Interviewing probably triggers more job anxiety than any other phase in the search to find a job or internship. The information on interviewing here is to help you prepare and increase your comfort with the process. If you need more help – Visit the career center on campus or ask us about Interview Like a PRO coaching in the Career Toolkit.
Remember – The interview is an opportunity for the company to learn about you, but also for you to learn about the organization. It’s an EXCHANGE of information where both you and the company explore a potential “relationship.” The interviewing process allows both the interviewer and the candidate to get the information they need to make good decisions.
Most interviewing questions come from the interviewer’s concern with three big issues:
Why do you want to work, intern or volunteer with that specific organization? These questions will seek to verify your motivation and interest in the company.
What can you do for the organization? These questions seek to understand whether or not you have the skills and abilities to excel at the role.
Who are you? These questions seek to understand whether or not you will be a good “fit” for the organization? If you will be a “good hire” etc.
What is the interviewer trying to accomplish?
What is the interviewer trying to accomplish by interviewing you:
- Learn more about your background including education, experience, interests and career goals (Goals do not have to be super long term)
- Give you a more deeper understanding of the organization
- Determine if you and the organization or the position are a good match
What are you trying to accomplish with interviewing? You want:
- To share information about yourself
- To learn inside information about the organization
- To determine if the organization is a good match for you
Why does interviewing cause so much anxiety?
Thinking you must be “better than” the other job candidates can cause a lot of stress. Feeling that your performance in the interviewing process will determine if you get selected by the organization adds to that stress. Being nervous is normal, but the more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be during the interviewing process. It really is just like studying for an exam.
Before the Interview: RESEARCH YOURSELF
Employers want to know about YOU. So, refresh your memory all you can about your education, your jobs, your internships, your beliefs, your interests, your goals, your strengths/weaknesses, your skills and abilities, in short—your SELF…this is what is meant by researching yourself.
Spend some time identifying your Values, Skills, Interests and Abilities (V.I.S.A.). Assess yourself in terms of your creativity, leadership qualities, communication skills, interpersonal skills, technical skills, etc. Analyze your work values, attitudes and expectations. Take a hard look at your educational experiences…what did they teach you about your field and about yourself?
Before the Interview: RESEARCH THEM
This means knowing something about the company and the position before the interview. Interviewers will sometimes start with a question to find out what you know about the company. Be prepared to answer questions about what they do the size of the company, the company philosophy or mission, the company’s major clients, training programs or career development within the organization. Doing your homework will make you feel more comfortable.
TYPICAL QUESTIONS THEY WILL ASK:
- Tell me about yourself?
- Why did you decide to seek a job with this organization?
- Why did you choose us over the competition?
- What do you know about our products and service?
- Why or how did you decide on a major?
- Why did you choose your school or your major?
- What work-related shills have you developed?
- What motivates you the most/least?
- Were you involved with campus projects or leadership programs?
- What does your GPA say about you?
- Give an example of a creative solution you had for a problem?
- What do you consider to be your greatest strengths?
- Are you willing to travel or to relocate?
- What are your short term and long term career goals?
TYPICAL QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK:
- Can you tell me more about your training program?
- What qualities are you seeking in a candidate?
- What do you like most about working here?
- What kind of training would I receive in this position?
- Who will I be reporting to?
- How do you measure success in this organization?
- When will you be making a decision?
- What is the next step in the process?
- When may I contact you?
WHAT THEY CANNOT ASK:
- Are you married or have a family?
- What race or national origin are you?
- What is your religion?
- Have you ever been arrested?
- What type of military discharge did you receive?
- How old are you?
WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T ASK:
- What does your company do?
- What can this company do for me?
- What types of benefits do you offer?
- How much vacation will I get?
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
Have you heard the expression: “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” Well, employers, interviewers, recruiters and hiring managers judge people everyday based on first impression. In a professional setting, how you dress is part of that first impress. So whether you are going to a job interview, career fair, or other networking event, place some emphasis on making a great first impression. Plan to dress for success!
Our philosophy at The HBCU Career Center is that researching the company and knowing the industry’s acceptable dress standards is important to deciding how you will dress for interviewing. As a general rule, more conservative attire will go over better than more flashy attire.
What your attire might be saying about you?
- How you dress shows how well prepared you are and that you take the job search process seriously.
- You have done your research and know what the company’s expectations are for workplace attire.
- You could be a good fit for the culture of the company.
- Your attire could communicate how serious your interest is in the company.
TIPS FOR INTERVIEWING ATTIRE
- Although we shouldn’t have to say it; please shower and be clean for your job interview..
- Travelling to your job interview? Think about what your clothes will look like on arrival.
- Clothes should be crisp, pressed and ironed, and freshly cleaned.
- Invest in a lint roller brush.
- Focus on quality attire when you dress for success.
- Do thrift store shopping to find classic pieces at lower costs.
- Invest in dry cleaning services to prepare your clothes for interviews.
- Use college resources to pull together a business professional wardrobe.
- Do layaway or ask for retail gift cards as gifts if you know you will need interview items.
- Interview attire is not just about the suit, think about accessories like shoes, purses, jewelry and professional portfolios.
- Interview dress is not just about the suit, think about accessories like shoes, purses, jewelry and professional portfolios
Here are some articles with new information:
The rules area changing about what is expected for interviewing in terms of attire. For instance years ago, the rule was that visible tattoos were not appropriate for job interviews. That’s just one practice that has changed. There are others. Here are some resources to stay current.
- You Don’t have to Hide your Tattoos to Get the Job via CollegeRecruiter.com
- New Rules on Dressing for the Interview via Oprah.com
- Workplace Dress Codes and Transgender Employees via Human Rights Campaign
- Gender Neutral Interviewing and Business Clothing via The Balance
- How to Dress for an Interview as a Butch Dyke via The Professor is In
- Interview Attire for Disadvantaged Job Seekers via The Balance
- Dressing for Interviews via Michigan State University
- 18 Best Professional Attire Images for Transgender Professionals via Pinterest
- Dress for Success via North Carolina A & T State University