The Job Interview is a mutual exchange of information.
As the applicant, your main objectives are:
The interviewer's main objectives are:
Think of the interview not as an interrogation, but as a two-way conversation during which you and the employer determine whether you meet each other’s needs. There are a number of steps that you need to go through in order to maximize the success of this conversation.
Prepare all necessary documents needed for the interview - Resume, Cover Letter, etc. You will always want to take along extra copies of your resume, transcript, and references. Consider purchasing a leather portfolio to hold your documents and a pen and paper to record notes, if need be. For assistance in critiquing your resume or cover letter, meet with a career counselor during Counselor-on-Duty hours, or set up an appointment.
Plan your attire - First impressions are powerful, so you will want to look professional. Some suggestions on professional dress for an interview are:
Anticipate interview format - Ask questions beforehand, such as: “With whom will I be meeting?” “How long should I plan to be at your office?” Knowing the format will help you prepare for the interview experience.
Learn as much about the company and position you are applying for before you go to the interview. Visit the company’s web site or read company literature. Analyze the job description and try to match your experiences, interests, and abilities to their requirements for the position. Visit the SMU Career Services’ web site to learn more about researching employers and investigate links related to your particular occupational field.
Prepare to discuss your strengths, weaknesses, educational and work experiences, personal goals, and values. Read the job description thoroughly, anticipating questions which focus on your qualifications, their organization, and how the two fit together. Among questions you may be asked are:
The questions you ask (or do not ask) will reveal much about your level of interest in the company, and your level of preparation for the interview. Ask questions which demonstrate a genuine interest in and knowledge of the company and position. Although each situation will warrant specific inquiries, some suggested questions are:
Write a brief letter of thanks for the interview. In the letter you need to reiterate your interest in the position and briefly state why you are the best candidate. If you do not hear from anyone in a week, then call to express your continued interest in the position.
The most common type of interviewing style of questioning is the behavioral interview. The questions aim at determining how you would operate on the job. How you responded to certain past situations is of great interest to the interviewer in assessing your potential as an employee. Examples of behavioral questions include:
Give me an example of a time when you had to juggle multiple tasks.
Tell me of a situation in which you solved a problem as a member of a group. What was your role?
Tell me about a problem you once had on the job. How did you go about resolving the problem?
Traditional QuestionsTraditional questions include questions to clarify points on your resume, evaluate your accomplishments and goals, and assess your expectations of the company. Themes work into these questions also, as well as opportunities for you to showcase your strengths. Some traditional questions and themes are:
Question: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Theme: How well you know yourself, as well as how honest and open you are
Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Question: Why should I hire you?
Theme: Understanding of company’s needs, as well as your qualifications