Stand above other applicants — Be prepared!
Review this Interview Checklist and follow these steps for success.
Step 1: Research the Company
- What are the organization’s major products and services? Any new products or services?
- Who are the organization’s clients or target market(s)?
- Who are the organization’s competitors?
- What is the organization’s relative position in the marketplace? (e.g. leader, #2, #5, etc.)
- What problems or issues is the organization facing?
- What are some of the organization’s recent projects, successes, new accounts, etc.
- What is the company culture?
- What size is the organization? Annual sales? Areas of growth or decline?
- Is the company privately or publicly owned? Is it an independent organization or part of a larger conglomerate?
Additional Sources of Information:
- Review the organization’s website and LinkedIn page if applicable.
- Use any search engine to access links to information about the organization.
- Call the company directly and request information such as annual reports, brochures, or other available materials.
- Work with Ame’s Library resources
- Check out Vault’s Career Insider, accessible from Titan CareerLink and glassdoor.com for insider reviews
- Students may also utilize the Hart Career Center resource library to obtain sources of information on organizations.
Step 2: Know Yourself
What skills and qualifications do you possess that the employer needs? What personal qualities and skills make you a strong candidate? Create an inventory of your skills.
• Computer/Technical • Communication • Accounting/Bookkeeping
• Analytical/Research • Organization • Management/Leadership
• Marketing • Financial • Teaching/Training
• Administrative • Selling • Helping/Counseling
Step 3: Prepare to Make a Positive Impression: Clothing and Accessories
Clothing - Conservative is best.
Men: A two-piece gray, black or dark blue suit with a white or pale long-sleeved dress shirt and matching tie.
Women: A tailored suit in a conservative color, such as tan, gray, burgundy, black, or dark blue.
Jewelry - Simple and conservative, no nose, eyebrow, lip rings. For women, avoid anything that dangles. For men, no bracelets, earrings, or large rings.
Cologne - Your best bet is something subtle or nothing at all.
Portfolio - Bring one to hold your resume and your list of questions, and paper to take notes
Cell Phone - Leave it in your car. Really.
Clothing cannot compensate for poor qualifications, but don’t let your grooming and dress work against you when your professional image can be an asset.
- Professional Attire for Men & Women , by the University of Tennessee. Covers Business Professional & Business Casual.
- Suggestions for wowing your work place as seen in an article from Forbes .
- When Job Hunting: Dress for Success --an article by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. offers general advice for looking your best
- Dress for Success Tips for Women complete with photo examples
- Dress for Success Tips for Men with photo examples and other links
- 2 Major Mistakes Made in Dressing for Success w/ Bonus Tips by Jeff Zelaya
After the Interview: Professional Follow-Up
Send each person with whom you interviewed a formal thank you letter within 24 hours. Individualize each letter to the person. Include:
- why you are excited about working for this organization
- why you are a good candidate for this position
- additional information that wasn’t covered in the interview that is relevant to the position
- thank them for the interview and considering you a serious candidate
If you accept a position, it is a good idea to confirm you’re acceptance in writing (Example acceptance letter). Additionally, accepting a job offer ethically obligates you to cease job search efforts and to withdraw your candidacy from other organizations (Career Center Ethical Guidelines). A courteous phone call followed by a professional letter is most appropriate (Example withdrawal letter).