A successful interview takes preparation and confidence. We recommend at least two to three hours of prep time for each hour of interview time. Your preparation should include a thorough review of the job description, the client’s website so you’re familiar with their background, and an understanding of how your experience will benefit the employer.
If you need to adjust your resume as you prepare for the interview, please forward a copy of the updated resume to your recruiter prior to the interview.
- Bring samples of your work to the interview and be confident in your presentation of the materials. Because people naturally respond to visual elements, it’s no surprise that a well-prepared portfolio can have a huge impact on the success of your interview. Present relevant pictures, drawings, photographs, sample calculations, studies, documents, and reports to show the full range of your experience and skill level. If you are concerned about confidentiality, look for content that is already on your past employer’s website or is already public domain. Anything you can print online is by definition public information.
- Dress for success. Look professional and well put together. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so when in doubt it’s better to overdress than underdress.
- Arrive at least 15 minutes early for the interview. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview; traffic and other “running late” excuses are just not acceptable. If you arrive 30 minutes early, find a parking place and relax, then check in with the receptionist 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time.
- Be articulate and confident in your responses. This is where your preparation comes into play—if you’ve anticipated likely interview questions and you know your stuff, you should be able to relay it clearly and confidently.
- Avoid answering every question with a simple “yes” or “no”—interviews are a chance for you to demonstrate your knowledge. While some questions clearly require a “yes” or “no” response, others call for a more descriptive answer. These detailed responses should be anywhere from 20 seconds to two minutes in length, depending on the level of detail required. Look for non-verbal cues like nodding or smiling from your interviewer to gauge the reception of your answer.
- Be enthusiastic about what you do and your interest in the position. Employers want an employee who is excited about his/her position and eager to do good work.
- Maintain eye contact and be aware of your posture. Maintaining eye contact signifies confidence and honesty while an upright posture shows the interviewer that you’re interested and focused on the interview. Failing to make eye contact, shifting your attention, slouching, or fidgeting can be interpreted as being dishonest, distracted, and less than confident.
- Focus on the positive and avoid making any negative comments about past jobs, supervisors, or co-workers.
- Have ready answers for typical interview questions along with a couple of real-world examples to support your answer. For example:
- Q: What are your strengths?
- A: I’ve always been a fast worker, so if I’m going to finish early, I’ll let you know beforehand so you can have another project ready for me—or I can help a co-worker.
- That answer says you’re a fast, efficient worker and also a team player.
- Be prepared to ask questions at the end of the interview. Some good questions to ask are things like: “Why is this position available?” or “What are the travel requirements (if any)” or “What is the company’s culture like?”
Save questions about vacation, sick-time, and telecommuting for a discussion with your recruiter. These are subjects best handled outside of the interview room. Remember that your goal is to leave the interviewer with a positive impression of what you have to offer. Not what they have to offer you.
- At the interview, make sure you receive business cards or have the correct names of each person who interviewed you. When you send a Thank You Letters, you want to make sure you’re spelling the person’s name correctly.