Monday, March 31, 2014

Attention AU Seniors: Prepare for Your Interview!

by Stephanie Rankin, Career Services Center Intern

Graduation is right around the corner and many AU seniors have already started applying for full-time jobs. In most cases applying for a job is not the problem, however - the interview tends to stress people out the most because they want to make the best impression of themselves and this may be the only time they get to do so. Therefore, it is important for soon-to-be graduates to impress prospective employers with information about themselves, their skills, experience, goals and objectives with the hope of being offered a position.

To prepare for the interview is it is important to research the following information about a company:

  • What is the organization looking for in a candidate?
  • Requirements, necessary qualifications and responsibilities of the position.
  • Facts about the organization (size, services, products, reputation, location).
  • Purpose of the organization (vision, mission, values, culture).
  • Current events, news and publications that the organization has released.
  • Relevant information about the specific department of interest.

The Career Services Center offers mock interviews, which are a great opportunity to practice answering and asking questions before your interview. The interviews are recorded and reviewed for strengths and weaknesses by a Career Services Specialist. (The recording will be deleted after the appointment.) Creating an outline of all your past experiences (jobs, internships, leadership/volunteer experience, career goal, skills, strengths/weakness, etc.) is another great way to “study” for your interview.

Don’t forget to prepare materials to bring along with you to your interview. Make sure to bring extra copies of your résumé, reference letters, and lists of references. If you have a portfolio or extra copies of work samples from portfolio bring those as well. Prepare a mental or physical list of questions to ask the interviewer.

It is also important to dress in professional attire for your interview. While you may not wear a suit to work every day, wearing a suit to an interview shows you know how to dress as a professional and that you want to present your best image possible.

Tips for Women:

  • Select a suit (skirt or pants) in a conservative color (blue, black, gray, brown) and make sure suit skirts are at knee level or longer.
  • Choose a closed-toed and closed-heel shoe that coordinates with your suit and has a mid-sized heel.
  • Wear a blouse with a conservative neckline.
  • Wear pantyhose at all times (even in warm weather). The color should coordinate with the suit or remain neutral.
  • Keep hair, makeup and accessories professional; everything in moderation.

Tips for Men:

  • Select a suit in a conservative color (blue, black, grey or brown) with a light colored shirt underneath.
  • Choose a professional tie which coordinates with your suit color.
  • Wear shoes that are black or brown and coordinate with your suit color.
  • Wear a belt in a color that matches your shoes.
  • Choose socks that match your shoe color.

For more information on prepping for and following up after interviews please check out the Interviewing Guide on the AU Portal.

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