Tips for a Job Interview- Work Bound Students

Tips for a Job Interview- Work Bound Students

1. Do your research – know your field and your employer:

  • Specifically, it is your job to research the company you are applying to prior to the interview. This means that if you are applying to work as a bank teller it is important that you do your own research about what the job entails. Additionally, if you were applying for a teller position at HSBC Bank, you would want to do research about the company and what types of services are offered at that bank. You can get information from the internet, brochures, and even past employees to aid you in the process of learning about the job and the potential employer.
  • While doing research, think about questions you have for the interviewer about the company or job position you are applying for. This not only implies that you have indeed done research and are inquisitive enough to ask questions, but it will also help you to decide if this job is a good for you. You are interviewing the interviewer as much as they are interviewing you.


2. Know what you bring to the employer’s workforce:

  • Assess your own skills! After you have researched what types of activities might be related to the job description, assess your skills and knowledge to identify what expertise you can bring to the job. This will also help you to learn about what areas could use some improvement. Employers are famous for asking what you feel your strengths and weaknesses are. Being aware of your personal work aptitude/abilities prior to the interview can be helpful.


3. Come prepared- building a career portfolio:

  • When going into a job interview it is important that you bring any information that will enhance your appeal as a future employee. Developing a career portfolio prior to the interview can aid you in presenting yourself as a serious and professional candidate.
  • Please see the Career Portfolio Guide of this website for more information.


4. Dress the part- the power of first impressions:

  • Tailor your interview attire to the job you are applying for. Simply put, it is not acceptable to wear jeans to a job interview for a Personal Assistant to a local lawyer. It is also inappropriate to wear a suite and tie to an interview for a food service worker at a local hospital. Gauge your attire to the type of work that you are pursuing. Be professional, yet tactful and be careful not to let your clothing send the wrong messages.
  • Some general suggestions:
    • Wear clean clothing that fits well (baggy clothes or wrinkled/dirty clothing does not always send the message that you are a serious candidate)
    • Never wear jeans or t-shirts to an interview. Dress pants/skirts and blouses or polo shirts are the minimum.
    • Simple is better. You do not have to wear loud colors or expensive clothing- just wear clothing that is simple, demure, and professional.
    • Avoid showing piercings or tattoos if possible
    • Do not go overboard on jewelry or perfume


5. Know the no-no’s of interviews:

Here are some things to avoid during the interview process:

  • Never arrive late, punctuality is a sign of responsibility
  • Never smoke during the interview (you may want to avoid this prior to the interview as well).
  • Avoid chewing gum, candy or bring snacks
  • Never come unprepared- bring your career portfolio and any other evidence that would support your case that you are a good candidate.
  • Never bring family/friends/children to a professional interview.
  • Never allow your cell phone, blackberry, Ipod, or other electronic device to make any noise during the interview. Turn them all off.
  • Never use any of these electronic devices while on an interview


6. General Etiquette Suggestions:

Here are some tips on how to impress your employer during the interview:

  • Maintain plenty of eye contact during the interview
  • Begin the interview with a firm handshake
  • Show that you are excited and interested about the position
  • Be yourself, employers notice and appreciate genuine applicants
  • Arrive at least 5 minutes prior to when the interview is to begin
  • Prepare appropriate questions to ask your interviewer in case you are offered the chance to ask questions. This will indicate that you have a true interest in the position.


7. The anatomy of the interview- the general flow of a conventional interview:

  • Introduction
    • This is the part of the interview where the first impression is important. Use a firm handshake, good eye contact, and exert confidence. During the introduction the employer will most likely engage in small talk about a general topic. It would be a great idea to initiate general discussion of your own during this time to let the employer get a glimpse of what you are like as a person.
  • All about you!!
    • This is the part of the interview where you have a chance to tell the employer about your credentials, knowledge, and interest as related to the current job opening. This is the time to explain or go into further detail about items listed on the resume. Here you might also explain what education or credentials you might have that would suite the job well. In doing so a discussion of strengths and weaknesses may occur (which is why preparation prior to the interview is a good idea). If you want to use a career portfolio you may also choose to explain sample documents or credentials listed in your career portfolio.
  • Peering into the past…
    • Employers are likely to take a look at your past work history to get an indication of what preparation you may have gained from those jobs for the current position. You may be asked to discuss job responsibilities and leadership roles in past jobs. You should also be prepared to answer probing questions from the interviewer to see how your past experiences and education will be useful in the current position.
  • Your turn for questions.
    • Most of the interview will be spent by the interviewer asking you questions about yourself and your abilities. This is your chance to ask the employer questions about the company and the nature of the job that you are applying for. Asking thoughtful, intelligent questions implies that you have prepared for the interview and that you are serious about the position. If you are not given an opportunity to ask questions, feel free to politely inquire about an opportunity to do so.
  • Closure…
    • This is the portion of the interview where you tie up any loose ends. If you have any lingering questions or concerns, this would be the time to voice them. The interviewer may also ask you some final questions that may have been unanswered in other portions of the interview. Be sure to thank the interviewer for his/her time. Politely inquire about when the employer may be choosing a candidate to fill the position and how/when applicants will be notified.


Live Careers, (2018). Job Interviewing Tutorial for Job Seekers. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from This link will open in a new tab. Web site:

St. Lawrence University Career Services and Leadership Education (2008). The Interview. Retrieved September 28, 2008 from St. Lawrence University website