Career Center offers interview tips

Every college student dreams of scoring big and landing their dream job. But, before they can get to that step, there is one thing they must win over first:  their interview.
Kim Matteson, career counselor at the St. Ambrose Career Center, has all the information students should know to help them score big before, during, and after an interview.
It is important to prepare for the interview ahead of time. While students may know some basic information about the company they are interviewing for, it is important to know specifics.
“Students should find out as much information about the company and the position as possible,” Matteson said. “They will sound better researched and more knowledgeable about the company during the interview.”
It is possible to get information about the company and position from the company website, social media pages, and Google. If the information is hard to find, Matteson suggests that students ask the St. Ambrose reference librarians for help researching the company. However, the best way to get the information is by speaking to a current employee at the company.
“This is highly suggested if students have a contact,” Matteson said. “If they don’t have a contact, they can check with the Career Center to see if they have any contacts through BEEConnection.”
A common factor that students struggle with is what to bring to an interview.  Matteson suggest that students bring multiple copies of their résumé, copies of their references, a pen and portfolio, performance reviews from past employers, and most importantly, samples of their work.
“If the samples demonstrate that the student has the ability to do the job, it may be proof to the employers that they are the right candidate for the job,” Matteson said.
Although knowledge about the company and experience in the field are important, nothing is more important than the first impression.
“Some studies suggest that employers make their decision to hire an individual within the first few minutes of the interview,” Matteson said. “First impressions are critical.”
To make the first impression go smoothly, students should introduce themselves to everyone, make good eye contact, give a firm handshake, greet by name, and try to smile and relax as much as possible.
“The student should also ask the employer where they would like them to sit,” Matteson noted.
While sitting down may seem like no big deal, employers are constantly judging individuals based on their posture. It is important that students sit up straight, keep square shoulders and a straight neck, and hold their head high. Students’ legs should be uncrossed and firmly together on the ground.
“It’s ok cross your hands on your lap under the table if you tend to fidget,” Matteson said. “You don’t want the interviewer to be distracted by your fidgeting.”
Those giving the interview are not the only ones who should be asking questions. Students should ask the interviewer about two or three questions. After all, it is important to make sure that the company is a good fit for them.
“If you don’t ask a possible employer any questions, it makes you look like you are unprepared,” Matteson said.
The saying “no question is a dumb question” holds true during an interview, however, there is such thing as a bad question. Matteson notes it is very important not to ask the interviewer anything regarding salary.
After the interview is over, students should ask the interviewer what the next step will be in regards to the hiring process. They should also follow up with a thank you note, sending one to each person in the interview.
Interviews are never easy, but taking the right steps to prepare for them can help students score big. Matteson encourages all St. Ambrose students to take advantage of the Career Center and its services.


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