During the first few minutes of the interview, an employer will be making a first, lasting impression of you. How you greet the employer, the firmness of your handshake and the way you are groomed and dressed will all be a part of this initial impression. The interviewer may begin with “small talk” as a means of putting you at ease before moving into information exchange.
This is the main part of the interview when you will be asked the most questions and learn the most about the employer. If you are prepared for the interview, you will be able to promote your qualifications effectively as you respond to questions. Practice your answers as much as possible so that your responses come easily to you and sound natural. If you try to create an answer on the spot, you are more likely to use distracting filler words, such as “like” and “um.” With practice, you will gain confidence and become more polished in your presentation.
As the interview is wrapping up, the employer will ask, “Do you have any questions?” Always ask at least one question because this demonstrates your prior research and interest in the job (e.g. “When can I expect to hear from you regarding a hiring decision?”). Do not ask about salary or benefits unless the employer brings them up first.
The employer may also ask if you have anything you would like to add. Use the opportunity to thank the employer for the interview, summarize your qualifications, and reiterate your interest in the position. The last impression is as important as the first impression.
Research the employer so that you are less likely to be stumped by questions such as, “Why do you want to work for us?”. Beyond the skills and abilities you possess, employers want to know how you align with their company and workplace culture. Understanding the company on a foundational level allows for a further discussions about why you would be a good fit and how the company fits into your future goals.
A few key areas/topics to research about a company or organization:
After conducting the research, ask yourself – how do you align with the company’s mission, community service, and future vision?
The Career Center encourages all students to conduct a mock, or practice, interview prior to an interview with an employer or graduate school. A mock interview allows you to practice answering questions and fine-tune your communication skills in a similar environment to a real interview. Upon the conclusion of a mock interview, you are provided feedback on answers and non-verbal behaviors.
How to prepare for a mock interview:
You can schedule a mock interview via Handshake or call 215-951-1075.
Don’t forget! After an interview or job shadow experience, it’s proper etiquette to send a thank you to those that you met with. Always email or send thank you letters individually – avoid emails that address more than one person. Tip: Ask for your interviewers’ business cards so that you know you have their correct contact information. Write the perfect thank you message.