Prepare for the interview!
Know your Skills - Use this link to help you identify your skills and communicate them to the employer.
Schedule a practice interview with HCC Career Services and receive feedback to constructively
prepare and feel your best for the real interview! Tips can be found below and here and here!
Keep your answers brief and concise. Unless asked to give more details, limit your
answers to two to three minutes per question. Tape yourself and see how long it takes
you to fully answer a question.
- Include concrete, quantifiable data. Interviewees tend to talk in generalities. Unfortunately,
generalities often fail to convince interviewers that the applicant has assets. Include
measurable information and provide details about specific accomplishments when discussing
- Repeat your key strengths three times. It s essential that you comfortably and confidently
articulate your strengths.
- Explain how the strengths relate to the company s or department s goals and how they
might benefit the potential employer. If you repeat your strengths then they will
be remembered and if supported with quantifiable accomplishments they will more likely
- Prepare five or more success stories. In preparing for interviews, make a list of
your skills and key assets. Then reflect on past jobs and pick out one or two instances
when you used those skills successfully.
- Put yourself on their team. Ally yourself with the prospective employer by using the
employer s name and products or services. For example, As a member of __________,
I would carefully analyze the __________ and ______. Show that you are thinking like
a member of the team and will fit in with the existing environment. Be careful though
not to say anything that would offend or be taken negatively. Your research will help
you in this area!
- Image is often as important as content. What you look like and how you say something
are just as important as what you say. Studies have shown that 65 percent of the conveyed
message is nonverbal; gestures, physical appearance, and attire are highly influential
during job interviews.
- Ask questions. The types of questions you ask and the way you ask them can make a
tremendous impression on the interviewer. Good questions require advance preparation.
Just as you plan how you would answer an interviewer s questions, write out any specific
questions you want to ask. Then look for opportunities to ask them during the interview.
Don t ask about benefits or salary. The interview process is a two-way street whereby
you and the interviewer assess each other to determine if there is an appropriate
- Maintain a conversational flow. By consciously maintaining a conversational flow a
dialogue instead of a monologue you will be perceived more positively. Use feedback
questions at the end of your answers and use body language and voice intonation to
create a conversational interchange between you and the interviewer.
- Research the company, product lines and competitors. Research will provide information
to help you decide whether you re interested in the company and important data to
refer to during the interview.
- Keep an interview journal. As soon as possible, write a brief summary of what happened.
Note any follow-up action you should take and put it in your calendar. Review your
presentation. Keep a journal of your attitude and the way you answered the questions.
Did you ask questions to get the information you needed? What might you do differently
next time? Prepare and send a brief, concise thank you letter. Restate your skills
and stress what you can do for the company.
Skills: What are hard and soft skills?
Hard skills are job-specific.These are the skills you learn when training or pursuing an education.
They are usually career specific.
Soft skills are essential for success in every field of employment. These are the
employer expectations of all employees. They form a good work ethic that all employers
are seeking in employees.
These 10 competencies are believed to shape a good work ethic:
- Have a positive attitude
2. Work well with others
3. Follow directions
4. Show up for work on time
5. Recognize problems and find solutions
6. Manage time effectively
7. Apply good listening skills
8. Be honest and dependable
9. Pass a drug or background test
10. Dress properly and practice good grooming
Whether an individual works in a corporate office, retail store, restaurant or self-employed,
by practicing the 10 above mentioned competencies,they are contributing to their own
success and to the success of their company.
Dress for Success
Good first impressions are essential! You will be evaluated by your interviewer(s)
based upon your style, cleanliness, accessories, the firmness of your handshake, your
posture, and your eye contact, enthusiasm and confidence.
Dressing for success does not have to be expensive. A few well coordinated pieces
work well for your interview. Thrift, second-hand and consignment stores offer appropriate,
professional clothes at a very reasonable price. Contact Angie Watson if you need
assistance with interview outfits.
General Tips Checklist
- Wear professional and conservative clothing.
- Ensure that clothing is clean, pressed and well-fitted.
- Wear conservative shoes that are clean and polished.
- Choose accessories that complement your clothing rather than distract from it.
- Remove facial and body piercings and cover visible tattoos to avoid distraction.
- Keep fragrances and jewelry minimal. Avoid anything that jingles, dangles or distracts.
- Make sure your hair is clean and conservative in color and style.
- Less is more. Keep your look simple but classy until you become accustomed to the
environment and learn about the company s dress code.
Tips for Women
- Acceptable dress includes a suit (skirt or slacks) or conservatively tailored dress
with a jacket. Traditionally, skirts should be knee-length. Slightly shorter or longer
are also acceptable.You should be able to sit comfortably.
- Avoid blouses or sweaters that are transparent, tight fitting, have low necklines,
revealing waistlines or details that detract from your face. You want to appear professional,
not sexy. Typically, arms are covered at least to the biceps and often to the wrist.
- Always wear plain-style, non-patterned hose to interviews. The color should flatter
your skin tone. A neutral color is always safe. Carry an extra pair in case of runs.
- Perfume should never be strong. A fragrance can cause an allergic reaction or offend
the interviewer. When in doubt, do not wear perfume.
- Apply natural-looking makeup and clear nail polish. This keeps the focus on the interview.
- Wear flat shoes or low pumps in colors that avoid making your feet a focal point.
Be sure your shoes are clean and polished. Avoid shoes that hinder walking fast.
Avoid open-toed shoes since they are often associated with social agendas.
- Accessories express your personality and accentuate your best features. Keep it simple
and in moderation.
Tips for Men
- Depending upon the position you can wear dress pants and a button down shirt. If
a suit is expected, wear a matching suit in navy, black or gray (pinstripe or solid).
- Select a white or a light blue dress shirt that contrasts with the jacket and/or tie.
Typically, arms should be covered to the wrist.
- Ties should coordinate with the jacket and pants, but choose one that strongly contrasts
with the color of your shirt; selecting subtle or simple patterns
- Socks should be calf-length or above the calf. Choose neutral colors such as dark
blue, black or gray.
- Your shoes should be clean and shined and should blend with your pants.
Select a leather belt that visually blends with or matches your shoes.
- Your hair should be neat and clean and your should be clean shaven. If you have facial
hair, it should be neat and groomed.
- Minimize jewelry.
- Cologne should never be strong. A fragrance can cause an allergic reaction or offend
the interviewer(s). When in doubt, do not wear cologne
Indeed Career Guide Resource