An interview is a conversation that takes place between an employer and a potential employee. It is one of the most important steps in the employee selection process. An interview allows you to present your skills, knowledge, and experience in a way that showcases how you would be a good fit for a position within the company or organization. Practice and preparation are the key to a successful interview.
Before the Interview
Research the industry or organization
A great starting point to get to know the company/organization you are interviewing for is to review the company/organization's website. It is important to have a clear understanding of the products and services the company/organization offers. Reach out to SUNY Geneseo alumni through the Alumni Advisor Network who work for the company/organization or are familiar with the industry. Knowledge of the company will allow you to stand out amid other, less prepared candidates.
It is important to know yourself and be able to express what your skills, abilities, experiences, and education can offer the organization and what the organization can offer you. Make sure you are able to elaborate on experiences listed on your resume and link those experiences to the position you are interviewing for.
We highly recommend using Big Interview which is a valuable resource when preparing for an interview. Big Interview allows you to record and share mock interview questions. Big Interview offers thousands of interview questions with tips for answers. Our career coaches are also a great resources for resume review, cover letter review, and mock interviews.
If your interview is onsite, make sure you know exactly where you are going prior to the interview. Verify the particulars: time, location, where to park, etc. Also prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewers. These questions should help you better understand the position and organization you are interviewing for. Bring a notepad and pen, as well as extra copies of your resume. Be sure to dress professionally. If your interview is virtual, test out the platform ahead of time and make sure you have a strong wifi connection. Pay attention to your background as well. Make sure you have a clean, quiet space. You should arrive at the location 10 - 15 minutes early. You should confirm the time, location, parking information the day before the interview.
Appropriate Interview Attire
During the Interview
- Greet the interviewer(s) with a handshake. Remember to maintain eye contact.
- Listen carefully to the questions being asked by the interviewer(s), and make sure you are fully answering each question. If you don't understand the question being asked, it is okay to ask for clarification.
- Keep answers short and to the point and use clear language. Avoid using filler words (eg. "um", "like", "ah", "you know", etc.)
- Wait to discuss salary and benefits until the interviewer(s) discusses them or until you receive a job offer.
- Finish the interview on a positive note. Ask what the next steps are. Gather business cards for your interviewer(s) if you do not have an email address or phone number for them. Make sure you know the interviewer(s) name and proper spelling of their name.
After the Interview
Within 24 hours of your interview, be sure to follow up with an email to everyone you met thanking them for their time. Reiterate your qualifications and your interest in the position and the next steps of the interview process.
The Job Offer
After a job offer from an employer is extended, it is important to acknowledge that you received it and evaluate and negotiate your offer.
Big Interview provides an introduction to salary negotiation:
- Login (or register if it is your first time visiting Big Interview)
- Select the Interviews option from the main menu
- Select Interview Curriculum
- Select Negotiation Curriculum
- Select Negotiation Basics
- Watch "How Negotiation Works"
Additional Resources for Salary Research
Conquer your nerves and land the job by using Big Interview - the only interview training site taught by an actual expert, Pamela Skillings. Big Interview will assist you to prepare with proven interview insights, courses, and practice interviews.
Firsthand provides in-depth intelligence on what it's really like to work in an industry, company or profession - and how to position yourself to land that job. Take advantage of your FREE access:
- Internship Database
- Job Board
- Company Profiles
With Handshake, you can search for jobs, specific employers, and update your profile with career-related information to stand out to recruiters. Each employer on Handshake is vetted for authenticity by our department as each has asked permission to have exclusive access to SUNY Geneseo students. Why? Because you are some of the best educated in your fields of study.