Interview Skills

You've landed an interview for your dream job (or internship) and think you've done all the necessary prep work. Are you ready to knock it out of the park and show this company why they should hire you?

Make sure you possess the ability to articulate your experience in a way that is meaningful to this particular employer.

The employer already has a vague notion that you can do the job, or else they would not have brought you in for an interview. Now they are looking for you to inspire them with confidence that their initial instincts about you were on-point.

Specifically, the interview process needs to assure the employer that you have:

  • Specific knowledge, skills (soft and hard), and abilities to perform the job duties
  • Motivation and initiative to do the job
  • An ability to work well with team members and clients – demonstrating emotional intelligence
  • Problem-solving skills that can offer solutions to their company's main points

 

Interviews Involving Technology

Phone Interviews

A potential employer may want to do a preliminary interview over the phone. If you're prepared for the call, you can impress the interviewer.

A few tips:

  • Turn off all distractions. Take your phone to a quiet room.
  • Have all of your tools in one place
    • Resume
    • Pen and paper to jot down interviews name and take notes
    • Company research with highlighted relevant details
    • Questions to ask about the position or the company
    • Outline of points to make during the interview
    • Glass of water
  • Dress the part for an interview. If you're dressed professionally, it will come across in your voice and the way that you speak. 
  • If you get the call unexpectedly, politely excuse yourself and offer to call them back in 5 minutes. This will give you time to make the psychological switch from whatever you were doing to presenting a professional demeanor.
  • Stand up! If you are sitting down or relaxing, you will not project the same readiness or intensity as when you are standing up.
  • Talk only when necessary. Since you don't have visual cues of body language to determine whether you've said enough, mark the end of your response with a question such as 'Would you like more details about my experience as an intern with XYZ company?"
  • Let the employer end the interview. Thank them for their time and express your interest in the position.
  • Write a Thank You Letter to anyone who participated in the phone interview.

Learn more about  Mastering the Phone Interview (PDF)

Video Interviews

Your next interview may not be face-to-face. It could be through a webcam via Skype, Google Hangout, Facetime or other internet service.

According to a recent survey, 55% of employers have used video interviewing as a college recruiting tool. More and more employers are recognizing video as a useful interviewing tool.

Getting ready for your video interview isn't hard. Here's a few things to remember:

Before the Video Interview

  • Internet connection.  Be sure your internet is working at least 1 hour before the interview.
  • Location. You want to find a quiet place (no roommates, pets or distracting noises) with a plain background. If you are at your desk or a table, make sure it is cleared of clutter. 
  • Lighting.  Make sure the room is well lit so the interviewer can see  you clearly. Use diffused lighting to avoid harsh shadows or glare.
  • Camera Position.  Setup your camera so that it is level with your head, or angled slightly downward. You don't want the camera looking up your nose!  It should be far enough away to capture you from the waist up.
  • Test Interview.  Practice with a friend. Fix any technology problems (sound, lighting, camera placement) during this test interview.

 Day of Interview

  • Wear Professional Attire.  Don't wear your pajama bottoms or dress-up only from the waist-up... wear the complete ensemble. Make sure your clothing doesn't blend in with the background
  • Turn off all APPS. You don't want distracting noises to pop up during the interview. 
  • Smile and Make Eye Contact. When the connection between you and the interviewer opens, look directly into the camera (not the screen) to make good eye contact. Remember to use positive body language by smiling and nodding when appropriate. Keep your hands off your face and speak in a conversational tone.
  • Pause after each question.  Just a brief 3-seconds pause before you respond to the question so that you won't talk over the interviewer. Nod at the interviewer to show that you have heard the question. 
  • Use your notes. If you need them, refer to them. But remember that this is a conversation between you and the interviewer, so avoid looking down at your notes as much as possible.
  • Thank the Interviewer. Once finished, thank them for their time.
  • Close the Connection.  Make sure the connection is closed before you do anything else.

Learn more about Preparing for a Video Interview (PDF)