Your Big Interview

5 Ways to Prepare for Your Big Interview

Date published: May 20, 2016

InterviewNewly minted college graduates are beginning their job hunts; undergrads have already gone home for the summer and are now searching for the perfect summer internship or part-time work. This can only mean one thing—it’s interview season!

Even if your resume is spot on and your cover letter could bring a hiring manager to tears, you need a solid interview to seal the deal. Janette Bell, staffing manager, and LaCoya Williams, training and performance management manager, from UD’s Department of Human Resources spoke to a Career Development class about how to prepare for an interview that will be memorable for all the RIGHT reasons. Here’s what they said:

1. Research the company.

“Always assemble relevant information about the company,” said Bell. “Be prepared to talk about why you’re interested in them and the work they do.”

But don’t go too far by trying to connect to your interviewer or recruiter via LinkedIn or Facebook before the interview. According to Williams, that’s inappropriate. But going through the company’s Twitter account is fine. And learning about their upcoming initiatives or marketing campaigns will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in working there.

2. Prepare answers to the most common questions.

The most common type of interview consists of behavior-based questions in which the interviewer will ask you to describe a time when you were faced with a situation or encountered a problem.

“You don’t want to sound like a recorded message, but you do want to have practiced what you’ll say when the interviewer asks you something like, ‘What is your biggest weakness?’” said Williams.

Visit the UD Office of Personal Career Development (OPCD) web page for a list of other common interview questions: https://udallas.edu/offices/opcd/jobseekers/resumes/interviewquestions/

3. Practice telling stories.

“Review the information on your resume and cover letter, and craft a story about how you did what you did,” said Williams. “Focus on STAR: Situation you were in, Task you were given, Actions you took, and Results you achieved.”

Most importantly, be ready to relate your story to the job qualifications.

4. Have at least two questions ready.

When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, don’t respond with any version of “no.”

“By the end of the interview, you should have thought of a couple of questions. But if you haven’t, have a few prepared ahead of time,” said Bell.

Questions about the training program or the person who previously held the job are good examples. For more sample questions you could use, check out the OPCD website: https://udallas.edu/offices/opcd/jobseekers/resumes/intervieweequestions/

5. Dress up, and don’t be late.

Bell says your clothes should be cleaned, ironed and comfortable—nothing too casual and nothing too revealing. And always err on the side of being overdressed.

“Even if you’re not sure that everyone in the office wears a suit, you would be safer wearing one than not,” she said.

Williams adds that you should carry a padfolio or a small notebook. “Don’t bring a research binder, just something that can hold copies of your resume and paper for notes.”

Check out the OPCD site for more info on proper interview attire (what to wear and what not to wear): https://udallas.edu/offices/opcd/jobseekers/resumes/dressingfortheinterview/index.php

Finally, practice your route and prepare for traffic BEFORE the interview. Know exactly how long it will take you to make the drive, park and enter the building. Be prompt, but not too early. Bell advises to arrive about 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time.

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