Reaching the interview stage is an accomplishment; you have conquered the first half of the job search process. Being invited for an interview says that your resume or networking strategy has intrigued an organization enough to want to meet you. But you're only part way toward your new position. The successful job seeker acts on the following items when preparing for and conducting interviews.
Be Prepared. Stand Out from the Competition.
Research potential employers. It is important to adequately research the organization with whom you are interviewing. Important points to research and know about the employer are:
- Annual sales
- Structure and size of the organization
- Corporate headquarters location
- Company history
- Product lines/services
- Geographic locations
Resources for finding this information
- Company insights from D&B Hoovers
- Fast Company
- Career Insider (through MyCareer: CWRU network ID and password required)
For more detailed suggestions on researching an organization, view the Career Search Guide section on company research.
Dress for Success
Although the dress code may vary depending on the employer or organization, you clothing should appear professional for an interview. Dress according to your style and finances; however, be aware of the following tips:
- Select clothing that fits you properly and comfortably.
- Your outfit should be clean and wrinkle-free.
- When in doubt, neutral colors (e.g., black, taupe, beige, brown, blue and gray) are good options.
- Stay true to who you are. If you are uncomfortable wearing a suit or dress, opt for something that will make you feel comfortable and confident, while still professional.
- Avoid wearing strong fragrances like perfume or cologne.
Be certain that you know the title and have reviewed the description of the position for which you are interviewing. Practice answering specific questions and/or schedule a mock interview with the Career Lab (through Handshake).
When answering interview questions, share information pertinent to the situation. When asking or answering a question, be succinct. Don't be too brief by giving one-word answers or so wordy that the interviewer may become bored. Avoid sounding like a robot, don't rehearse your lines to the point you sound scripted. Stay focused on the subject and respond to the question asked.
Elaborate on your answers. Don't respond with only a "yes," "no," "yes I really enjoyed that class." Tell the interviewer why—give some supporting detail.
Remember you generally have 30 minutes to elicit the information you will need and convey as much to the recruiter about yourself as possible.
Interview styles vary by industry. We've prepared some guides to help you plan for the types of questions you may be asked or the format of the interview itself: