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154 North Foundation Hall
Oakland University
Rochester, MI 48309             
(248) 370-3250
careers@oakland.edu

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The Interview

You've landed the interview, congratulations! There is still a long road ahead, so familiarize yourself with the different interview types and helpful preparation tips. You've made it this far, let's keep going!

Career Services has created an Interviewing Guide to help you. 

See Associate Director Brian Partie on Channel 4 with interview tips
PREPARATION
TYPES
OF INTERVIEWS

They say there is nothing quite like a first impression. Make your appearance matter by putting together the perfect interview outfit. Obviously, dressing for an interview is not the same as dressing for a backyard barbecue or a night on the town. Follow the tips below to avoid common pitfalls and put your finest foot forward.
  • Plan a professional outfit that is clean and pressed. Remove any lint, strings or tags. Make sure your shoes are polished and wear socks or stockings.
  • Focus on conservative colors like black, navy, grey or brown.
  • Stick with simple, classic cuts and fabrics. Avoid anything too trendy or tight.
  • Minimize your accessories and avoid distracting jewelry or patterns.
  • Neckties should have subtle colors or patterns, and belts should be black or match your shoes.
  • Men should keep their facial hair neat and trimmed.
  • Women should keep their make-up natural and use clear or neutral nail polish colors.
  • Avoid wearing strong perfumes or colognes.
  • Cover up tattoos and remove facial piercings.


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Behavioral
The theory behind behavioral interviews is that discussing your past business decisions offers the best glimpse into your future work performance. This provides the basis for an in-depth discussion that allows the interviewer to learn more about the way you might act or think in the workplace.

During a behavioral interview, the hiring manager may ask you to tell stories about different types of situations and discuss how you handled them.

As opposed to traditional interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself,” a behavioral interview question may be “Lead me through your decision making process.”

Career Fair
This is a great way for job seekers to network, discuss employment opportunities and even snag an interview with a number of potential employers at once.

To make the most of a career fair, job seekers need to make a positive first impression with a professional appearance, on-point resume and knowledge of the company or organization they are meeting with.

For more information and helpful tips, view the Career Fairs for Students page.

Individual
An individual interview is a traditional interview. You will be asked classic interview questions such as, “Tell me about yourself,” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Follow the interviewer’s lead, listen carefully and answer questions fully. As the interview is wrapping up, offer information you think is important that they may not have asked about. To make a positive impression, you should ask questions about the company and show that you have done your research. Always ask about next steps and when the selection process will be completed.

Informational
One of the best ways to learn about an industry and to build your network of contacts is to talk to people in the field. The purpose of the informational interview is to learn, not to get a job.

An informational interview can help you refine your career path, learn how to break into the field, and determine the skills you need to gain to become more qualified for a specific position. Informational interviewing is used to engage an experienced professional in a focused conversation that provides you with the key information to boost your career.

Prepare for an informational interview in a similar way you prepare for a traditional interview. Research the company, engage the people you meet with, bring your resume, ask questions, be professional, and send thank you notes.  

For information on how to identify professionals, request a meeting, plan ahead and sample interview questions, check out the Informational Interview Handout or the Job Search, Informational Interviews & Networking Guide.


Mock
Mock interviews let you practice your interviewing skills before meeting with an actual employer. They help you get over your interview jitters and prepare to make a great impression at the real thing.

The best mock interviews are similar to real interviews, so you should bring your resume, prepare to ask questions, and give full responses. They let you practice both traditional and behavioral interview questions and business etiquette.

After the interview, you will receive constructive feedback on your responses, resume and the overall impression you made.

On Site
On-site interviews help a company to assess potential candidates in their home environment before making a job offer. They may consist of a tour, interviews with several managers, meet other employees, and testing. On-site interviews help employers to see if there is a place for you in the company.

Preparation is key. Find out the game plan and be ready if you are asked to stay for several hours. Meals and other expenses are usually provided by the company.

Phone
Phone interviews give employers an early idea of the skills, career path, goals, and personality traits you bring to the table. If you make a good impression, your phone interview may turn into a request for an in-person interview. Make sure you impress them by:
  • Minimizing noise and distractions
  • Speaking in a clear, cheerful, and articulate manner
  • Having your resume and prepared questions on hand for your reference
  • Taking notes and asking for next steps


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