Find out how to "sell yourself" on the interview. Career
advisors can provide valuable advice and tips on how to prepare for
and communicate your skills during a job interview, how to dress
for interviews and what questions
may be asked during an interview. Attend an interview seminar and
schedule a mock interview to learn more.
Prepare for Your Interviews
Assess Your Strong Points
- Know your strengths. List your achievements and successes. All
of us are different, unique, gifted, and special. Your awareness of
this is the key to a good interview.
- Assess The Qualifications And Personal Qualities Needed For The
Position For Which You Are Interviewing
- Research what the interviewer will look for in the person they
are seeking to fill a position. What qualities must that person
possess in order to be successful? What technical skills are needed
for the position?
After completing the above steps, match your strengths with
those needed for the position you are seeking. The qualifications
and qualities desired are the ones you must stress that you possess
during your interview.
Show Or Explain How You Have
Demonstrated These Skills
An interviewer will ask questions that will require you to give
examples of how you have used certain skills and displayed certain
qualities. Be prepared with short descriptions of each experience.
Just stating that you possess desired qualities is not enough!
Regardless of whether or not you are asked, give specific, clear
and concise examples of your performance. Some qualities they may
be interested in are leadership, decision making, organizational
skills, problem solving, interpersonal skills, etc. This style of
interviewing, "Behavioral Interviewing" is commonly used today. The
premise is that your past behavior is the best indication of your
future behavior. Your answers will be based on fact, not
Research The Organization
It is not enough to just read the information given to you. You
must study and analyze it. Keep in mind during this process that
you must ask how you can be an asset to the company. Information
about the company may be available at the University Career
Services, on the Internet, in the library, through people you know,
or alumni of St. John's who are employed at the firm.
Prepare A Variety Of Questions That You
Would Like To Ask
After researching the company, check to see if there are any areas
that you would like clarified. The questions you ask should be
original. They should be about a variety of areas. The questions
you ask must not be answered in the recruitment literature that you
are expected to know beforehand.
Demonstrate to the interviewer that you are interested in the job
and in the company. Explain how you have prepared for the position
desired. Always accentuate the positive about yourself, your
education, and your experiences. Maintain good eye contact and
appropriate body language. Look at the interviewer, but do not
stare the interviewer down. Sit in a relaxed but interested manner.
Let your body language communicate that you are truly
Practice Your Presentation
While spontaneity and honesty are important to all interviewing,
direct answers presented in a logical manner are valued.
Communication skills are valued by recruiters, therefore, make sure
that you demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly,
logically, and with self assurance. Schedule a videotaped Mock
Interview through the University Career Services to 'see' and
'hear' how you interview, before the real interview.
Act Relaxed And Prepared
Although it is normal to be somewhat apprehensive about any
interview, it is important that you appear calm and collected.
Companies desire people who can handle stress effectively. If you
appear nervous and afraid this may work against you. Take deep
breaths and exhale slowly, and try to recall something positive or
Thank The Interviewer
At the end of the interview shake the person's hand and thank him
or her for spending this time with you. Ask for a business card and
write a thank-you letter that same day. Remember good etiquette is
highly valued. There are many other comments which can be made
about the interviewing process, but, like all interaction between
two people there are not set rules or procedures which will
guarantee a successful outcome. The best advice anyone can offer is
. . . "Be yourself, but know yourself."
Key Points to Remember
- Always check your appearance before being greeted by the
- Greet the interviewer by the individual's last name (e.g.
Ms./Mr. Smith) in a friendly but businesslike manner. Do not
address the interviewer by first name unless specifically advised
to do so.
- Introduce yourself in a firm, confident manner.
- Shake hands firmly. It is appropriate for the candidate to
initiate this gesture.
- When you get into the interview room, remain standing until you
are offered a seat. After a certain time period, if the interviewer
has not offered you a seat, ask: "May I be seated?"
- Once seated, sit erectly but not rigidly. Place your arms and
hands on the armrests of the chair or in your lap if there are no
armrests. Avoid uncalled-for gestures.
Avoid writing notes during the interview. However, immediately
after leaving the interview, take a few moments to jot down key
points that you want to be certain to remember.
- Avoid a boring presentation. Retain the interviewer's attention
by varying the tempo of your speech and the tone of your
- Remember, this is your sales presentation. Take the opportunity
to present yourself in a logical, confident manner.