Interview Preparation Tips (Part 5 of 20)
Examrace Placement Series prepares you for the toughest placement exams to top companies.
Application Tips by Subject
Everything should be spelled correctly and free of grammatical errors.
If your handwriting is not legible, type the application. Do not make typing errors, especially if you are applying for a job which requires typing.
Your resume should not be more than two or three pages. Too much detail or verbosity will work against you.
A good resume lists skills and qualifications. This is the area where you emphasize background that is related to the job you want. Volunteer work, special achievements or awards should also be listed if relevant.
A cover letter is optional. However, this is your chance to summarize your qualifications and show their relevance to the job. A cover letter is especially important when using printed or photocopied resumes that are not “tailored” to the job.
Many positions require writing skills, analytical ability, or the ability to draft correspondence. A cover letter gives you the opportunity to showcase these skills.
Be prepared to provide the names and phone numbers of references. These should be individuals who can verify your employment, job responsibilities and qualifications. It is only courteous, and may save you some surprises, to call your references to ask their permission before giving out their names.
The interview is critical; therefore, through your answers, you must be able to establish that your qualifications are those the University and the specific hiring authority seek. In addition to your work history and educational background (if required), your strengths and accomplishments will also be important.
An interview is an important screening tool for the University, but it also allows you to learn the things you need to know about the position and the University so you can make an intelligent decision about the job. Ask the interviewers questions about things that are important to you (e. g. working conditions, hours and overtime).
Preparation for the Interview
You will be asked to relate your qualifications to the job requirements. Obtain a copy of the job description to read and make notes if necessary, then analyze your qualifications point by point. Think of examples of how you handled similar or parallel tasks and be prepared to describe these examples. Remember that the interviewers are interested only in those experiences you have had that directly relate to the position they are offering, so stay on the subject. Do not get sidetracked with irrelevancies.
Practice. Have others review your application and/or resume and obtain critiques to improve the marketing of your qualifications.
Participate in mock interviews, practice impromptu speaking skills, and accept every opportunity to interview for on-and off-campus jobs.
Consider taking courses and workshops that will help you with oral and written communication skills.
Items to consider bringing to the Interview
Use former supervisors who are familiar with your work.
Include their names, titles, companies, and phone numbers.
Review your resume thoroughly and be prepared to discuss all points.
Always bring a resume copy identical to the one supplied to the interviewer.
Bring along samples of your work, if possible.
Bring a folder and pen to the interview to jot down notes.
Bring directions to the interview location as well as the interviewer's phone number in case you are running late.
Arrival at the Interview
Arrive no earlier than fifteen minutes before the interview (but no later than five minutes prior to the interview).
Allow adequate time for traffic, parking, and a last minute appearance check. If possible, scout out the location the day before the interview to avoid last minute problems.
Review your notes and go in with confidence.
Here are some tips on how to arrive ready to win the competition:
Do your research about the company Never walk into an interview without knowing about the products and services provided by the company. Find out about its corporate culture and future projects so that you can demonstrate how you can contribute to the company as it continues to grow. Have a solid understanding about its mission and values so that you can inquire about the company's aims.
Plan your schedule Find out the exact location of the office where you will be interviewed and make plans to arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview. If you must, look up bus schedules or plan alternate routes if you anticipate traffic jams. It is impossible to recover from a late arrival at your interview, so avoid being late altogether.
Dress appropriately Dress a notch above your day-to-day work attire. For example, if everyone wears blue jeans to work, arrive in dress slacks and a sport shirt (for men) or in a skirt and a blouse (for women). If applying for a job in an office environment, both men and women should wear a business suit.
Rehearse Prepare a list of interview questions you can expect to be asked at an interview. Know what you are going to say before the interview. To be best prepared, write down your answers, and go over the information several times the day before the interview. Ask a friend or relative to assist as you practice answering those questions in a mock interview. Despite all the practice, however, always anticipate questions you did not expect to be asked. Such questions help to demonstrate your adaptability and ability to think on the spot.
Prepare two or three questions to ask the interviewer. The questions should seek some specific information about the responsibilities of the job, future projects, and organizational structure.
Here are some key questions you can ask during an interview:
What are the day-to-day responsibilities of the person in this position?
Why is this position open?
What is the career path for this position in this company?
Where does this position fit into the overall organizational structure of the company?
Are there important changes such as expansion of products or services, which will affect my position?
Are the procedures of the position completely developed or is a person encouraged to contribute innovative new ideas?