The first goal when applying for jobs is to get your resume to the top of the stack. The next step: landing the interview. Here's how to prepare to make an impression during your interview.
Gain Claflin Confidence by participating in a mock interview before meeting with actual employers or graduate schools! We invite you to set up an appointment at the Office of Career Development, where we will record your mock interview and share feedback. You'll receive insight into areas of strength and weakness and obtain suggestions for improvement.
Mock Interview Guidelines
You must have your resume critiqued by the Career Development Office before the day you are scheduled for an interview and bring copies of it with you to your appointment.
When a member of Claflin's staff is conducting the interview, the dress code is business casual; however, if an outside guest is conducting the interview, the dress code is business formal.
All persons interviewing in the Career Center must be currently enrolled at the University or provide proof of graduation from Claflin University.
The Office of Career Development schedules representatives from different schools and companies to conduct interviews with the students on campus. Some of the different schools and companies have been: North Carolina Central University, Walt Disney World College Program, East Tennessee State University, Thornwell Home and School for Children, Spartanburg County Sheriff's Department, and Nationwide Insurance Company. See the On-Campus Interview Schedule Link for a list of upcoming interview dates.
For most fields, without an interview you will not get a job. Therefore, good interviewing skills are a must! Others will be competing with you to obtain the same position. It is critical not only to convince an employer that you can do the job, but that you can do the job better than the other candidates that are also competing for the same position. Steps you can take: BEFORE, DURING & AFTER an interview that will help place you ahead of the competition and ease your tension about interviewing.
Before the Interview
The time that you spend preparing prior to the interview will be time well-spent. The following tips will help you prepare for an interview.
Understand What Employers Look For
- Interview Preparation/Knowledge of Employer: Are you knowledgeable about the employer and the industry? By having "done your homework," it will show an employer that you are interested in the organization and the position.
- Self-Confidence/Verbal Communication Skills: Do you have the ability to listen effectively, verbalize your thoughts clearly and express yourself confidently?
- Goals/Motivation: Do you demonstrate an interest in the employer and a desire to work hard and succeed? Do you have the ability to identify and work toward specific goals?
- Qualifications: Can you relate your academic program, skills and/or prior work or internship experience to the needs of an employer?
- General Personality: Do you exhibit these traits: Poise? Enthusiasm? Ambition?
- Work Ethic: Are you someone who is willing to accept responsibility and keep commitments?
Be Prepared to Answer and Ask Questions
Employers will ask questions to generate an idea of the type of employee that you would be and the type of personality that you have. Employers will also give you an opportunity to ask questions that you might have about the organization or the position itself.
Have Your Documents Accessible
You may wish to carry a briefcase or a professional notebook with your questions written in advance. It is a good idea to include additional copies of your resume, letters of reference and a quality pen.
It is critical that you arrive on time to an interview. Arriving late to an interview not only wastes the interviewer's time, but also sends the message that you are not serious about your job search or about keeping commitments. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early.
During the Interview
During the interview it is your job to convince the interview that you are the most qualified applicant for the position. Remember, you only have one chance to make a good first impression! The following are some tips on what you should do and not do during an interview.
- Give the interviewer a firm handshake
- Be enthusiastic, confident, courteous & honest
- Be aware of your non-verbal behavior
- Convey interest and knowledge in the position and company
- Stress willingness, ability, and compatibility
- Avoid the use of non-sentences such as "umm," "uh," "ya know," "well," and "yeah"
- Always present the best of your background or qualifications
- Listen to the questions carefully and give clear, concise and thoughtful answers
- At the close of the interview, establish a date for your next communication
- Always remember to thank the interviewer for his/her time
- Don't address the interviewer by his/her first name unless invited to do so
- Don't let the employer's casual approach fool you--maintain a professional image
- Don't dominate the interview or appear arrogant
- Don't criticize yourself or discuss your personal problems
- Don't speak or act in a nervous manner
- Don't ask questions that the interviewer has already answered
- Don't interrupt when the interviewer is talking
- Don't bring up negative information about past jobs, co-workers or former employers
- Don't smoke or chew gum
After the Interview
It is a good policy to send the interviewer a thank-you letter as soon as possible after the interview. Be sure to reiterate your interest in the position and the organization. If you get no response from a thank-you letter, or if a date has passed when an employer was to contact you, don't hesitate to phone the organization. Above all, let them know of your continuing interest in them!
Salary and Compensation Links
Below are links that will help you to stay up to date on what the current salaries for you field of study are and the what are possible benefits and compensations to expect in today's work force.
An important aspect of your job search is understanding yourself. An evaluation of yourself can help you decide what you are looking for as a career and what you have to offer. Below are 20 questions developed by executive recruiters to help you know yourself and your career aspirations better. They are also questions that a recruiter may ask you during an interview. Make sure that you answer these questions honestly; don't try to kid yourself! Review these questions about once every three months. It will help you to keep track of your career goals and the qualities that you can bring to the table.
- Would I work better in a large or small organization?
- How important is geographic location to me? To my family?
- Am I a loner or do I work better as a member of a group?
- Am I more comfortable following than leading?
- Do I analyze better than I execute?
- Do I prefer to work with people or things?
- Do I work more successfully under pressure?
- Am I a good planner or idea person?
- Am I a good listener?
- Do I think well on my feet and make decisions well?
- Do I express myself well orally and in writing?
- What characteristics do I admire in others?
- Which function of my job do I perform most effectively?
- Which function of my job do I perform least effectively?
- What do I enjoy doing most?
- In the past six months, what accomplishment has most satisfied me?
- What have I done to correct my shortcomings?
- What level of responsibility do I aspire to in five years?
- What should I be earning then?
- How will I achieve these levels? What skills do I need?