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The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

Career Corner: Preparing for an Interview

This graphic is from CareerHub.
This graphic is from CareerHub.

Preparing for an interview can be nerve-wracking, but with the right mindset and a few key strategies, you can set yourself up for success. I often get students who are not ready as they think they are for an interview. When I start asking some of the possible questions an employer may ask, they stumble around with ohh, uhhhh and they freeze. However, after a few practice questions, they see themselves in a much better position than when they started and ready for any kind of interview that comes their way. Here are some strategies anyone can take to make sure they are fully prepared and confident on the big day.

First, like anything else in school, you have to do some homework. Make sure you research the company. Before you walk into an interview, it is important to have a good understanding of the organization and the role you are applying for. You have to spend some time researching their vision, values, and culture, and if possible, recent news or developments that might be relevant to your interview. You do not want to be in a position when they ask you “So what can you tell us about our company?” and answer: “I was hoping you would tell me about it today!”

Second, make sure you take the time to review the job description and understand the responsibilities and qualifications required for the position. This is not rocket science, and it will help you prepare answers that align with the company’s expectations and demonstrate that you are fit for the role. A good way to do this is to think about any relevant experiences or skills you can highlight during the interview.

Third, one of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to practice your answers to simple and common interview questions. Where would you go for that? Any Employment Development Specialist in the CareerHub S101 can help you.  Give us a call at 414-297-6216 and you can simply book an in-person or virtual meeting with us. We will practice common interview questions with you and you will answer them. We will help you by focusing on answering the question directly and succinctly, while also showing your skills and experience.

Fourth, you have to dress for the occasion. Please do not come with fashionable jeans with holes, sandals, or dressed as if you are going to a prom party. You have to take into account the company’s culture and dress code. I always recommend erring on the side of dressing professionally, rather than too casual. And make sure your clothes are wrinkle-free and that your hair and makeup are tidy.

Fifth, know what “arrive on time” means. If your appointment is at 11 a.m., do not arrive at 11 a.m. or 10 a.m. A good rule of thumb is arriving at least 10-15 minutes early for your interview. Some companies give you a set arrival time before the interview time, to give you enough time to check in with the receptionist and fill out initial paperwork if needed. This can also give you time to use the restroom and feel more relaxed to calm your nerves before the interview. I suggest, if you have the time, always check the location a day ahead of time and find the best possible route to get there.

The sixth strategy is to be ready for the interview; always bring a copy of your resume, even when you have already submitted one online. This can give you the opportunity to highlight some of the skills someone might have missed. You can also bring along any other relevant documents or certifications that you are proud of and relevant to enhance your skills. This can also show the interviewer that you are organized and prepared, and this will help you refresh your memory when you need to reference any past experiences or accomplishments during the interview.

The final strategy, do not leave them just hanging after the interview. Always do a follow up. You can send a simple email to each person who interviewed you, thank them for their time, and at the same time remind them about your skills and that you are very interested in being part of the team. You can also highlight any relevant skills or experiences that you may have overlooked during the interview.

If you practice these tips, I can almost guarantee you will move to the next phase of the interview or they might make you an offer for the position you just interviewed for.

 

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