You wrote the perfect resume and cover letter, and now you’ve got your job interview scheduled. Congratulations! You’ve reached one of the most important parts of your job search. Now you’ll have a chance to meet your potential employers face-to-face and convince them you’re the best person for the job.
However, landing the interview doesn’t mean you’re hired just yet. You’ve still got some interview preparation to do.
Whether this will be your first job interview or you have plenty of interviewing experience, Peirce College’s Career Development Services Center has some important interview tips that can help you make the best first impression.
Preparation is key. During your job interview, you should be very comfortable talking about anything that’s in your resume or cover letter, including the specifics about how you’ll be able to bring value to the company if you’re hired. You should also have done researched your potential employer in-depth, so you can confidently discuss their work, services, products, history and company goals. Don’t underestimate how important it is to show you’ve taken the time to prepare for your job interview properly. Any potential employer wants to know that you are specifically interested in working for them, not just in getting any job you can.
Show up early. You definitely don’t want to risk being late for your job interview. Try to be there at least 10 minutes early. If you’re driving and you’ve never been there before, do a practice run to make sure you’re not going to get lost or be delayed in traffic (and that you’ll know where to park). If you’re taking public transit, assume your train will be late or your bus will break down and give yourself enough time.
Dress to impress. The proper interview attire depends a lot on the company and the position for which you’re applying. However, it’s always safer to be overdressed than underdressed for any professional/office interview. Also, avoid anything that could be distracting to you or the interviewer, like extra jewelry or perfumes/colognes. Above all else, leave your phone in your pocket or purse and make sure it’s on silent!
Bring a pen. But not just a pen. You should have a pen or pencil to take notes and a notebook or pad of paper. You should also bring extra printed copies of your resume, along with samples of your work if you have them.
Think about your answers in advance. There are many different interview techniques, with each including different types of questions. You should be prepared, however, to answer several common interview questions. You should be able to give clear, focused answers for questions like:
- “What makes you the right candidate for this position?”
- “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
- “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
- “What can you tell me about yourself that wasn’t in your resume or cover letter?”
- “Why do you want to work here?”
- “Tell me about a time you failed at something and how you handled it.”
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. At some point in almost every job interview, the interviewer will ask, “Do you have any questions for me?” Don’t ever say no to this question! You should always have a few questions prepared. Here are some good ones:
- “When do you plan on making a decision about who to hire?”
- “What’s your favorite thing about working here?”
- “How would you describe the culture here?”
- “Why is this position open?”
- “What are the growth and ongoing learning opportunities within the organization?”
Practice makes perfect. It’s natural to be nervous going into a job interview, but you can help calm your nerves and prepare your answers by practicing ahead of time. If you’d like to schedule a mock interview session with someone who can help you practice, reach out to Career Development Services. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 215-670-9202 or toll-free at 888.467.3472, ext. 9202 or stop by our office in Suite 67 of College Hall.
You can also use our mock interview tool, InterviewStream, online at any time. There you can choose practice questions, use your phone or computer to record your responses and get feedback and tips from professors or CDS staff.