This is the most common type of interview and can take place in many environments
- On-site (organization/company office)
- Off-site (restaurants, hotels, conferences, etc)
Please note anytime you are meeting with an employer face-to- face you should consider
this part of the interview process.
In preparing for the actual interview, students need to collect in-depth information.
You cannot review the company brochure and expect to be ready for an interview. This
is the time to read business periodicals and review web sites to discover as much
about the company and the industry as you can. Talk with junior-level employees or
people who know the company well about its reputation, products or services, or where
it is viewed in relation to its competition. All of the information you collect will
not only help you in your interview; it will also aid you in making a decision if
an offer is extended.
The Evening Prior to the Interview
If you are to meet with a representative from the company the night before your interview,
be sure to dress in business casual, yet professional attire. A collared shirt with
dress slacks for men and a blazer and skirt or pant suit for women are appropriate.
Know the representative's name and the time and the location of your meeting. The
evaluation of you as a candidate begins well before the day of the interview. You
will be judged on how you conduct yourself throughout the entire hiring process. Do
not be careless. Everything you do and say will reflect on the final decision, so
be sure to conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times.
Interviews can last one hour to an entire day. The number of people with whom you
talk during the day may vary. You might speak with as few as three or as many as ten
people. This can make for a very long day. You need to be as alert at 4:30 p.m. as
you were at 8:30 a.m. that morning. In some interviews you might talk with more than
one person. This is not to create a stressful situation, but rather to allow you to
talk with as many people as possible. When meeting these individuals, you will usually
be asked some of the same questions. Remember, you are only being repetitive to yourself.
Do not leave out important information because you have already discussed it with
another individual. Numerous "behavioral" questions will typically be asked during
the face-to-face interview.
First Impressions Mean Everything
The first few minutes are absolutely critical to interviewing success. Many interviewers
will make a snap judgment about you good or bad and spend the rest of the interview
validating that impression. You need to be comfortable with your own style, and be
prepared to present an attitude that reflects your sincere interest in getting the
job. Exhibit confidence, enthusiasm, and a high level of interest during the first
minute of the interview. Be yourself and do it your own way, but do it!
Sample Format of a First Face-to-Face Interview (One Hour)
Warm Up (3-5 minutes)
- Greeting: smile, firm hand shake, look the employer in the eye, be confident
- Establish Rapport
- Explain Structure of Interview
- Verify Data on Resume, etc.
Employer Collects Evaluation Data (15-20 Minutes)
- Open-Ended Questions: Prepare answers for these questions
- Behavioral Questions
- Probing Questions
- Determine Whether Match Exists: Are you right for the employer? Vice versa?
- Strengths, Liabilities, Weaknesses
Employer Answers Questions/Offers Information (3-5 Minutes)
- Explain Training Program
- Describe Position
- Answer Candidate's Questions: Prepare questions in advance
Close Interview (2-3 Minutes)
- Learn About What Happens Next
REMEMBER: The most prepared candidate usually makes the best impression during an interview.
Fun tip: Don't leave home without a professional-looking notepad (a padfolio). Jot down
a few key words and phrases to jog your memory about important information you want
to share. Create a list, in advance, of questions you plan to ask during and at the
close of the interview.