Interviews

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Interviews

Career Development has resources to help prepare students for the interview process. Mock Interviews, offered in Career Development, give students the opportunity to practice interview techniques. For current and accurate salary information, please use the NACE Salary Calculator Center.

Prepare

Know the Employer

Gather as much information as you can about the organization you are about to interview with. Information you might want to know regarding a potential employer includes:

  • Relative size of the firm or industry
  • Potential for growth in the industry
  • Annual sales growth rate in the last five years
  • Array of product lines or services
  • Potential new markets, products or services
  • Competitors Organizational structure
  • Recent items in the news
  • Typical career path in your field
  • Corporate culture
  • Salaries and benefits
  • Mission Statement

Communicate Your Strengths and Accomplishments

  • Know yourself -- your general career interests, abilities, and enthusiasms. Be able to articulate past experience (whether paid, volunteer, internship or any other kind of experience) that relates to the requirements of the position for which you are applying.
  • Be able to describe transferable skills that relate specifically to this job.
  • Prepare a 30 Second Bio. Two minutes of why you want to work here and what skills and qualifications you have to offer. This prepared piece is always helpful when the dreaded question "Tell me about yourself," is asked.
  • Develop ten questions about the company prior to the interview. Questions regarding product, work environment, specifics of position, company's outlook, etc. Your questions allow the interviewer to evaluate your professional and personal needs, as well as help both of you determine whether your relationship will be mutually rewarding.
  • Know how the opportunity will impact your immediate and long-term career development.
  • Know the exact time and place of the interview, the interviewer's full name, the correct pronunciation and title. Arrive early.

Where can you get this information?

  • Annual reports/brochures published by the company, Office of Career Development, or UW Tacoma Library.
  • Read through local, state, and national directories. Some examples are: Standard and Poor's Register, Dunn and Bradstreet's Million Dollar Directory, and Directory of Major Employers, Central Puget Sound Region. These directories and others like them are available on campus at the UW Tacoma Library.
  • Talk to people who work in the company if possible.

Practice

  • Develop answers to common interview questions. Write the answer, and then practice saying the answer out loud.
  • Have someone ask you the questions and give you feedback on your answers, as well as habits and mannerisms while you speak. Do a mock interview with a career counselor.
  • Use a video camera to record yourself while responding to some of the questions.
  • Pay attention to your body language, eye contact, and general demeanor. Avoid nervous habits like playing with a pencil in your hand, or fiddling with jewelry or clothes. Relax so you can smile naturally.
  • As you frame your answers to the questions asked, make an effort to speak positively. Positive words and phrases that might describe your past experiences include:
Well organized Attention to detail
Problem solver Flexible
Ability to make quick decisions Creative
Can establish good rapport with people Ability to motivate
Diplomatic Sense of priorities

Presentation

Resume

  • Your resume is the employer's first impression of you. It should be well organized, easy to read, free of misspellings and printed on high-quality paper by a laser or letter quality printer.
  • Be prepared to speak of everything on your resume. Give specific examples of your work, in a sense, tell stories from your experience.

Dress

  • Match the standards of the workplace. If you are unsure about dress code, always err on the conservative side.
  • Avoid an overabundance of perfume, aftershave lotion, make-up, jewelry, or hairspray.

Closing the Interview

  • If you are interested in the position, ask for it, or ask for the next interview if the situation demands. If you feel the job is attractive and you want an offer made, be a good salesperson and say something like this: "Mr./Ms. Employer, I'm very impressed with what I've seen here today, your company, its products and the people I've met. I am confident I could do an excellent job in the position you've described to me." The interviewer will be impressed with your enthusiasm.
  • If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected, do not let your discouragement show. Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested in your possibilities may seem to discourage you in order to test your reaction.
  • Thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration.
  • At the end of the interview ask if they have any additional questions about your qualifications.

Thank You Notes

  • It is very important to write a thank you note to the individual(s) who interviewed you! Here's a sample of what that looks like, plus tips.
  • There is not a designated time frame of when this is most appropriate; as soon as possible is the best advice to follow!