Interviewing Structure, Prep, and Practice
Parts of an Interview
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.
Preparing for your Interview
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:
- Mission statement and values
- Community service and/or how they have a positive impact in the community
- History and future vision
- Their most recent annual report
- Recent awards and initiatives
After conducting the research, ask yourself – how do you align with the company’s mission, community service, and future vision?
You’ve probably heard of workplace attire categories such as casual, business casual, and business professional. Learn more about each category below.
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.
On-Campus Recruitment/Interviewing (OCR)
Our On-Campus Recruiting (OCR) program brings the jobs and employers to you! Major corporations, companies, social service/non-profit organizations, and government agencies come to La Salle’s Campus to interview students seeking full-time employment, internships, and co-ops. The OCR interviews take place in the Career Center office, Founders’ Hall – 128. Fall semester interviews are conducted from mid-September to mid-November; Spring semester interviews typically run from early-February through mid-April.