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Successful Interviewing

Preparation and practice are vital to interview success.  That said, we encourage you to use the mock interview tool on your ECN profile or schedule an appointment for a mock interview with our office to start developing your interview skills.  You may also use our Interviewing Guide to help in your preparation process.

The Interview Process

    • Your ability to articulate your experiences, most importantly the skills and competencies you use to carryout your responsibilities.
    • Are you able to organize your thoughts and express them clearly.
    • How well do you handle conflict or stressful situations.
    • Do you work well in a team environment and are you able to work harmoniously with your co-workers.
    • Are you a good fit for their company/organization.
    • Be Prepared!  Do your homework.  Spend time on the company's website and pick out some specific details you can incorporate into your interview responses.
    • Research the company on social media sites, and be sure to follow the company on LinkedIn!
    • Research the industry.  Make sure you are up on current trends.
    • Talk with people in your network who may be familiar with the company or industry.
    • Review your resume and remind yourself of what you marketed to the employer.
    • Review the position description/advertisement for the position.  Identify the key skills and competencies the employer is looking for and practice incorporating the skills you have into your responses.
    •  Always have a prepared list of questions to ask of your interviewer(s).
    • Most importantly, practice interviewing outloud! Check out our Mock Interview Tool on ECN or Interview Warmup - Grow with Google to practice!
    • Fuel your body and your mind.  Today is not the day to skip a meal.
    • Allow yourself enough time to get ready for the interview.
    • Dress professionally in a well-fitting outfit.  Limit the amount of jewelry you wear so it's not distracting.
    • Pay attention to your grooming (hair, nails, make-up) and don't over-do on perfumes or body sprays.  Some people may be sensitive to them.
    • Bring the bare necessities to the interview--- a padfolio with a note pad and writing implements, extra copies of your resume and several copies of your reference list.
    • Pack a snack.  If you are going to have a long day of interviewing, pack a powerbar to munch on during a break period and a bottle of water.
    • Inquire about the next steps
      • Will there be follow-up interviews
      • When do they anticipate making an offer
      • Will all candidate be notified, or only the successful candidate 
    • Do a post interview assessment
      • As best as you can, summarize the questions you were asked the answers you gave.
      • Write down any points you didn't have the chance to make/share.
    • Send a thank you email to everyone you met with.
    • Find a way to connect with your interviewer through LinkedIn; maybe an on-point article you want to share
    • Follow-up with your references.  Make sure they know what position you interviewed for and who might be calling.

Types of Interviews

  • Also sometimes referred to as a screening interview.  This is a cost effective way for an employer to screen and narrow a pool to its top candidates for in-person interviews.  Here are a few key pieces of information:

    • Phone interviews are generally 30 minutes or less.
    • Take/make the call in a quiet room away from all distractions.
    • If possible, turn off your call waiting notification.
    • Prepare for and treat it like an in-person interview, including dressing the part.
    • Because you cannot be seen, it is imperative you speak clearly, a bit slower, and be energetic with your tone and inflection.
    • Try to avoid talking over the person on the other end, but don't panic if you both speak at the same time; simply defer to the interviewer.  For example, "I'm sorry, please go ahead with your question."
    • When the employer ends the interview, be sure to thank the interviewer for his/her time and reiterate your interest in the position.
  • Gaining in popularity is the video or Skype interview.  This is basically the same thing as a phone interview with advanced technology that allows you to see the interviewer and for the interviewer to see you.  You should prepare for this type of interview as you would any other and apply the tips shared in the phone interview section.
  • This is one of the most common forms of in-person interviews.  We share the following tips:

    • Always inquire if there are specific materials you should bring with you to the interview.
    • Be sure you have the correct address and the name of the person you are to meet with.
    • Plan your driving route to the interview and do a test drive there if you have time.
    • Allows allow more time to get to your destination than is needed; better to wait in the parking lot than to be late!
    • Arrive in the office about 5-10 minutes early and always be nice to the reception staff when checking in.
    • Turn off all of your electronics--- yes off, not silent or vibrate.
    • Always bring extra copies of your resume.
    • Bring your list of references with updated contact information.
  • Some companies and organizations utilize a small group/committee interview format.  This is when you will meet with several members of the organization at one time and answer a series of questions.  In addition to what you would do for the individual interview, here are some tips for navigating a committee interview:

    • Write down the names and titles of the members of the committee; you will want them for your follow-up thank you message.
    • Make eye contact with everyone in the room when answering questions, regardless of who asked the question.
    • Try to develop a strong rapport/connection with each member of the committee.
  • In some cases, companies and organizations have multiple levels of interviews to fill positions.  Based on your first interview, you may be asked back to meet with senior level members of the organization.  Keep the following in mind:

    • Inquire what your interview schedule may look like.  It's always good to know if you will be there for only a few hours or possibly a full day.
    • Ask who you will be meeting with.  They may indicate they will be sending you an agenda/itinerary outlining your return visit.
    • Where something different to your second interview.
    • Remember, you made a positive first impression.  Be sure to build on that.
    • This is likely the last step in the process before an offer is made.
  • While the types of interviews outlined above are the most common, there are a few other interview types you may participate in:

    Behavioral Interview: This type of interview traditionally requires you to share examples of past work experiences and how you applied specific core skills and competencies to the work you performed.  It is more likely you will be asked some behavioral based questions in a more traditional interview format.

    Task Oriented Interview:  In this type of interview, you may be given an actual task or case study to complete; or you may be given a short test to evaluate your technical knowledge and skills.  You may also be asked to give a presentation to a small group of employees to evaluate your communication skills.

    Stress Interview: While rare, some interviews or interview questions may be presented in a manner to assess your ability to handle pressure situations.  An interviewer may appear to be antagonistic.  It is important to maintain your composure and show you will not be baited into an uncomfortable situation.