As you prepare for the interview, it is important to take inventory of your interests, skills, personality strengths, and values. Brainstorm and prepare specific examples from your past experiences that demonstrate how your academic and professional background, skill set, and interests align with the organization’s needs.
Company research is the piece that few candidates take the time to do well, but can really set you apart during the interview process. Research the organization, by reviewing the company’s website and reading recent news articles from recommended resource such as Glassdoor.
Practice your interview skills through mock interviews with a career counselor in the Hegi Family Career Development Center. Call the front desk to set up an appointment at 214-768-2266 or stop in during Career Express offered Monday-Friday, 11:00-12:00 and 1:00-3:00.
Don’t forget your suit! Business professional is the standard dress code for a job or internship interview. Check out SMU Hegi Career Center on Pinterest to see examples for what to wear for both women and men.
The Big Day
Arrive 10-15 minutes early. Remember that your non-verbal language is just as important as what you say. Make sure to greet your interviewer with a firm handshake, maintain appropriate eye contact, and sit up straight. Be excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity- don’t forget to smile! Speak positively about your academic and work experience, as well as past employers.
Most interviews typically involve a combination of general questions and behavioral based questions to assess strengths, related skills, interest, and fit with the organization. The assumption for behavioral based interviewing is that your past behavior predicts your future behavior. Because employers only have a limited time to determine if you are the best fit for the position, it is critical for you to provide strong examples that demonstrate skills and learning from your past experiences that relate to the position you are interviewing for.
Make sure to prepare questions in advance for the employer that show you have done your research and are genuinely eager in learning more about the organization and position. Remember you are interviewing them, just as much as they are interviewing you- so, ask good questions!
The Follow Up
After the interview, make sure to send a well-written thank you letter or email no more than 48 hours after you meet. Remind the interviewer who you are and show your appreciation. Reflect back on the interview and reference specific examples from your discussion, as well as restate your interest and fit with the position and organization.