Career Service for Alumni

Interviews can be stressful, time consuming and confusing. Knowing the message you want to send, representing yourself in a positive manner, answering the questions "right" and leaving that lasting impression, how do you do it? Here are some helpful hints to making sure you impress the employers and receive a second interview!

Before the interview:

  • Arrive at least 5 minutes before your scheduled interview. Be prepared for traffic delays, wrong directions, finding a parking spot, and getting past security.
  • For every interview, even if it’s volunteer work, dress appropriately. This means no holes in your pants, no sandals, clean shaven, and hair nicely tied back for guys who have long hair
  • Turn your cell phone off!
  • Bring a portfolio with something to write on/with and extra copies of your resume and cover letter.
  • Find out as much as your can about the employer you’re interviewing with and prepare question to ask.
  • The minute you leave your house, watch what you say and do. The person you’re interviewing with might be the same person that rode in the elevator with you.

During the interview:

  • Keep your breath fresh, but don't chew gum during the interview.
  • Use open non-verbal communication, sit forward and properly, and pay attention to what the person is talking about by nodding your head or simply saying "yes" after a statement.
  • Always have questions available at the end of the interview. This proves that you are interested in the position and shows that you are prepared and value their time.
  • A great way to ask questions is to repeat a statement or fact about the company/program and turn it into your own question, for example:
  • Employer: "We currently are working with three other companies in trying to construct green houses for the Syracuse Elementary Schools."
  • You: "You mentioned before that you are working within the community, can you tell me a little bit about what has been completed thus far?"
  • By repeating it implies that you are paying attention and seem to be interested in the company and their projects.
  • If you want the job, ask for it! Before you leave say, “I want you to know I am very interested in this job and hope you give my application serious consideration.”

After the interview:

  • Before you leave, ask the overall length of time they will need to get back to you. Be patient, they might have a lot of people interviewing for the same position. Follow up if you don’t hear anything.
  • Make sure to shake the employers hand and thank them for their time.
  • Write a follow up thank you letter to anyone with whom you have spoken.
  • If you accept a different job offer or determine the company is not the right fit for you, inform the person you interviewed with so they can pursue other candidates.

Here are some links that might also help you prepare for your interview!

  • Interviewing Advice: A series of articles touching on dressing and preparing for interviews, succeeding in a behavioral style interview, typical employer questions and more.
  • Mastering the Interview: Two chapters from author/recruiter Brian Krueger's online book, The College Grad Job Hunter, touching on everything from dressing, researching, anticipating questions, asking questions, and following up. Quite thorough and worth a read!
  • Interviewing Guidance: A great collection of articles from the Wall Street Journal's college focused site, covering preparation, research, types of interviews, body language, and much more. Highly recommended!


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