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Job Interview Skills

Practicing for the Interview

Practice makes perfect, and that is especially true for interviewing skills. To interview successfully, you need to practice your answers to typical interview questions, review your body language, and determine what works well and what does not.

Review your resume and qualifications.  How do they fit the job for which you are interviewing? Be prepared to elaborate on your experiences and to reinforce the statements in your resume with concrete examples. For instance, if you have said that your communications skills are one of your strengths, give an example to demonstrate that. If you prepare examples for each of the statements on your resume, you will not be caught off guard in an interview when you are asked to provide them or to tell why you are qualified for the position.

Review the most common interview questions. Click here for our list or review those listed by other schools. Practice your answers to these questions out loud, but do not try to memorize your answers. When considering how you should answer the questions, remember that you are interviewing for a job.  Provide related examples, but do not include a lot of personal information. Ask yourself why the employer would ask that question. How does it relate to the job for which you are interviewing? And remember, a positive attitude is the most important facet of successful interviewing.  Put a positive spin on even the most negative questions.

Practice in front of a mirror.  Once you have reviewed your questions, practice your answers in front of a mirror to see how you would look to the employer.  Do you make funny faces when you can't remember something? How is your eye contact? Do you rock back and forth in your chair or sit with your arms tightly clasped to your body?  Successful interviewing includes command of both verbal  language and  body language. Sit straight, but not so straight you look like you are attached to a metal pole.  Lean forward occasionally to show that you are interested, but don't slouch. Maintain eye contact, but don't stare. Look down or away occasionally because no one want to feel like a bug pinned to a wall. Use your hands to emphasize your points, but avoid large, sweeping gestures that are distracting. How often did you say "um," or "you know?"

Practice with a friend, family member, or career adviser. If you are unsure how to answer certain questions, or want to get someone else's opinion of your interviewing skills, ask your family or friends to help.  If they cannot, you can attend an interview workshop or schedule an appointment with a career adviser for a mock interview. These are usually videotaped because that is the best way for the adviser to provide feedback to you.

Next: Acing the Behavioral Interview

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