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Job Interview


How to prepare for your in person interview

Interviews are one of the most important steps in the hiring process. At this point, you have likely impressed your potential employer with your resume and cover letter, but you must now prove that you are a strong, well-rounded candidate. So how do you make sure you are optimizing your interview process? 

  1. Do your research. Research the company, and look at current news articles to provide insights about the company. You can mention current events at the company in your interview to show awareness and impress your interviewer. ​If you know who will be interviewing you, try to find them on LinkedIn to learn about their interests, background, and perspectives on any company. Make sure to also review the job description as you will be expected to understand the qualifications needed to perform successfully in the role.

  2. Practice your answers and prepare your stories. Interviewers may ask more in-depth questions to assess your problem-solving abilities. The best responses use stories that demonstrate experience. Your anecdotes should follow the STAR method - 

    1. Situation: describe the challenge you faced

    2. Task: Explain your role in the situation

    3. Action: Detail the steps you took to overcome the challenge

    4. Result: Explain what happened after you took action

  3. Create a list of questions to ask. At the end of the conversation, interviews will ask whether you have any questions. The questions you have should help determine whether the job is the right fit for you. Some good questions to ask are about any specifics of the role, company culture, or advancement opportunities.

  4. Plan what you wear. Choose an appropriate, professional outfit - it is always better to overdress than underdress. This may include a button-up shirt, pressed slacks, and suit jacket for men. For women this can include a button-up shirt/blouse, pressed slacks/skirt, suit jacket, or a dress. Make sure your clothing does not have stains, and iron or steam them to ensure they are wrinkle-free. Remember to also bring items to the interview such as copies of your resume, a pen, and notepad.

How to prepare for your Zoom interview

Many organizations have transitioned to conduct remote interviews due to the new hybrid/remote work model. Some aspects of standard/in-person interview won't change. You will still need to research the company, practice your answers and prepare your stories, think of questions to ask the interviewer, and plan a work-appropriate outfit to wear.

But there are some differences in preparing for a virtual interview. Rachel Loock, a career and leadership coach at the Robert H. Smith School of Business has come up with some tips for a Zoom interview.

  1. Test the tech. Enlist a friend or family member to perform a test run of the technology. This will help alleviate potential glitches, and make sure all software/wifi is working well. Natural, or soft lighting, will help you look your best. If you can create a serene, professionally styled setting or use a background that's already been created is great. But a plain, neutral-colored wall works just as well

  2. Set the stage/background. Take a look at everything the camera puts in view during your online interview. Position your camera somewhere that is free of background noise and visual distractions. Natural or soft lighting will help you look your best. If you can create a serene, professional setting, or use a pre-created background, that great. But a plain, neutral-colored wall works just as well. 

  3. Adjust your settings. Make sure your account includes a professional looking headshot and your full name. Both will appear when you join the call.

  4. Check your posture. Body language is important and does convey over video. Remember to sit up straight and lean in slightly. Nod or smile at appropriate moments to project enthusiasm.                                                                        leaving this white so there is space in between the lines

  5. Check in.  When there are multiple people on the call, it can be a challenge to properly address everyone. Don't hesitate to backtrack on a question, verifying that an individual interviewer feels you answered it sufficiently. Address the interviewer(s) by name, where possible. For questions that speak directly to your core competencies or experiences, ask the group if they would like more examples,
    anecdotes, or if anyone wants you to elaborate. Those simple check-in questions can make sure you’re tending to and connecting with everyone on the call.


  6. Thank the interviewers.  After you’ve answered the interviewers’ questions and they’ve answered yours, thank them for their time. Relax your shoulders and get started writing personalized thank-you emails to everyone in the interview, just as you would if it had been
    conducted in person.

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