Interview Checklist

If you are unfamiliar with where the company is located, check it out ahead of time. If your interview is on campus, call ahead and ask the Career Center where the interview will take place. Make sure you allow time for traffic and parking so you won't have to rush in to your interview.

Arrive at least 10-15 minutes ahead of time. Use this time to re-check your grooming and comb your hair. Being early reflects your promptness and interest. Patiently wait for the interviewer. Be very pleasant with the receptionist with whom you make the initial contact to announce your arrival

Handshake - Interviewers prefer a firm handshake. It reflects your confidence level and some personal qualities. Your handshake should never be too firm, nor should it be limp like a fish. If the interviewer does not extend his or her hand to you before or after the interview (this is rare), you can either make the first gesture by extending your hand or not shake hands at all. Do not hesitate, however, to initiate the handshake.

Non-verbal

Our non-verbal behaviors convey just as much as our words. Non-verbal messages can be quite strong and are assessed carefully by interviewers.

Eye Contact - This is a very crucial part, not only of the interview, but in your daily contacts with people. Maintain good eye contact with the people with whom you are interviewing. Do not glare at them. Do not look down, up, or to the side of them; that strongly suggests a lack of confidence. However, do look at them in the eye in a friendly manner. Look directly at the person when you speak. It is okay to look away for a few seconds especially when you may need to think about a response to a tough question. Only look away for a small number of seconds and then return your focus to the interviewer.

Posture - Maintain proper posture throughout the interview. Slouching and leaning down in your chair reflects laziness, lack of interest, and a lack of confidence. Being too rigid and tense will convey inflexibility and nervousness. Be comfortable. Keep your shoulders up and back.

Gestures - Gestures can enhance your message, provided they are not overdone. Raising your eyebrows at something interesting and using your hands to express a point and relay a story, all add to your presentation. Caution: if these things are overdone, they will distract others and take away from your message and the interview.

Words

Grammar usage is very important during the interview. Correct grammar impresses employers. Avoid slang and incorrect grammar.

Attitude

Your attitude tells a lot to the interviewer. Your attitude should reflect an optimistic, self-confident person who enjoys learning and challenges. If you are generally a negative, pessimistic person, it will be reflected during the interview.

Focus on positive aspects of courses, positions, or employers. Don't concentrate on the negative aspects of your life such as courses you might not have done well in or former jobs you disliked.

If you had a bad night or bad morning before the interview, do not let that be known. If you are not feeling up to par (as long as you are not seriously ill), do not let the interviewer know this. Gear yourself up for the 30 minutes and be positive. Don't bring your problems and worries with you.

Relax

This may be easier said than done. A little bit of nervousness is healthy; it keeps you alert and shows you care about what you're doing. However, being too tense, shy, withdrawn, or anxious may be a barrier to landing a position.

If you feel that tenseness is a problem, read some books or get some assistance on stress and anxiety management. Talk with a counselor or take a workshop to minimize the effects of stress. Take deep breaths to calm down.

The Career Center staff will assist you with this area. Mock interviews, for example, are designed to help you in alleviating interviewing anxieties.

Listening Skills

Good listening skills are crucial throughout life. When people don't properly listen, we don't fully hear what the other person is saying and a communication breakdown begins

As you practice relaxing your body for the interview, you will listen better. Don't try to guess what the interviewer's next question will be or only listen to the first part of a two-part question. Sit still, relax, and fully listen before answering. Repeat the question silently to yourself. With good listening skills, you have more thorough and accurate responses. If you relax and listen well during the interview, you can also formulate additional questions to the ones you already prepared before the interview.

Most organizations are looking for "team-spirit." Cite examples of your past performance as a team player, whether as a leader or member of an organization or campus group.