If an employer invites you to interview with the company he or she already thinks you are qualified to do the job. The purpose of the interview is for the employer to see if you and the company fit. In most cases you will go through at least two rounds of interviewing. The first is a preliminary interview often done over the phone or on campus and the second is a company visit where you will meet people in the company.
When you are called to schedule an interview you should have some choice in time. It is okay to have a preference date, but be careful to be available on some of the time slots. Be sure to ask for a job description if you do not already have one. In addition, make sure you will receive a schedule of the interview day and the people who will be interviewing you. Your travel expenses may be paid for, depending upon the company. Make sure you keep your travel receipts.
There are several different types of interviews. Depending upon the field and company, they will usually follow one model or a combination.
The three steps in example-based interviewing: POS.
(Know what they do and Know who their competitors are.)
Each industry is different on the standard interview attire. If you are unsure of the style, dress conservatively. It is important to look professional. This does not mean it has to be the most expensive outfit. Remember, the interviewer wants to remember you not what you wore. The following are the general recommendations:
In addition to what you are wearing it is important to give an overall good impression. Plan on getting to the interview 10 minutes early. Be pleasant to everyone you meet! Make sure you bring extra copies of your resume/cv and copies of references in a thin portfolio.
When meeting your interviewer(s) make good eye contact, have a strong handshake and smile. Be prepared for some small chitchat. Throughout your interview be aware of your body language: make good eye contact, sit straight and don't have distracting hand movements.
The Interviewer wants to know four things
The interviewer wants to know what you are interested in doing and if the company has those opportunities. Or he/she might want to know what part of the organization you would like to work. I am willing to do anything is not a good answer. It either sounds desperate or displays a lack of thought on your part. Instead you might have a list of things in priority you would be interested in relevant to the company.
Example: A Ph.D. in Chemistry might be interested in working in areas as exploratory research aligned specifically with your training.
This requires research on the company to know the opportunities and areas. Note: Employers put a lot of time into hiring so they want someone who will accept the job.
The interviewer wants to know that you know how to apply your education in real world situations. For those in Science/Engineering the interviewer tries to gather information on your technical expertise and capabilities in the interview. You will want to have examples of your technical performance. Some companies will test you by giving you a technical question or writing test.
How to talk about your research:
Why: What were the goals of the research?
How: How did you approach the problem? What tools did you use and why?
Results? this is the bottom line. Be specific and brief.
Communicating your research in this way lets the interviewer know you understand what you have done and can effectively describe your research.
Industry Jobs: If you are interviewing for an industry job in Research and Development know what the company is currently doing. Think about how they could be doing it differently. Have ideas on what you would like to start doing for research and tie it into how that would fit with what the company is doing.
Ninety percent of the candidates could do the job, but an employer is looking for someone to excel on the job. The interviewer is looking for leadership and performance in the past to see how you might perform in the future. Think about and have examples from your experience that illustrate leadership and performance.
In today's workplace it is important that people work well together. The interviewer might be thinking could I last 3 hours on a plane with this person? Have examples of good team and people skills. In addition, you should demonstrate good interpersonal skills. Listen to the interviewer. Be enthusiastic about the position and show some curiosity. Have questions for the interviewer.
At the end of the interview it is okay to ask about the next step in the process. In addition, be sure to send a sincere typed thank-you letter. This is the last chance to market yourself and show that you have social skills.
Last Updated: 9/9/10