Preparing for an Interview

Interviews are an important part of the job search process. The interview is where you can expand on your resume, discuss the job qualifications, ask questions, and explain to your potential employer why you are the best person for the job.  This page will help you prepare for an interview and help you present yourself in the best way possible. 

 

General Interview Tips

  • Bring a copy of your resume, application, and other job related material with you to the interview for quick reference
  • Research the company and job opportunity to prepare questions and possible ways you can relate your past experiences and skills to the job    
  • Practice your "elevator speech"    
    • Elevator Speech—A short 30- 45 second presentation on yourself and why you are right for the job. The idea is that you can give this quick speech in the time it takes to ride an elevator with a potential employer.     
  • Visit these links to practice common interview questions:  the MuseHire Autism, or Betterteam
  • Dress to impress (see below)   
  • Arrive at the office 5 to 10 minutes before the scheduled interview time
  • Do not give demands about what you want from the job and instead focus on what you can offer the company or employer
  • Do not speak negatively about a previous job. Instead explain why you'd like to move onto this new position and you can grow as an employee with this new opportunity.
  • Follow up with your interviewer with a thank you note or thank you email within 24 hours after the interview. Be sure to proofread it!  
  • Be sure your voicemail is set up with a personalized, professional greeting if offering a personal cell phone number on your resume. If you offer your home's landline number, be sure your name is included in the voicemail greeting. 
  • You do not have to disclose your disability during an interview if you do not want to. It is ILLEGAL for an interviewer to inquire about a disability. The decision to disclose is entirely yours to make.

 

Helpful Hints

  • Practice interviewing with a family member or friend
    7 Ways to Banish (Almost) All of Your Pre-Interview Jitters 
  • Video tape your practice interview and review it to see how you can improve your body language and interview responses
  • Prepare a short list of questions to ask the interviewer 
  • Silence your phone!
  • Don't chew gum
  • Shake hands with your interviewer(s) before the interview begins and again after the interview ends
  • Keep your interview responses as brief and focused as possible to avoid going off-topic

 

 

What To Wear

  • When dressing for an interview it is important to look professional. It is always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. Always remember to look and feel your best for an interview whether it is in person, on the phone, or via video call.      
  • Tips for good interview dress:
    - Make sure your outfit is clean and wrinkle free
    - Hair is neat, brushed, and styled
    - Clean fingernails
    - Dress business professional or business formal
    - Shine your shoes
    - Don’t wear flashy ties or jewelry
  • Click here to read more about office attire

Phone Interview

  • Be on time if you are calling or ready when the employer calls you.   
  • Dress like you would for an in-person interview. This will help you get into the professional mindset.   
  • Speak slowly and clearly   
  • Make sure you are in an area with limited background noise
  • Don’t feel rushed to answer questions right away. Take your time.
  • Take notes before the interview and use them as a reference guide during the call.
  • Try not to move around a lot as it can be heard through the phone and make it more difficult for your interviewers to understand you. 
  • Smile. Smiling during an interview makes you sound friendlier.
  • Treat this interview with the same professionalism you would an in-person interview.
  • How Do I Make A Better First Impression During Phone Interviews?

 

Skype or Video Interview

  • Be on time when you are connecting so you are ready when the employer calls you.
  • Test out your mode of communication well before the interview. Have a friend or family member practice calling you to make sure everything is working properly. This way, you can also adjust the volume and camera lens.
  • Keep your physical environment in mind. Make sure you are sitting at a desk or table without visible clutter in the background. Solid neutral colored backgrounds are best. Check the lighting to make sure you can be seen clearly.
  • Close all other programs on your computer to reduce the risk of them making noise during your interview.
  • Treat it like an in-person interview.  Look at the camera, not the picture. If you find the image of yourself distracting close it or cover it.
  • Plan for technical difficulties and have a phone handy in case you need to change modes of communication.
  • Let everyone in the house or room know that you will be in an interview to reduce the risk of interruptions.Keep your profile professional, this is the first thing your interviewer will see. Make sure your username and photo are appropriate and professional.
  • Read more here and here