The interview is what will convince an employer that you are the best candidate for a position. It allows you face-to-face to demonstrate how your past experience (education, work, activities) fits the qualifications of the position and to show that you have an understanding of the position and organization and how you will fit in. It should also represent your self-confidence and enthusiasm. Just like a test or any other important event in life, you must be prepared:

  • Know yourself. Be ready to identify your abilities, accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses, goals, and priorities. Find examples on how to demonstrate each.
  • Research the organization, the product lines, and competitors. The Office of Career Services has lots of reference material and online resources.
  • Practice interviewing with friends or by taking advantage of Career Services practice interviews with a career counselor. Click here for some common questions asked by interviewers.
  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewers to gather more information about the company and to demonstrate that you have done your research during the interview.
  • Dress appropriately and conservatively. We have some suggestions on what to wear.
  • Be positive. This is not the place to knock your school or past employers. An optimist is more useful in an organization than a pessimist. If you are enthusiastic about past experiences, you are likely to be positive about future employers.
  • Follow up with a thank you letter. This is a must! You should thank everyone who assisted you with your job search immediately following the interview. It should show that you are courteous, knowledgeable, and professional, and should demonstrate your written communications skills. Be sure to restate your interest in the position and why you want the job, and perhaps include something you forgot to mention during the interview. And don't forget to say thanks!

Prepare to speak, act, and appear professional:

  • Speaking voice: Pitch ranges from low (bass) to high (soprano). Low voices are regarded as signs of authority. High voices are often regarded as signs of immaturity or lack of experience. Speed is the rate at which you speak. Speak at a moderate pace. Volume is the loudness of your voice. Do not speak too softly or loudly. You want to speak in the middle range. Inflection is the change in your pitch or tone. It gives your voice its life and personality. Enunciation is the clarity of your speech. Do not mumble. Practice telephone skills (see voicemail and caller ID in Electronic Device area below) to develop a professional businesslike telephone voice.
  • Handshake: Don’t underestimate the importance of a firm handshake. If you are at a reception, hold your glass in your left hand to avoid a cold handshake.
  • Nametags: When you meet others, their line of sight goes to the right. So wear your name tag on your left.
  • Receptions: When you enter a room, step to the right to survey the room. Don’t head for the food immediately. The objective of the reception is networking and meeting people, not eating. Don’t double dip your chips or vegetables into the dip. When you take an hors d’oeuvre on a toothpick, don’t put the toothpick back on the tray. Don’t stand or sit with people you know. Meet the employer representatives or other attendees. Show that you are comfortable in social situations. If you do wind up with a fellow student in your group, don’t use insider terms or discuss information another person may not understand. If you are at dinner, make conversation with people on both your left and right.
  • Proper decorum in introductions: Try to remember people’s names. Introduce yourself, “Willie Webmaster, New York Institute of Technology.” Let conversation flow naturally. Women as well as men should rise from their seats when introductions are being made. Put out your hand and say “How do you do?” The correct answer to “how do you do”? is “how do you do?” If you are introducing two people, introduce the lower ranking person to the higher, or the younger person to the older person.
  • Listening: Listening is an active communication skill that requires both hearing and thinking. It can help you develop rapport. Haste-based rudeness is a factor in modern life. Don’t look at your watch or appear impatient, even if the person who is speaking is boring. Listen to understand. Concentrate on important points. Stay involved in conversation and keep focused.  

Be aware of electronic devices:

  • Cell phones: Turn off your cell phone when you are in the company of others. If there is an emergency and immediate access is essential, apologize in advance for the inconvenience. If your phone rings, excuse yourself and take the call outside of the room.
  • Video conference call or interview: Look professional from head to toe. Just because the interviewer will not see you from the waist down, don’t wear jeans, sneakers, etc. Beware of transmission delays. Wait until the other person is finished before you speak.
  • E-mail: Write complete sentences using correct spelling and grammar. Organize your thoughts. Type in single space and double space between paragraphs. Write with discretion. Don’t write anything in e-mail you wouldn’t want everyone to see. Try to acknowledge e-mail within 24 hours or acknowledge receipt. Be sure to write subject field and close with a salutation such as “regards.” People can’t hear the tone of your voice, so choose words carefully.
  • Fax: Don’t fax anything you wouldn’t send in the mail. Include a cover sheet with your name, telephone number, fax number, number of pages being faxed, and date. Do not fax confidential material.
  • Voicemail: When you set up your outgoing voice mail message, do not have music, laughter, noise or interference in the background. Your message should be clear. When leaving messages on others’ voice mail, be concise and speak clearly. If your name is difficult to pronounce, spell it out. Repeat your contact number.
  • Caller ID: As a caller, your number may be recorded even if you don’t leave a message. Keep in mind that Caller ID gives control to the receiver of the call, not the caller. 
Get Started
Career Services Events
Feb 12, 2016

Internship Certificate Program - Orientation II

Feb 16, 2016

Internship Certificate Program - Orientation I

Feb 17, 2016

Internship Certificate Program - Orientation I

Feb 17, 2016

Free Webinar: Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead

Feb 18, 2016

Job Fair Boot Camp: Session #1 - How to Work a Job Fair