The Graduate Series: Interviewing tips & tricks
Interviewing for a job is like auditioning for a play: you never know who will be watching, you have to know your lines and you have to remain calm and confident.
Keep calm. In essence, an interview is just a conversation. The interviewer knows you are bound to be a little nervous, and they’re generally somewhat forgiving on that front. Still, it may help to practice before your interview.
You can schedule a mock interview through Wright State’s Career Services office. This will help you know what you are going to say and how you will say it, which can keep you from squirming on the big day. If you are the fidgeting type, some people recommend keeping a very small object such as a paperclip in your hand. Then, if you begin to fidget, you are more likely to keep it on a small scale.
Look sharp. You do not have to resemble a magazine cover model, but you should make every effort to look professional. Never wear jeans to an interview!
Generally, standard of dress for an interview is following the expected dress code of the company or organization, but it is always best to err on the side of caution. If you think a skirt might be too short, or that you should wear a tie, you are probably right. An extra warning to women: simple makeup, simple jewelry and “practical” shoes (i.e. low, if any, heels) are a must.
Ask questions. When you are interviewing for a position, you want to show that you are interested in the company, its values and your potential job. Have a few questions prepared to ask your interviewer, but make sure they do not ask for information that can be readily found on a company website, or in an ad or brochure.
Do your own research. Learn about the company, the job description and the role of the interviewer in the organization. Knowing your stuff shows that you took the initiative to find out for yourself instead of waiting for someone to tell you.
Finally, body language can work wonders. Make sure you maintain open body positioning; no slouching or crossed arms, and be careful about crossed legs—they can close you off. Keeping your shoulders squared to the person you’re speaking to also conveys directness, attentiveness and respect. Remember, a firm, friendly handshake and a smile is a great way to start any interview.
Never forget that simple professional courtesy goes a long way. Arrive on time, never badmouth past employers and send your interviewer a thank-you note after the interview to ensure you will be remembered well.