The interview is an essential step in securing a job. While many people find it somewhat nerve-racking at first, effective (and comfortable) interviewing is a skill that can be acquired and eventually mastered through preparation and practice.
During an interview, the employer will evaluate your competency, compatibility, and acceptability. First, the employer needs to determine that you have the ability to perform the specific functions of the position. Second, the interviewer must consider whether your personal qualities "fit in" with the firm environment and culture. Finally, the employer will want to confirm that you are "acceptable" in that you have no hidden flaws or "skeletons in the closet." With respect to this final step, be aware of what an employer may discover about you by conducting an online search, and be prepared to respond to any questions regarding this online content.
Similar to the format of a business letter, an interview generally opens with a greeting, followed by discussion, and ends with a closing. The greeting, although frequently filled with "small talk," is particularly important because the rapport established during this time sets the tone for the entire interview. First impressions are key. Be punctual and well-groomed. Use a firm handshake, smile, speak clearly, look the interviewer in the eye, and appear confident and pleased to make their acquaintance. Your goal is to present a relaxed, yet professional, appearance.
During the discussion phase of the interview, you and the employer will exchange information. This is the time when you will focus on presenting your strengths as a candidate – i.e., "selling yourself." You must know yourself (i.e., memorize your resume), the organization with which you are interviewing, and the qualities you possess that match the employer’s needs. Remember, the interview should be a two-way conversation. Maintain a dialogue and demonstrate a high level of interest in the discussion. Dynamic communication is a valuable tool that all employers (and future clients) will appreciate.
Before concluding the interview, ask when you might be advised further regarding the status of your application and whom you might contact if you have any additional questions. After the interview, write down the names of the individuals you met and any information about the organization or the position that you had not previously known or that you found notably significant. This will prove helpful to you in writing a "thank you" note and in making a decision if you succeed in being offered the position.
Office of Career Services
Founders Hall 118
919 Albany St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015