Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Interview Preparation

By Ethan Vernon, senior international affairs and Chinese major at CU-Boulder

Interview skills are developed slowly overtime as you gain experience interviewing. As they say, practice makes perfect! In the meantime, check out these useful tips to help you get started.

There are many types of interviews to prepare for. Sometimes the interview atmosphere will seem very casual, and your interviewer may seem a step outside of the professional sphere. Be careful to retain your professionalism, as interviewers may use this technique to get your defenses down and find out your dirty secrets. Conversely, employers find out how well you do under pressure if they feel that there is a tense atmosphere in the room. Breathe, relax, and remember that it is only an interview.

Outside of the scenarios above, most interviews can be approached with the basics in mind. Your attire should be of the same level or one step higher than the attire worn on the job. Typically, business and business casual are both respectable options. Attitude is also important. Although it may vary by the job, generally employers want someone who is comfortable and personable. Smiling, maintaining eye contact, and controlling your speech are all things to keep in mind. Also, if you’re nervous, posture can be a dead giveaway. Sit up, put your feet out in front of you, roll your shoulders back, and lift your chin.
Two topics are undoubtedly going to come up in interviews: strengths and weaknesses. Strengths should be thrown in whenever possible. Most interview questions can be turned into a reference to a job task, a skill used or exemplified by that task, and the outcome of your effort. Try to have at least a few of these on the ready. Weaknesses also come up in almost every interview. Identify your weakness, why it exists, and what you can do or are doing to make up for it.

If you’re looking for some additional interview preparation, be sure to come in and see us at Career Services in the C4C! Our Career Counselors are trained professionals in the skill of interviewing, and they would love to help you get ready to land your next job opportunity.