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: Case 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
Your appearance during an interview is very important. Your clothes should be professional looking. That means the outfit is tailored, conservative, and businesslike. Dress according to your style and finances; however, be aware of the following tips:
Men: A tailored suit, generally darker colors, i.e., black, brown, navy, gray. A light-colored shirt and tie. Dress socks. Dress shoes that are polished. If you have facial hair, make sure it is trimmed neatly.
Women: A tailored, conservative suit. If no suit is available, then a conservative dress will work. The hemline should be a conservative length (try to keep it two inches below the knee). Jewelry should be minimal. Wear clear or neutral-colored nail polish. Light make-up. Hose with no runs and closed-toe shoes.
Both men and women: Make sure your hair is properly combed and styled. Do not wear any cologne or perfume. Avoid visible body piercing (nose, eyebrow, and tongue.) Make sure that your clothing is ironed or pressed. Buy a nice portfolio to carry your extra resumes and other materials. Also remember to not smoke, chew gum, or eat during your interview.
Talk to a career counselor if you have questions about appropriate dress and appearance in interviews. Remember: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
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: