that you will be speaking on the phone with the employer should not change your professional tone, enthusiasm for the position, or ideas about what to say in your answers.

Here are some specific tips & tricks to consider for maximizing your phone interview:

  • When possible, use a landline phone. If this is not an option, find a place where you know you have excellent reception for a cell phone or internet call
  • Make sure the area where you will be for the interview is background noise free.  Background noises will distract you and the interviewer.
  • You can have some notes and thoughts in front of you for the call, but be mindful that if you shuffle them too much, the employer will be able to hear it.
  • Smile. Although the employer will not be able to see you, interviews can tell when there is a smile in your tone. Be positive!
  • Sometimes it can help if you dress professionally for the phone interview even though you will not be seen. It may help put you in the mindset of a professional conversation

SKYPE INTERVIEWS

Skype interviews are another common method employers can use to interview you if an in-person meeting cannot be arranged. Like any interview, the length of a Skype interview can vary, so it is recommended to ask the employer how long you should expect the conversation to last before scheduling your interview.

Skype interviews are similar to any other interview in that the types of questions asked and strategies to answering those questions are the same. The fact that you will be on Skype with the employer should not change your professional tone or dress, enthusiasm for the position, or ideas about what to say in your answers.

Here are some specific tips & tricks to consider for maximizing your phone interview:

  • Since the employer will be able to see you via webcams, it is critical to dress professionally for a Skype interview. Suits and ties are your best bet. Be conservative with your color choices, as cameras and monitors may blur very bright colors.
  • Find an appropriate interview space. Be sure the area is free of background distractions, such as posters, pictures, and even noises. It’s important that the interviewer focus on you, not the room.
  • Check your internet connection, webcam, and microphone before the interview. Make sure technology is on your side. If possible, use a wired internet connection. When not possible, make sure you are in a place where the wireless connection is reliable.
  • Make “eye contact” with your interviewer by looking into the webcam when you speak, not at the person’s image on your screen. If you look at the image on the screen, it will appear to the interviewer that you are looking slightly downward.
  • For practice with webcam interviews, try InterviewStream – a free resource for Villanova students where you can use your internet connection and webcam to practice interviewing anytime. Visit the site and set up your account to begin: www.villanova.interviewstream.com
  • If you need a quiet space to conduct your phone or Skype interview, contact the Career Center.

For more details on Skype inerviews click here