University at Albany

The Day of the Interview

Hints and tips for right before the interview, during the interview and after. 

Before the Interview
You need to make sure you are dressed appropriately.  Questions to ask yourself are:
• Does my suit need to be dry cleaned?
• Is my shirt/blouse cleaned and pressed?
• Are my shoes shined?
• Men: Do I have clean, dark socks?
Women: Do I have 2 pairs of pantyhose with no runs?

After getting your clothes ready for your interview, pay attention to your grooming.  Although there are different expectations for grooming throughout the world, in the United States recruiters will expect you to shower, wear deodorant, and wear clean clothes. Additional suggestions

  • Men should shave or trim their beards/mustaches
  • Women should wear minimal, subtle makeup and jewelry
  • Everyone should wear subtle cologne.  You should be known for your qualities and skills, not your SCENT!!
  • If possible, remove all facial piercings (except earrings) and cover all tattoos.

Arriving at the Interview

Make sure you arrive in the office 10 minutes before the interview is schedule to begin.  If you need to drive a distance, make sure you get to the area 30 – 45 minutes early.  In this case do not enter the office itself until 10 minutes before the interview.

Once you arrive at the building, the interview process has begun. You can be judged by how you behave with parking attendants, receptionists, and security guards. Greet everyone you meet with courtesy. Receptionists and secretaries often have input into hiring decisions.

The Interview Process 

The interview process usually begins with introductions.  Be sure to make a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and greet everyone by name.  If you cannot pronounce someone’s name correctly, ask them to repeat their name and then repeat it back.

Interviews usually start with some small talk to break the ice but it will quickly move to their interview questions.  Usually, an interview goes back and forth like a conversation.  The interviewer should take the lead but when they have asked all of their questions, be prepared to ask questions you have prepared.

Here are lists of Sample Questions

When answering questions, be sure to

  • Never speak negatively about former employers
  • Listen carefully and take your time answering
  • Speak clearly and concisely (Never use slang or incorrect grammar)
  • Emphasize your strengths
  • Discuss your weaknesses only when asked, and then do so in a positive light

Wrapping Up

At the end of the interview,

  • Ask the interviewer what is the next step in the interview process and when you will hear from them
  • Let them know that you’re interested in the job and that you feel you would be an excellent candidate.  At this time, be sure to be confident, not ARROGANT!
  • Make sure you get business cards from everyone.  This will help with spelling names when writing thank you letters

Follow-up after an Interview

After the interview, it is important to think about how you did, write thank you letters and follow up with employers. 

How did you do? - What caught you off guard? How you can prepare better for the next interview?

Thank-you letters- Write a thank-you letter or e-mail within two days.Learn more about thank you letters

Follow up!- If you do not hear back from the company in a reasonable time, it is a good idea to follow up.  Call or e-mail them.  When you call,

  • Ask them where they are in their hiring process
  • Get a date by which you should expect to hear their decision
  • Do not ask them why they have not contacted you!

If you have an offer from a company but are still waiting for your first choice company to respond, it is OK to tell both companies as long as you are respectful and truthful.

To the company who made you an offer:
Find out when they need an answer. If you need more time, ask them for more time because you are waiting to hear from other opportunities as well. They may say no but it is never a problem to ask. 

To your first choice company:
Tell them that you have another offer but you are very interested in working for them. Ask them when they might be able to give you an answer.

During the interview process, it is likely that you will be rejected by some companies.  Unfortunately, this happens more often than not. The important thing is to not take it personally.  It can take some time to find the right job. One of the main reasons why people do not find a job in their chosen field is because they give up too soon. Stick with it and you will find the right job for you. 

If this occurs frequently, make an appointment at Career Services to do a practice interview and get feedback on how you can improve.