Preparing for the Interview
Getting the Interview
- Access thousands of job and internship listings on Panther Recruiting.
- Attend the Career Fairs sponsored by Career Services each semester. These events put you in direct contact with employers looking for top candidates.
- Schedule interviews with employers coming to EIU for On-Campus Interviews.
- Network with everyone you know. Tell them you are currently looking for work. This may open up opportunities you didn't think of before.
- Research everything you can about your prospective employer:
- Check out their websites
- Know the employer's products and history.
- Become knowledgeable about job titles, the industry, and the current market.
- Generate questions that you can ask during the interview. It will show your knowledge, interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity.
- Have a clear career direction/objective. Be able to articulate what you want and how it will relate to the needs of the employer.
- Review Common Interview Questions.
- Review Questions That You Can Ask.
- Practice! Don't expect to be an expert right away. You need to practice your answers to common interview questions as well as the questions you want to ask. Also rehearse your interview technique. Sign up for a Mock Interview with Career Services. Practice until you are confident.
At the Interview
- Be on time! Check the date, time and location of your interview. Arrive at least 15 minutes early. If you are traveling to the employer's location, be sure to get directions.
- Leave coat, backpack, purses in waiting room or car.
- Bring with you a copy of your resume in a portfolio with pad of paper and pen to take notes.
- Introduce yourself and give the interviewer a smile and firm handshake.
- Be confident, enthusiastic and portray a positive attitude and real interest in the position.
- Relax. Be aware of non-verbal communication. Use good posture and always maintain eye contact.
- Market yourself. Show that you have done your research. Stress important skills that all employers look for, such as, initiative, honesty, reliability, teamwork and communication skills. Help the interviewer see how your skills and background make you a perfect match for the job.
- Speak in specifics, not generalities. Think of the interview as a process of storytelling in which your role is to provide specific information about your personal qualities and life experiences.
- Be honest at all times. Integrity is a highly valued quality in today's world.
- Be yourself! Beyond the professional skills and education you bring to the interview, the process is a lot about whether your personality fits into the culture of the organization.
- Ask questions. Review some sample interview questions that you can ask.
- Use examples! Employers love to hear examples of what makes you a great candidate. Mention examples from group projects, summer job or internship experience, etc.
- Be an attentive listener.
- Avoid negative terms or phrases. Example: use "challenge" instead of "problem".
- Do not ask about salary in the first interview.
- Ask for business card at end of interview.
- Thank interviewer for their time and shake hands.
- Send thank you letter to each interviewer within 1-2 days following the interview.
- Evaluate interview to determine if you are a fit for that employer.
DO NOT NO SHOW! This reflects badly upon you and EIU.
If you must cancel your interview or need to reschedule, contact the employer within a reasonable amount of time, preferably 48 hours prior to the interview.