"I learned a vital amount of information on how to be a more competitive applicant"
- Nneka Udechukwu, Junior, Chemistry major
Click the photo to watch Nneka's video testimony
- The interview is your opportunity to shine! Be confident and put your best foot forward.
- Be prepared to share related experiences, skills, and accomplishments.
- Offer detailed and specific examples that demonstrate your "fit" for the position.
- Dress to impress (most industries prefer business suits).
- Know the industry standards and company history.
- Remember that regardless of how much experience you have, what your GPA is, who you know, or how great your resume appears, if you are not able to interview successfully, you will not get the job. Your resume gets you to the interview, and your interview gets you the job.
Type of Interviews (see below)
Schedule a practice interview at the Career Center
Everyone can use help improving upon their interview skills. After your resume and cover letter are critiqued, consider making an appointment for a practice interview. During a practice interview, a career advisor will simulate an actual interview experience by going through interview questions you would likely encounter at a job interview. Afterwards, you will be evaluated and given some constructive feedback on the three main components that employers look for in job candidates. The first is content, the hard and verifiable skills and experiences you possess which are found on your resume. The second is your presentation. You need to present a resume that is tailored to the position, clear, concise and well written as well as appear professional and competent in person. A career advisor can discuss other presentation techniques such as what to bring to the interview, what attire is appropriate based on the setting and industry, and the importance of prompt thank you notes. The third factor you'll discuss is your personality and non-verbals. Your personality can set you apart from other candidates. Many students find it helpful to take advantage of the digital practice interview technology available in the Career Center. Watching a recording of your practice interview as well as getting verbal feedback from a career advisor will help ensure that you make a great impression during your interviews with employers, which is critical.
Come to drop-in hours Tuesday - Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. to discuss interviewing strategies and set up a follow up practice interview. Be mindful to give yourself at least one week prior to the actual interview as appointments fill up quickly. Be sure to let the person you make the appointment with know if you are preparing for an interview with a specific company or in a specific industry. The more information the Career Counselor has in advance, the more tailored and relevant the practice questions will be for you. Before your appointment make sure to email a copy of your resume to the Career Counselor. In addition, it is a good idea to review and practice some interview questions prior to the appointment. The more familiar you are with the questioning process, the more you will gain from the practice interview session.
Prepare questions to ask the employer/recruiter
At the end of an interview, employers will often ask if you have any questions for them. Show your interest in the position by asking questions. It helps to prepare a number of questions which demonstrate your interest in the position, industry and employer. Examples of questions you might ask include:
- What does someone in this position do in a typical week?
- What is the career progression for employees with my skill set?
- What do you consider to be the key projects or issues for this position?
- What are the primary results you would like to see me produce?
- What is the training process?
- Are there mentors available to assist me?
- What successful skills would a person in this position need to possess?
- What is the performance evaluation process?
- What do you like most about working here?
- What do you like least about working here?
- When do you expect to make a hiring decision?
- What are the next steps in the hiring process?
- May I contact you if I have additional questions? (Be sure to ask for a business card).
Follow up tips
- Immediately after your interview write a follow-up thank you letter.
- After the interview write down impressions, answers to questions, and when you were told that you can expect to hear from the organization regarding next steps.
- Note the names of people you met, such as members of a department or secretaries.
- Try to analyze how well you did. Did you cover points you intended to cover? What areas could you improve on?
- Send thank you notes/letters and/or emails immediately.
Remember to always write a follow-up/thank you letter after each interview with an employer. If you had multiple interviewers, then send each a letter/note and be sure to include unique information in each letter. Some recruiters say that they wait to see which students will send a follow-up/thank you letter before determining who will receive an invitation for second interviews.
Types of Interviews
There are many types of interviews. When you schedule an interview, try to get as much information about whom you will be meeting and the style of interview. Most employers will interview a candidate a number of times; therefore, you may experience one or more types of interviews.
Traditional Face to Face Interview
This is conducted in person. It may be conducted by 1-2 representatives. Your focus should be on the person asking the questions. Maintain eye contact, listen and respond confidently, dress appropriately. This is your chance to establish rapport with the interviewer and convince them that your qualifications have prepared you for the position.
Behavioral Based interview
This style of interview is gaining wide acceptance among recruiters. Many employers use this style of interviewing to assure that every candidate has a fair interviewing experience and the same questions are asked of every candidate.
- This type of interview is based on the premise that the best way to predict future behavior is to determine past behavior in a similar situation.
- These interviews focus on questions that ask for examples of past situations which demonstrate your skills and accomplishments.
- Remember, the interviewer is looking for detailed results and listening for names, dates, places, the outcome, and your role in achieving that outcome.
There is more than one interviewer in this situation. This is your chance to highlight your group management and group presentation skills. Try to 'read' the various personality types of the interviewer and find a way to connect with each interviewer. Maintain eye contact with the panel member who asked the question but also seek eye contact with other members of the panel as you answer.
Case Study Interview
This style of interviewing is used most frequently by consulting firms. They use this strategy to evaluate a candidate's thought processes. In these interviews, you are given a problem to solve. Cases may assess your ability to analyze complex open-ended business problems.
Telephone Screening Interview
Employers may choose to conduct telephone interviews to screen applicants and make the first cut. It is important to treat this interview as you would a face-to-face one. Arrange for a quiet space and time for the interview. It is important to use a land line rather than a cell phone so that you do not risk being disconnected in the middle of the interview. You can contact the career center to reserve a room with a land line for your phone interview. Make sure you listen to the questions carefully before you answer. Since your voice is key, speak clearly and convey energy and excitement with the inflection in your voice. It's a good idea to have your resume and notes handy to help you offer the best answers.
This is more than one candidate in this situation. The front-runner candidates are gathered together in a discussion type interview. The goal of the group interview is to see how you interact with others and how you use your knowledge and reasoning to influence others.
This interview takes place over a meal. The same rules apply at a meal as those in the office so even if the setting is more casual, remember it is a business meal and you are being watched carefully. Follow the interviewers lead in both selection of food and etiquette. Do not drink alcohol at any point in the interview process.
Representatives from major organizations come to UK's campus to interview students for over 200 positions throughout the year. This is a great chance to optain an internship or full time job! Apply for these interviews through Wildcat CareerLink using your resume. Have your resume critiqued prior to applying.
Interview at the organization's site
This interview takes place at the organization. It is an interview to decide which applicants should continue in the process and to confirm the initial impression made by the recruiter who recommended the candidate. A company tour may be part of this interview.
Off Site Interview
This interview takes place at a neutral location a the employer's request such as a restaurant or coffee shop. It is an opportunity to see how you behave in a casual informal environment. But don't be fooled, you are still being interviewed. All of the same rules apply. Answer questions completely and offer relevant detailed examples. Ask good questions of the employer.
These interviews take place virtually through the use of web cameras. Employers sometimes opt for this type of interview to save on travel related expenses. They can sometimes be used to pre-screen applicants. It is important to treat this as seriously as a face to face interaction. Dress professionally, choose a well-lit, quite, and clean location, and be sure to test your equiptment prior to the interview.
Business etiquette is all about professionalism and appropriate behavior. You will never have a second chance to make a first impression. First impressions are often lasting impressions with a potential employer. Here are a few tips:
- Do your homework. You'll be more confident and prepared if you go into a business situation knowing what's expected of you, and knowing about the company and the position you're interviewing for. Bring multiple copies of your resume and references, and make sure they're kept neat and unwrinkled in a folder, preferably leather bound portfolio.
- Be on time! In fact, plan to arrive 15 minutes early. That way, you won't be rushed and will give your interviewer the sense that you're punctual and prepared.
- Dress professionally. It's always better to be overdressed and more traditional than too trendy or casual. If possible, find out the expected dress code. In an interview, a business suit is usually a safe choice. In most industries, conservative is better.
- Send thank-you notes. This small gesture can make a world of difference when you're being considered against other candidates. Anytime an employer gives you their time, whether it's a formal or informal setting, be sure to email them within a day and follow up with a hand-written thank you note. You want them to know that their time was appreciated and valued, and that you enjoyed learning more about their company and the open position.
If part of your interview or meeting with an employer includes a meal, good manners are essential. Remember to use utensils, working from the outside in if you're faced with several forks or spoons, and eat slowly. A meal is a chance for your potential employer to see how you act in a more relaxed environment than the interview room, but that doesn't mean you can be casual. Treat the meal as part of the interview process, and if you're unsure about what to order or how to conduct yourself, take your cues from your host.
Check our calendar to see when the next etiquette luncheon will be held.
For specific questions about business or dining etiquette, make an appointment to see a Career Counselor/Consultant by calling 859.257.2746.