After applying for an internship or job opportunity, you may be invited to interview with the organization. The interview is your chance to sell yourself and convince the employer that you are the right candidate for the position. This is your opportunity to discuss your experience, skills and interests in detail, as they relate to your candidacy. It is also an opportunity for you to make sure the company is a right fit for you. Interviewing is an Acquired Art
Though you may not know the exact structure, questions and topics of conversation that may take place during an interview, by anticipating certain questions and topics of conversation, you can arm yourself with helpful information to ease the interview process. The more you prepare for each interview, the more comfortable you will be and the better chance you have of interviewing successfully.
How we can help:
Attend an Interview Skills Workshop. Contact us for dates and locations.
Schedule Mock Interview session with a Career Counselor.
Arrange an appointment with a Career Counselor.
Being ready for an interview consists of making yourself aware, prepared, and ready to present yourself. The Office of Career Services is here to help you along the way.
In any interview your objective is to show the interviewer that your skills and experiences match the employer’s needs and the position’s requirements. In order to accomplish this you should spend time identifying your skills, interests, values and ideal work environment. Know why you are a good fit for the organization.
Some questions to ask yourself include:
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What are your interests and what do you have to offer?
What motivates you?
Why do you want to work for this company?
Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?
You may also wish to take a personality assessment test to Analyze how your strengths, personal and academic experiences, as well as your interests can be transferred to the position for which you are applying. Please click here for more information
Before an interview you should research the company you are applying to, the industry that the company operates in and the position that you are applying to. Conducting research will prepare you to demonstrate you interest and enthusiasm for the company and opportunity. Additionally, the more search you do, the more clearly you can articulate how your skills, experience and values match the organization and industry.
Before an interview, Industry research should be done so that you fully understand how the industry works and what organizations within this industry do. You should identify the skills and certifications needed to succeed in this industry, as well as significant industry trends.
Some great research tools for various industries include:
Fordham Library Electronic Databases (i.e. - Hoover’s Company Profiles)
Relevant Trade Journals
The Business Journals
Career Guide to Industries
Company research is vital to interview success. You should know the company in-depth, including its history, products, partners and competitors. Things to focus on include the organization’s products and/or services, corporate values and goals and any recent news stories.
Use the following resources to research companies:
Researching the specific position that you are applying for is crucial to interview success. In order to effectively relate your background, experience and skill set to the position at hand, you need to understand what skills and abilities are required and expected. You should research so that you have a concrete understanding of the demands of the positions.
Use the following resources to research the position:
Read job description repeatedly and identify key words
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Fordham Alumni Database – available on Career Services computers. This can be used to identify individuals who are working in the same field or company and obtain inside information.
LinkedIn – Locate individuals in the same industry/company and position and read through their position summaries and job responsibilities
If you don’t know where to find the right information, ask professionals in the field through LinkedIn Groups and Discussions. This can also be a great way to meet and link with other individuals in the field.
As you have heard many times before, practice makes perfect. Practicing common interview questions and familiarizing yourself with the interview process is the final way you should prepare for an interview.
Some ways in which you can practice:
Attend an Ace the Interview workshop with Career Services
Arrange a Mock Interview with a Career Counselor
Practice interviewing by role playing with classmates, friends and family
You can also practice by identifying Frequently Asked Questions and composing a written response for each. Once completed, you should run through the questions and responses out loud or with a friend. Determine whether or not your answers are relevant and relate to what the employer might be looking for. Once you have analyzed and polished your answers, practice these responses in front of a mirror until you feel comfortable and at ease when responding to these questions. Do not memorize these answers, but do rehearse so you are comfortable and familiar with the topic. This practice while help you solidify effective answers so you sound prepared during an interview and are not caught off guard.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The three basic components of making your first impression are appearance, manners and your attitude. As first-impressions tend to be long-lasting, you should make sure you are fully prepared when you walk in the door of your interview.
You should show up at least 15 minutes early for the interview. Make sure you have several copies of your resume and any additional items requested by the recruitier such as state identification.
Dress for Success
Keep your style appropriate and professional:
Conduct some research and dress similar to what senior management in your industry would wear to the office. This would typically be in conservative, simple, well-fitting and polished attire. For industries that adopt a more relaxed dress code, wear an outfit that is one level above casual.
Prepare your outfit in advance:
Have all of the pieces of your outfit cleaned, pressed and ready to wear before the day of your interview. Make sure that you have extra copies of your resume and other pertinent documentation printed out and stored in your portfolio.
Practice pristine hygiene and make sure that you arrive at your interview freshly showered with teeth brushed, nails trimmed short, and hair neatly combed in a style that is removed from the face. Women Be sure to use deodorant/antiperspirant, but avoid using perfumes or colognes. Bring a supply of breath mints and refrain from chewing gum.
Wear a well-fitting suit in a conservative style with a basic buttoned blouse in a contrasting color or a tailored dress. Aim for suit and dress colors in black, grey, navy blue or a neutral. Wear sheer leggings that match your skin tone, rather than opaque or patterned styles. Select closed-toe shoes with a modest heel in a color that compliments your outfit.
Opt for simplicity rather than ornate when selecting jewelry and handbags.
If you wear make-up, be understated and natural.
Wear a black, grey or navy tailored suit in a conservative style. A modest-striped pinstripe is also fine. Wear a pressed dress shirt in either a crisp white or pale blue. Select a silk tie that compliments your suit in a solid color or one with minimal pattern. Socks should match the color of your suit and shoes. Choose a polished dress shoe in black or a dark brown.
Accessories: Belts should blend with your suit and match the color of your shoes. Besides
the belt, consider no more than a dress watch, one ring and cufflinks when accessorizing.
Grooming: Be clean shaven and avoid the stubble.
Still deciding on what to wear? Consult with one of our friendly career ambassadors or visit our office and speak with one of our career counselors.
Be aware of your body language. Studies have shown that 65 percent of the conveyed message is nonverbal.
Give a strong handshake
Maintain continuous eye contact
Maintain good posture
Watch your hands (no fidgeting!)
Appear natural, not stiff
The introduction is the rapport building and ice breaking section of the interview. Social interaction and “small talk” may be the topics of this initial dialogue. The interviewer’s goal is to relax the interviewee and this is your chance to converse and establish rapport. Usually the topics at this point in the interview are general, vague, and non-threatening and designed to socialize the interview process
Interviewersdisplay a wide range of flexibility during this segment of the interview. The order and style in which they move into the main body of the interview varies depending on each interviewer’s unique style of gathering information. Though the direction of dialogue may vary from interview to interview, there are several common areas of conversation that occur in most interviews.This includes Education background, past work experience,decision making style, career focus and knowledge and interest in the employer.
This is the point in the interview when the employer may begin to ask open-ended or specific questions. Occasionally, scenarios or work related problems will be posed for you to comment upon or provide solutions. You need to be clear and confident when responding to the interviewer’s inquiries. Be concise and to the point, always moving in a positive direction, creating a verbal picture of your past experiences and future considerations. Focus on the process, providing specific examples when answering questions, and articulating the What, How, Where, When and With Whom of your experience.
The following questions are some of the most commonly asked interview questions. Although you may not be asked all of them, developing strong, concise answers to these traditional questions can give you a leg up during the interview.
Tell me about yourself.
What have your achievements been to date?
What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you tackle it?
What are your greatest strengths?
What is your greatest weakness?
Why have you applied for this particular job?
Where do you want to be five years from now?
We are considering two other candidates for this position, why should we hire you rather than someone else?
Tell me about a time where you exhibited leadership ability?
What motivates you?
At some point during the interview, the interviewer is likely to ask you if you have any questions. You should be prepared to respond with 3-5 questions that reflect the depth of your research and convey your interest in the position. Do not ask questions that are answered on the company website or in the job description, rather focus on inquisitive questions that convey your knowledge of the organization.
It's important to show the employer that you are aware of the company's current events and industry trends that impact the employer. Ask questions regarding these events, mergers, industry news, etc to show you did your homework.
How and when will my performance be evaluated on this job? How is success measured in this department / organization?
Can you describe your training program?
What long and short term problems and opportunities do you think my prospective area faces?
What qualities do you feel a person in this position must possess to be successful?
What can I expect a typical work day to be like?
What is the biggest challenge I will face in this position?
Describe typical first year assignments on the job.
What are your expectations for new hires within their first three to six months on the job?
Could you tell me about the plans and goals for the company/ department/division?
Make sure to end the interview on a positive note. Reiterate your strong interest in the position and speak about your ability to successfully contribute to the organization
Ask about necessary follow-up and when you should expect to hear from the company. Thank the interviewer forhis or her time and make sure you have a business card so that you have all of the necessary contact information in order to send a thank you note.
Always send a thank you letter or email. Sending a thank you after an interview for an internship, part-time job or full-time job is a must! Writing this letter is an important piece of the job searching process and it will make you stand out from a candidate who has not showed their appreciation
Use your thank you letter as a way to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Below are some helpful tips for crafting your letter.
Send your thank you letter within 24 hours of your interview.
If you are unsure whether you should send a letter or email, cover all bases and send both.
Thank you letters should include:
Your contact information
Employer’s contact information (Double check that it is correct)
Greeting – “Dear Mr./Mrs.”
Body of Letter
Closing – “Sincerely” or “Respectfully”
Signature – Handwritten if mailing the letter or typed if sending electronically
Keep the letter short and simple. Address any unanswered questions or concerns that arose during the interview. If there was something you wished you had mentioned, now is your time to express it in the letter. Reiterate your interest in the position and how you would be the ideal candidate.
Spell check and proofread your letter. Having a second pair of eyes is helpful in discovering typos and grammar mistakes so be sure to let a peer or family member review it.
I. EVALUATING JOB OFFERS
Once you receive a job offer, research the organization to establish whether or not it will be a good professional fit. Always consider the following:
Does the corporate culture align with your professional values?
Are the day-to-day responsibilities compatible with your career goals?
Will you undergo professional development and strengthen new skills?
Are your salary and benefits requirements being met?
Is there opportunity for advancement? What is the next step on the career ladder?
If the company is public, has its performance been consistent over time?
Has the organization experienced periods of regression that resulted in layoffs? If so, what practices and policies guide the adjustments?
Does the company have a clear record of promoting from within?
Also, always consider the long-term benefits of a position, as future growth is more valuable than immediate gratification. Being flexible and open-minded to new training opportunities can lead to exciting possibilities that are both interesting and rewarding.
II. NEGOTIATING SALARY
Research the typical salary range for the position in your field of interest. Check out: salary.com, wetfeet.com and bls.gov (the Occupational Outlook Handbook). Gather current salary data as well as past, present and future salary trends. Calculate your Expenses Do not be afraid to negotiate your salary in order to avoid financial difficulty. Based on the salary range research you have done, you can engage in a well-informed discussion.
Provide evidence and information: concrete examples of why you warrant a certain salary based on your responsibilities and previous experience.
Demonstrate that you are a team player: how you will contribute to the organization.
Why is it Important to Negotiate?
There are several reasons why it is in your best interest to negotiate:
Any future promotions or salary increases will be based on your initial salary--the higher the base salary, the larger the increase. In addition, when initiating a career move, your next employer can request a record of your salary history.
Without appropriate compensation, intrinsic motivation and job satisfaction are likely to drop.
In addition to your salary, consider other components of your total compensation package. While engaged in negotiations, obtain information on all employer-provided benefits, as they can sometimes offset less appealing salary offers. Careful research will facilitate the establishment of a desirable compensation package for you and your new employer.
If you do not receive a job offer, it is appropriate to send a follow-up letter:
It was a pleasure to speak with you about the position in your organization. I realize you have a preference for someone with more specialized experience. Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed meeting with you and found our conversation to be very helpful. If there should be a future opening for which I am qualified, please keep me in mind. Thank you for your consideration.