All of your hard work researching, networking, creating tailored resumes and cover letters is paying off and you have an interview! So, what now? The suggestions below and the interview checklist can help!
- Research the Organization
- Attend an interviewing workshop. See the University Career Services calendar on our homepage for workshop dates.
- View interviewing webshop. http://careers.gmu.edu/Presentation/InterviewPrepAndEtiquette/index.htm
- Participate in "Interview Practice Day (IPD)." This program is offered twice a semester. See the University Career Services calendar on our homepage for IPD dates.
- Practice Answering Questions - Parents and professionals are all great resources in preparing for your interview. You can also make an appointment for a practice interview with an industry advisor and/or log on to Interview Stream to practice.
- Plan the details - Bring copies of your resume, a list of references, and dress professionally. Make sure you know how to get to the location and how long it takes to get there. Take into account the time of day and potential traffic.
- Be sure to arrive 10-15 minutes early for your interview
- Prepare questions to ask the interviewer
- Give a firm handshake, make eye contact, and be a good listener.
- Send a thank you note.
- If more than a week has passed beyond the date when you were told you would hear back from the employer, call or e-mail to politely inquire about the status of the organization's decision-making process.
Types of Interviews
A key element to successful interviewing is positively presenting yourself to demonstrate how your qualifications meet the employer's needs. Below are four types of interviews and tips for maximizing your chances for success in each setting.
An informational interview is a structured meeting to gather information from a professional about a career field, an occupation, or an organization.
Sample Script (setting up an Informational Interview):
Hello, this is [your first and last name]. I obtained your name through Mason Career Link at George Mason University or our mutual friend suggested that you would be a good person to talk with regarding…. I am a [indicate your year in school], and your career field is one I am considering or I am graduating this year from Mason with a degree in…. I am trying to learn more about issues and trends in your field and what skills employers seek in the persons they hire.
Requesting the Interview
I would appreciate meeting with you for a half-hour to see your work environment and ask a few questions. Would that be possible in the near future? or Would there be a convenient time to meet for a half-hour in the next two weeks?
Sample questions to ask:
- How did you enter this field? What preparation did you have (classes, activities, experience)?
- What skills, abilities and personal qualities do you find most important in your work?
- How would you advise me to get started in building experience in this field?
- What's your perspective for the next few years in terms of job prospects in this field?
- What are typical career paths in this field?
Find out more about Informational Interviewing under Networking.
Behavioral InterviewThe logic behind the behavioral interview is that past performance is the best predictor of future performance. It is helpful to remember the STAR-F formula when answering behavior based questions.
S-ituation you were in
T-ask you faced
A-ction and role you took to respond to or solve the task
R-esult that occurred based on your action
F-eeling you had about the accomplishment
With the hectic schedule that many employers keep and the high cost of travel, don’t be surprised if your initial interview is over the phone instead of face to face.
- Be prepared to be called
- Find a quiet place
- Be mindful of your voicemail message
- Breathe and speak clearly
- Don’t over talk or under talk.
- Smile while you speak since it effects how you sound on the telephone!
Skyping is an easy way for employers to save on travel expenses for interviews.
- Maintain eye contact much like you would with an in person interview
- Look into the camera NOT at the small picture of the interviewer on your monitor
- Dress professionally
- Don't open a browser window to your favorite website
- Make sure you have a strong signal on your computer and a lot of battery power.
What to Wear to Your Interview
Look the part! Studies show that 65% of communication is visual. It is important to make a good first impression at a job interview, so be sure to dress professionally.
- Wear a suit! Choose conservative colors: blue, brown, black or gray.
- Wear closed toed shoes.
- Keep the jewelry minimal.
- Ladies, your skirts should at least reach your knee.
- Travel light. Don't carry a lot of items with you, only your portfolio and business cards.
If you would like to practice your interview skills, consider scheduling a practice interview to practice with a Career Counselor, attend Interview Practice Day and use Interview Stream to practice on your own.
- Tell me about yourself.
- What is one of your weaknesses?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Why should I hire you?
- Where do you want to be 10 years from now?
- What are your salary requirements?
- What do you consider to be one of your strengths?
- How do your qualifications relate to our position?
- What specific skills and experiences would you ideally look for in the person filling this position?
- How would you describe a typical day in this job?
- What qualities and characteristics does it take to be successful in this position?
- What needs to be accomplished in this position in the next 6 to 12 months?
- What significant changes do you foresee in the future for this position and the company?
- How does one advance in the organization?
- What kind of training do new hires receive in this position in the first three months?
- How much travel is normally expected?What kind of support does this position receive from coworkers, supervisors, and management?
- What kinds of programs are offered for professional development?
- What is the work environment like?
- What else can I tell you about my qualifications?
- When can I expect to hear from you?
These links are resources for students with disabilities:
- George Mason University Office of Disability Services
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) & Employment
- Disclosure of a Disability
- Employment Opportunities
- Internet Resources
- Interview Techniques
- Reasonable Accommodation
- Learn about GettingHired - Employment Growth and Opportunities for People with Disabilities