Office of Career Services
Interviewing for jobs can be scary and nerve-wracking! Be ready for anything and everything. Practice, practice, practice! We suggest completing the mock interview process where we will give you all the tips you’ll need for interview success!
We’ll make it as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4!
1. Set an appointment
Call our office at 662-846-4646 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to meet with a Career Services staff member.
2. Get training***
Attend a one-on-one tips and training session. Here, we’ll do a “pre-mock interview”. We will discuss body language, dress code and questions you might be asked on an interview. We can provide suggestions on how to answer typically asked interview questions. Bringing an up-to-date copy of your resume is suggested.
***After this step, you may feel additional assistance is not needed. We do suggest, however utilizing steps 3 and 4 for optimal results.
3. Have an actual mock interview
A few days after the pre-mock interview session, you’ll have a mock interview. Your interviewer (more than likely a faculty or staff member) will pose as an actual representative from the company that you’re going to be interviewing with. Just like in a real interview, you’ll be rated on how effectively you answer questions, how you dress, your body language, punctuality, etc.
4. Follow up
We will follow up after the mock interview to discuss suggestions made by your interviewer.
By completing this process, you’ll be ready to ace your interview!
Check out the suggestions below for interview success!
Do your homework!
Number 1 piece of advice from employers who are looking to hire? “Be prepared to answer the question, ‘What do you know about this organization?'” Do some research on the company…find out their mission, values, services/products, age of the company, competitors and anything else you can find!
Be ready for anything!
No matter what industry, several common questions will come up in any interview. Anticipate questions that they may ask and have a game plan. Some of the more commonly asked questions are listed below. Practice by having someone ask you sample questions, and schedule a mock interview with Career Services. We will tailor a mock interview to the organization/opportunity you are applying to and will provide specific suggestions for how you might improve before the actual interview.
- Tell me a little bit about yourself. – This question sounds easy enough, but can be difficult to answer skillfully. The employer doesn’t want your life story, just a brief introduction. Some things to include: your geographical origins, your educational background, how you became interested in the field, 2 or 3 strengths related to the job, and how you like to relax. Keep it short! 60-90 seconds.
- What are your strengths? – Before you can answer this question, spend some time thinking about what you do well. Ask a former supervisor, teacher, or co-worker for suggestions. Once you have identified your strengths, don’t be bashful! This is your time to shine. Don’t just tell them that you are good at something; provide an example as to when you demonstrated these strengths.
- In what areas do you need improvement? – Ahhh! The “weakness” question. Don’t panic. The best way to answer this question is to identify an area of the industry/company that you don’t have as much experience in and express your interest and excitement on learning more. For example: “I don’t have a lot of experience in tax based accounting, but I am interested in learning more.” Concentrating on your lack of expertise as opposed to personal character flaws is the best way to go.
- Do you have any questions for me? – This is an easy one…YES! You should always have questions to ask the interviewer. Here are just a few to consider: 1. What will be my responsibilities? 2. Where will I fit into the overall organizational structure? 3. Who will I report to? 4. Where is the company going? Upwards? Expansion plans? 5. What are the chances of advancements? Promotions? 6. Will traveling be involved and required in this position? 7. Will relocation be required in this position now or in the future? 8. What training do you provide? 9. What is the timeline for the hiring process?
Dress to impress!
Nowhere is the old adage “you never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression” more true than in the interview process. You should always look your best. A well-fitted suit is the way to go. Think conservative – you want to be noticed by what you are saying, rather than by what you are wearing! Suits in grays, blacks, or browns are your best bet. Make sure that your hair is well kept and trim/clean your fingernails. For guys, no jewelry (other than a watch and wedding/class ring). For the ladies, with jewelry, less is more. Apply the rule of one (one ring per hand, one watch/bracelet per arm, one necklace, one pair of earrings, and one pin or broach). Your interview is a time for you to demonstrate your creativity in your work, not your dress. Save the tube top and mini skirt for the weekend.
Early is on time…on time is late!
Never, never, never, never, never, never, never be late for an interview!!! Plan your day so that you can arrive at least 15 minutes early. Allow extra time for wrong directions and bad weather. Once you arrive, let the receptionist know you are there and excuse yourself to the restroom. Check your hair, makeup, tie, blouse, shoes, teeth, etc. Take a few deep breaths to relax, and walk out the door ready to knock their socks off!
Say thank you!
At one time, only the most thoughtful candidates wrote “thank-you” notes after the interview. Now…the secret is out! Everyone writes them, so you should too. Though situations may vary by industry, a handwritten thank-you note on personalized stationary sent within 24 hours of last contact is still the best way to go. Thank them for their time, reiterate your interest in the position, and state when you hope to hear from them again. Be sure to proofread and write legibly. Collecting business cards throughout the day keeps you from scrambling for an address later.
The following are a list of commonly asked questions that might be posed to you during a job interview. Following the question are answers or tips on how to best answer the question.
1. Tell me about yourself.
-60 seconds brief introduction; talk about experiences, qualifications, and why you are interviewing
2. What do you know about our company?
-Know facts- do research, utilize the internet, get an annual report
3. Why should I hire you?
-What are your strengths/what do you have to offer a company that is special?
4. Tell me something about yourself.
-First you must know what is on your resume
5. Why do you want to work for us?
-Companies want to be wanted- keep it simple- know why you want this particular job!
6. How many employers have you worked for in the last five years?
-Tell the truth- this can be verified- a dishonest answer can put you back on the street.
DO NOT BLAME OTHERS FOR YOUR PROBLEMS.
7. Tell me about your last job.
-Duties, responsibilities, ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
8. Why are you leaving that job?
-Job stagnation, down sizing, or simply a bad choice.
9. Tell me about your education/training.
-How did it help you prepare for the job?
10. Did you enjoy school? Why? What was your favorite class?
-The supervisor may want to know if you enjoy learning and if you can benefit from their training.
11. Did you join any school/community activities? Why?
-Are you sociable? Do you enjoy being part of a group? Do you work well with others?
12. Do you plan to continue your education?
-Be careful what you say- this can suggest growth, ambition, promotability or suggest you will not give your full attention to the job.
13. How do you relax after work?
-This could be to check for energy levels. In high stress jobs it could be a check for release or you are being recruited for the softball team- be honest- but do develop an outlet. Read? Hunting? Fishing? Work out?
14. What do you plan to be doing in five years? What are your career goals?
-Continue training, education, certification? Management?
15. What is your greatest accomplishment/disappointment? What did you learn?
-A personal touch can work; however, be careful about expressing personal disappointment, you do not want to appear unstable. A focus on work can say you have a one track mind or you are dedicated. Family life could say you cannot work overtime or travel- know your company culture. Balance is important.
16. What is your greatest weakness?
-Focus on work not character, find something that could be a strength. Attention to detail is a worn-out answer. I dont know when to quit.
17. What is your greatest strength?
-Dependability, loyalty, team player, self-motivated
18. Tell me about a goal you have set for yourself in the past and how successful you were in accomplishing this goal.
-Have some examples ready (complete a certification, save for a particular item)
19. What experience have you had with a co-worker/roommate when information was miscommunicated. How did you solve that problem?
-A punch in the nose is a wrong answer. Describe briefly the situation and outcome.
20. Tell me about a time you were in a situation you could not handle. What did you do?
-Show maturity and judgement
21. Who are your heroes? Why?
-Think about it!
22. Tell me about a situation in which others did not pull their weight and how you handled it.
23. What kind of salary are you looking for?
– “I have no set salary. What salary is usually offered to someone with my qualifications?” If the manager persists, give a general answer like, “somewhere in the teens,” or “somewhere in the thirties.”
24. Do you have any questions for me?
– Yes thank you, I do have a few questions.
– If hired, would I be filling a newly created position, or replacing someone?
– Was my predecessor promoted?
– Would you describe a typical workday and the things I would be doing?
– Which duties are most important for this job? Least important?
– How would I be trained or introduced to the jobs? Evaluated?
1. Dress Appropriately
- Suit or tailored dress in solid or subtle color
- Polished and closed toe shoes, basic dark, pumps with medium or low heels
- Nails subtle if polished, clean and not chipped
- Clutch or small shoulder bag, choose between an attache case or handbag (not both)
- Make-up should be minimal
- Simple and basic jewelry
- Always wear hosiery and keep color neutral
- Light cologne, if any
- No smoking or chewing gum
- One ring per hand with exception of the wedding set
- Quality pen
- Navy, charcoal gray or pin-stripe suit
- Shined shoes, Tassel loafers, wing tip or laced shoes preferred (match belt to shoes)
- Clean nails
- Solid white or blue dress shirt
- Conservative tie, simple and neat (avoid loud or excessive designs)
- Avoid flashy cuff links, rings or neck chains
- Over the calf dark socks (match socks to suit)
- No strong fragrant cologne
2. Have your documents handy
You may wish to carry a briefcase or professional looking notebook/folio with your questions written in advance. It is a good idea to include additional copies of your resume and letters of reference.
3. Arrive at least 10-15 minutes early
Remember, you only have one opportunity to make a good first impression. Thus, it is critical that you arrive on time to an interview. Arriving late to an interview not only wastes the interviewer’s time, but also sends the message that you are not serious about your job search or about keeping commitments.
4. During the interview
Hopefully, you have spent a considerable amount of time preparing for the interview because it will be clear to the interviewer whether or not you are prepared.
Other things you should be aware of during the interview…
- Don’t address the interviewer by his/her first name unless invited to do so. Pay attention to his/her title and be formal (ex. “Good afternoon, Dr. Smith. Thank you for meeting with me today…”)
- Don’t let the employer’s casual approach fool you – maintain a professional image.
- Don’t dominate the interview.
- Don’t criticize yourself.
- Don’t discuss personal problems.
- Don’t speak or act in a nervous manner.
- Don’t ask questions that the interviewer has already answered.
- Don’t be a “yes”-person – elaborate on your answers. Any time you can, support your answers with actual examples from your background.
- Don’t interrupt when the interviewer is talking.
- Don’t bring up negative information about past jobs, co-workers or former employers.
- Don’t be arrogant.
- Don’t be discouraged. If you don’t succeed at first, KEEP TRYING!
5. After the interview
It is a good habit to send the interviewer a thank-you letter as soon as possible after the interview. Be sure to reiterate your interest in the position and the organization. If you get no response from a thank-you letter or if a date has passed when an employer was to contact you, don’t hesitate to phone the organization. Above all, let them know of your continuing interest in them.
Questions to Ask the Employer
You should always have questions prepared to ask the employer at the end of an interview. Use the following as a guideline:
1. What will be my responsibilities?
2. Where will I fit into the overall organizational structure?
3. Who will I report to?
4. Where does he/she fit in the structure?
5. Who will report to me?
6. How experienced are they?
7. What do you expect me to do the first 6 months?
8. What level of performance do you expect from me?
9. Who are your customers?
10. Where is the company going? Upwards? Expansion plans?
11. What are the chances of advancements? Promotions?
12. What will be my salary, benefits, and bonuses? Do not bring this up to early in the interview process. Wait until they are sold on you.
13. Will traveling be involved and required in this position?
14. Will relocation be required in this position now or in the future?
15. What training do you provide?
16. When will you decide on the appointment?
17. What is the next step?