Career One Stop
Take easy steps to an excellent job interview.
In a job interview, an employer learns about you, and you learn about the job and the workplace.
Most hiring decisions are made based on your qualifications and the job interview. Practice and preparation will give you confidence to do your best. Use these tips to get ready:
Before an interview
- Practice your answers to common interview questions (en español). Sharpen your interview skills in a mock job interview at a school career center or American Job Center.
- Look at the company's website to learn what they do and upcoming events to talk about at the interview.
- Plan how to get to the location with plenty of time to spare.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask at the end of the interview: what are daily responsibilities of the job? Most important qualities in an employee? Is training available? What are future priorities of the organization?
The day of the interview
The way you present yourself is important. Dress in clothes that are neat, clean, and appropriate to the workplace. Pay attention to grooming and personal hygiene. Once you are on the job, you can dress as others do in the workplace, but for the interview, avoid wearing these:
- Tight fitting and revealing clothes - no short skirts, low-cut shirts or tank tops
- Extreme hairstyles
- Excessive make-up or perfume
- Face and body jewelry
What to take along
- Extra copies of your resume and a copy of your job references
- Work documents like your Social Security card or immigration card
- A notebook and pen to write down information
- List of questions to ask during the interview
Arriving at the interview
- Arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete paperwork they may have for you.
- Go by yourself. If someone else drives you, ask them to wait in the car or pick you up later.
- Use your best manners, a friendly attitude, and a sense of humor.
- Turn off your cell phone! A cell phone ringing during an interview is very distracting and unprofessional.
During the interview
- Show confidence with eye contact and a friendly smile. Shake hands firmly.
- Let the interviewer start, and listen carefully. It is OK to take time to think before you answer.
- Accept questions openly, even the hard ones. Give honest, direct answers.
- If your phone was accidentally left on, do not answer it or check it any time while you are with the employer. Just calmly take it out, turn it off, and apologize.
- If you don't understand a question, ask for it to be repeated or clarified.
- Know what you will say if you have a criminal record.
After the interview
Send a thank you note by mail or email and restate your interest in the job. Send it to the person who interviewed you. If you are not sure of the correct job title or how to spell their name, call the company and ask for the information.