Interviewing like a Pro

By: Kelsey McMullan

What is the scariest part of graduating? Is it leaving all your friends? Or maybe moving back in with mom and dad? What about job interviews?


Job interviews can be rough. Most of the time the thought of, ‘I have an interview tomorrow!’ can make even the strongest person shaky and uneasy. They are a unique form of torture that everyone goes through to get a job.

A job interview doesn’t need to be worse than going to the dentist and having five drills put into your mouth. Here are some points that will make preparing for an interview a calming experience.

Start preparing right after you receive confirmation of your interview. Look up common interview questions online and read them. Craft your own answers to the questions- don’t just use the ones that are suggested.

Be unique! If you recycle the answers to the questions you just goggled you won’t stand out to the interviewer. You want to be able to make good jokes, tell relevant stories, and make yourself friendly and memorable. If the interviewer remembers who you are (for good reasons) 20 minutes after your interview, chances are better you will get a call back.

If you are ever unsure about a question-ASK! Don’t ever give an interviewer the answer you think they want to hear, give them a genuine answer, even if you have to ask if your answer applies to their question.

Also, don’t forget to follow up with your recruiter a few days after the interview.


In-Person interviews

Remember to take care of the finer points before the interview. Dress professionally. There are only a handful of cases where you can be overdressed for an interview. Don’t be “that guy” or “that girl” and wear casual or improper clothing.

Another classy touch to an interview is writing a Thank you card for your interviewer. Put a handful of thank you cards in your car or portfolio binder and as soon as you are done with the interview sit in the lobby and write out a sincere thank you. Don’t forget the secretary. They control your fate as much as the interviewer. Be polite to them from hello to goodbye, and if you have an extra thank you card write one for them too.

When you are in the middle of your interrogation and you feel like you are about to crack, just take a deep breath! It is OK to take your time and think. A good interviewer will interpret your silence as thought. Use it to your advantage- relax, think, and then answer.

Remember to sit up straight, don’t cross your arms, and make eye contact with your interviewer. Having open and confident body language will help you seem more confident. Try your best not to fidget or shift. Be steady like a rock.


Phone Interviews

Phone interviews are a different monster all together!

For phone interviews, make sure to add extra emotion to your voice. Phones are experts at distorting your voice. A normally passive and quite person can come across as dead inside on the phone. Add some extra enthusiasm and passion to your word choice. Be genuine, ask questions, and be actively involved in the interview.

Don’t forget to accept the call in a QUITE room. Reducing background noise as much as possible is the best thing you can do for a phone interview. Go sit in your car if you need to. It will be worth it.


Thank you notes are still relevant to phone and Skype interviews. Don’t forget to send a polite thank you email to your interviews!


Skype and Online Interviews

Please oh please put pants on!

Just because an employer will only see you from the abdomen up, you should still put pants on! And not just pajama pants put on the suit pants that go with your jacket. You can keep the slippers on though.

Make sure you are in a location where you will have minimal background noise and distraction. Have the camera face a wall, not your living room.

It’s crucial to be on-time for any time of interview, but an online one is especially tricky. If you aren’t online at the designated time waiting to accept the conversation, you probably missed your chance at an interview. Don’t let being a minute late be the reason you weren’t considered.

Remember that you aren’t on Face Time with a friend. You will need to speak slowly enough that the internet can keep up with you.


If you want some extra practice with interviews to help you calm your nerves, please make an appointment with one of the Career Management Services staff. We are happy to conduct mock interviews with you. We can even give you speaking points or help you answer difficult questions.

And if you don’t feel like stopping into the office, please check out some of our online resources.


Photo Credits

<a href=””>Alan Cleaver</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>      <a href=””>kiwanja</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>     <a href=””>marc0047</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

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