Interviewing Skills & Guidelines

The interview is a vital step to obtaining a job, and is really a two-way discussion between the employer and the job seeker. The goal of this discussions is to determine whether the job is a fit for you and you have the right qualifications for the position.

Before the Interview:

  • Prepare your resume and references
  • Research the company ahead of the interview
  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewer that relate to the position, such as:
    • What are the primary responsibilities of this job?
    • What qualifications are you looking for in the person you hire?
    • What is the process for training or learning the job?
    • Are there opportunities for advancement?
    • How do you measure employee performance?
    • How would you describe the company culture
  • Wear workplace-appropriate clothing* (link to fun workplace clothes for interviews)
  • Arrive 10 minutes early and attend the interview alone
  • Take an extra resume and references in a folder (have a pen handy, too)

Interview Dress Code Suggestions

Your first impression matters most, so what you wear to an apprenticeship or a skilled trades job interview is very important.

Simply wear business-casual clothing and outerwear that is appropriate for the occasion, such as:

  • Pants or skirts. Khakis, dark slacks or skirts in similar colors.
  • Tops. Long-sleeved, button-up dress shirts, sweater or cardigan. Depending on the climate, polo shirts may also be appropriate.
  • Footwear. Shoes should be clean, polished and closed-toed. Choose “dress” shoes over “athletic” shoes. A flat or a low heel is appropriate.
  • Accessories. Belts should be low-key and fit correctly. Avoid distracting jewelry – simple is ok.

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At the Interview

  • Use a firm handshake and make eye contact
  • Place personal items next to your chair
  • Answer questions accurately, honestly and promptly
    • Be honest and stick to the facts
    • Avoid negative language
    • Answer from their perspective – what do they want to hear?
    • Provide fact-based evidence for specific history and facts
    • Relate to the job – limit open-ended response
    • Establish your qualifications with every answer
    • Answer the question – don’t get into a drawn-out story
  • Stick to the facts and avoid unnecessary comments
  • Avoid discussing personal problems or situations
  • Maintain a professional composure
  • If asked a question about past mistakes or failures discuss examples of improvements you’ve made from those experiences
  • Ask to repeat a question or explain in more detail if you’re unclear how to answer
  • Thank employer, express that you are very interested in the position and ask about next steps – get employer’s email address if you don’t already have it

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Women chatting

After the Interview:

  • Send thank-you note via email within 24 hours
  • If you don’t hear back in a week, follow up with an email or phone call to find out the status of the opportunity
Thank you