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Career Planning: Choose Your Path

The Interview Process - Before, During and After

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An important part of the employment journey is the interview. Regardless of your qualifications, regardless of your advance buildup, the interview is the real "make or break" test of your ability to sell a prospective employer that you are the right person for the job. Your object is to convince them that you are a mature and capable individual who will be an asset to the employer.

SOURCE: Trendhunter

Accessing the Interviewing Resources On This Site

You can choose from the tabs at the top of this page to understand more about each stage of the interview process including:

  • Preparing for the interview
  • Virtual Interviewing
  • Interview Day!
  • Post-Interview

To get a full picture of the interview process, we recommend that you review content on each tab. Each offers unique information for that stage of the interview process. Creating the best impression during your interview is paramount to success. Understanding how to put your best foot forward is covered from start to finish in these resources. 

Other Helpful Articles

The Value or Importance of a Job Interview from CHRON (Houston Chronicle) - This short article highlights the importance of the job interview in the process of gaining employment.

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Big Interview Tool - Use It For NO COST!

The College provides you with free access to this interactive, multimedia tool that helps you practice and enhance your job interviewing skills.  Here are some examples of what you can use and practice:

  • Interview Basics, covering what types of interviews to expect, what to wear on the big day, how to calm shaky nerves, and much more. 
  • Sample answers to common cross-industry interview questions such as “tell me about yourself“ to “what is your greatest weakness?“
  • Strategies for behavioral questions such as “tell me about a time...“ or “give me an example of...“ that are meant to get a feel for how skilled a candidate is at certain job competencies.including teamwork, leadership, and conflict resolution.
  • Dealing with unique circumstances and job-seeker challenges including being a new graduate, transitioning to the workforce from the military, and English as a second language.

Accessing Big Interview

Review the User Guide and begin using the Big Interview using your DSC Single Sign On login credentials. 

Preparing For the Interview - Checklist

The Ultimate Interview Prep Checklist - Article has great information related to getting yourself ready for the interview including:

  • Researching the company and role
  • Reviewing your resume and cover letter
  • Preparing for common interview questions
  • Preparing your attire and materials
  • Planning your route to the interview location
  • Maximizing post-interview follow-up

Research the Employer/Company

It is important to research the position and company you want to apply to prior to entering a career. In this area you will see the top reasons that you need to consider in researching a company before you apply and understanding the position in company.

Article: 10 Things You Should Know About A Company Before You Interview

48 Questions to Ask About the Company During the Interview

Article: Understanding a Career Before the interview

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What is Virtual Interviewing?

Virtual interviews use videoconferencing tools for online interviews allowing interviewers to see and speak with remote candidates.

Preparing for the Virtual Interview

Here are a few basic tips to prepare for a virtual interview.

  1. Ask which software will be used for the interview (Zoom, Teams, WebX). Familiarize yourself with and test your video interviewing tools (software, microphone, camera) well before interview day. Testing your videoconferencing software and equipment ahead of time can reduce your anxiety and help you focus on the questions, not the technology.
  2. Decide the best spots for interviewing. Ideally, you should find a quiet, well-lit space where you are unlikely to be disturbed, and have an uncluttered background and strong Wi-Fi connection. Remember, the camera sees everything, so make sure your background is professional and appropriate, or at the very least, blurred. Never do a virtual interview using your phone. 
  3. Before the interview, if appropriate and time allows, you can participate in  a few minutes of appropriate small talk before the interview begins. 
  4. During the interview, behave as though you were in the room with people. While questions are being asked, smiling and nodding to show interest and understanding is good practice.
  5. Avoid typical video call challenges. It is not uncommon to accidentally talk over one another especially if the connection is lagging. You may need to ask interviewers to pause a bit longer after you finish speaking or vice versa. 

Virtual Platforms (Software) Used For Interviews

The types of virtual platforms (most used) include:  

How to Join a Microsoft Teams Interview - Have an upcoming interview on Teams but never used the platform before? Or maybe once or twice but it's been a while? This video walks you through the steps and what you'll need to get started along with some video interview tips. 

How To Ace Your Video Interview (Wall Street Journal)

Article: 4 Tips to Nail a Virtual Job Interview

Article: 9 Tips to Help You Prepare for a Virtual Interview - University of Vermont

Article: 10 Tips for Knocking Your Virtual Interview Out of the Park

How To Prepare for a Video Interview - Indeed - this video is 25 minutes long, but it covers everything from making sure you create the right visual (yourself and environment), how to dress and behave during the virtual interview and other really valuable information.

Article: Interview Tips and Etiquette for Virtual/Zoom Interviews - LinkedIn

Virtual vs. Traditional Interviews

Article: Differences in Prepping for an In-person vs Virtual Interview - Washington Post

employment documents like resumes and cover letters

You can prepare for interviews by reviewing common questions that may be asked. Each employer will be unique in what they ask and their reasoning behind those questions. Understanding why hiring managers pose those questions can help you formulate appropriate and desirable responses that can help make you a stand-out candidate. Questions typically are used to determine if the candidate is a good fit and may hover around topics such as:

  • Their desired experience and skills of ideal candidates
  • Someone who has researched the customer base and the products or services provided - who do we serve and how do we do that?
  • The philosophy and mission statement of the employer - what do they stand for, their purpose, and their goals?
  • Knowledge of company history to determine if the candidate recognizes prior or current challenges, accomplishments and accolades, recent mentions in the news (good or bad), and current and future shifts and changes with the industry, product and services.
  • Awareness of the competition and what sets this employer apart from the rest.
  • Understanding of company culture (shared values, attitudes, behaviors, and standards that make up a work environment.).
  • Knowledge of the organizational structure (leadership, departments, divisions, locations, partners, roles and responsibilities).

It is important to note that you do not want to memorize and repeat 'stock' answers. They appears less than genuine and lacks critical thinking and creativity. You want to be familiar with the question, why that is helpful for the potential employer and the gist of what you should include in your response. 

There are thousands of sites, books, and videos about common interview questions. A simple Google search will help. Also, make sure to check out the Big Interview Tool on the 'Preparation' tab on this page. That tool gives you experience answering many of the common questions and provides coaching and suggested responses to help you practice. 

Here are a few resources to find common questions and the 'why' behind them:

Common Interview Questions - Career OneStop

Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them - Indeed

29 Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them - US News - this article does a good job at highlighting questions that might require some research on your part about the company before you interview. (See Preparation - Big Interview tab on this page for more information about researching a company prior to interview). 

27 Most Common Job Interview Questions and Answers  - LinkedIn - this article provides the perspective of the employer and and candidate which can help with understanding why the question is being asked and how to best answer it. 



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How to Prepare for Interview Day

If you really think about it, preparing for interview day uses the same tips as preparing for an important exam. The time for studying is long gone. Now it is time to perform. Consider this checklist to be as prepared as possible for interview day.

  1. Avoid rushing  - Set the alarm for a time that provides ample opportunity to get ready. Hurrying leads to stress and mistakes.
  2. Know where you are going - Hopefully you have already GPS'd the location if you are unfamiliar so that you know where it is an how long it will take you to get there. Allow time for delays, traffic and even unexpected detours. Know not only the building of the interview, but the actual location of the meeting space in the building so you don't get lost en route. You don't want to end up running up stairs or across the courtyard to make your appointment time. 
  3. Eat a meal or at least a snack - Just like preparing for an exam, don’t let a gurgling stomach affect your performance. Consider a meal rich with super foods that will boost your energy and sharpness. (Hint: eat before dressing to avoid getting anything on your outfit.) 
  4. Arrive early (but not too early) - Employers will appreciate your punctuality, just don’t overdo it. Showing up 10 minutes or so before your appointment is fine; anything more can throw your interviewers off track or force an unprepared staff member to uncomfortably “babysit” until everyone’s ready. Hang out in your car or the neighboring coffee shop instead. (Using the washroom is also a good idea.)
  5. Put away your phone - Prepare to give interviewers your full attention by shutting off mobile devices before entering the workplace. This move also will prevent you from surfing/checking messages while you wait and potentially seeing news that could upset or distract you.
  6. Relax.- Rehearsing at this point will likely just get you flustered. Instead, use waiting moments to take a few deep breaths and think positive thoughts such as “I've got this” or “They scheduled this meeting, so they obviously see my potential.” 
  7. Be friendly to everyone - Offer each person a smile and an awesome handshake. Hiring managers often seek input from various staff members, especially in workplaces that value teamwork. How you treat the receptionist reflects on you just as much as how courteous you are to the head manager.
  8.  Ask questions. - Posing well-constructed questions to ask in a job interview demonstrates genuine interest. Likewise, turning your meeting into more of a conversation than an interrogation will help reduce anxiety. Use this opportunity to learn as much as you can in order to have a solid basis on which to determine how well this job meets your needs.
  9. Listen - While it’s smart to come prepared with examples you’d like to share that demonstrate your ability to perform the job in question, don’t get so caught up in your presentation that you forget to listen. During the course of the interview, employers can offer valuable insight into the position and what they truly want from a candidate if you take the time to absorb what they are saying.

Source: Flexjobs

What Does It Mean To "Dress For Success"?

Have you ever heard the statement, “Dress how you want to be addressed”? As you complete your studies and transition into your career, attire will be important as it will be the first impression you will make on others. Imagine having the confidence, knowledge, and skills for the position, but your first 5-second encounter aborted the opportunity.  We are sometimes judged by our appearance, which can determine the difference between you and the other candidate. Generally, there are four categories for attire; Casual, Business Casual, Business/Professional and Formal.

Articles Related To Job Interview Attire

How To Dress For Every Type of Job Interview from Purdue University

What To Wear To a Job Interview from Coursera

How To Dress For a Job Interview (with Examples) from Indeed

Appropriate Questions In Response to 'Do you have any questions for us?'

At the end of a job interview, you are almost always asked if there are any questions you want to ask the employer before you leave. 

Why Your Questions Matter

No matter what you've said in an interview or how great your credentials are, when interviewers discuss which candidates to bring back, the ones who leave the best impression are the ones most remembered. Your questions can leave them with a feeling that you are someone they want to add to their company, but they also give you a chance to determine if the job and company are right for you. Don't be afraid to ask questions that give you some feel about what it would be like to work there – and what they really expect, apart from anything in the job description.

Here are some questions you might decide to use. You would only typically ask 2 or 3 questions, but have 5 or 6 prepared in case some were already answered in the earlier part of the interview.

  • What are some possible challenges associated with the position? (for example - Is this a new position? If so, what made you decide to create it? If not, are you changing it in any way now?)
  • How would you describe the culture of your company/organization?
  • What is your timeline for filling the position or next steps?
  • How will you measure the success of the individual in this position?
  • Are there opportunities for professional development?
  • Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
  • If I am chosen for the position, what should I expect in a typical day? or What would a typical work day/week be like for me?
  • Is there anything else I can provide to assist you in making your decision?
  • How does this position fit in with the rest of the company/organization?
  • After I start, what would the first few weeks look like for me?
  • Are there any special projects coming up you'd like me to work on?
  • Where do you see this department / company going over the next year?
  • If I may ask, how long have you worked here? What do you like most about it?
  • What would you say employees like most about working here? Is there anything employees would say they like least?

This video highlights a few of these questions, but also provides explanation of why that question provides you with valuable information and makes a good impression on the interviewers.

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Post Interview: Follow-up Communication

Now that you have completed the job or admissions interview, let’s discuss follow-up communication. There are various ways to follow-up with a hiring manager or selection committee for a college/university. Your follow-up communication should not be pushy or annoying. Consider these follow-up approaches:

1) During your interview, your final question was, “What is your timeline for filing the position or next steps”? Send a quick note via email based on the response given during the interview. Here is a sample quick note.

Hello Falcon,

I hope you’re having an amazing week. You mentioned that you would be looking to finalize your hiring decision for the Career Services Advocate position this week. I’m eager to hear when you have an update. And, if I may provide any supplementary information to support your decision, please let me know!

2) Send a thank-you note via email to each individual who was a part of the interview process.

3) During the interview process, inquire about connecting via LinkedIn. After receiving the approval, immediately following the interview, connect; this could be the beginning of a long-term relationship.

4) The Feedback Note: This note can be sent to the interview committee if you believe you had a successful interview but was not offered the position. Here is a sample note to consider:

Hello Falcon,

Thank you again for the opportunity to interview with your company. I was disappointed to learn that I did not get an offer following my interview on July 13, 2021. I enjoyed our conversation and am impressed with the work that Daytona State College provides. Because I am a recent graduate, I was hoping you could give me some feedback on my interview. I would like to ensure that I present myself as effectively as possible in the future. Any recommendations you could provide would be appreciated.


Additional resources for Follow-up Communication:

Here's what to include in your thank-you note:

  • Thank your interviewer (or interviewers) for his or her time.

  • Reiterate your interest in the position and why you're qualified based on what you learned during your interview. For example, if you really connected with the company's culture, mention it and explain why.

  • Personalize your thank-you notes for each person you chatted with. Perhaps you went to the same school or have a similar professional background. You can say something like “It was great comparing our adventures in magazine writing.”

  • If you didn't get a chance to ask about the next steps in your interview, you can ask that now. This can be done simply: “What will the next steps look like?” You should get a response that offers up a tentative timeline.

Here are a few items to avoid in your thank-you note:

  • Don't explain why you deserve the job. Just briefly mention again why you're qualified and that you're excited for the potential opportunity.

  • Don't offer up excuses if the interview wasn't perfect. Adding a “Sorry I stumbled over my words so much; I was just really tired” isn't a great look.

  • Don't be pushy or assume you've got the job. It's best to let your application and interview performance speak for itself.

  • Don't write an essay; keep the note short and sweet.

Once you've drafted your thank-you note (or notes), be sure to proofread. If you need to, have a friend or family member read over it for a second set of eyes.

When it's ready, send the email to everyone who had a hand in your interview, including each interviewer and the hiring manager or recruiter who helped schedule the meeting and any required travel.

The best-case scenario is that you have everyone's email address. You can ask them for a business card after the interview or even phone the company's front desk and explain why you'd like the email address.

If you don't have everyone's email, it's not the end of the world. You can always send the note to your point of contact, likely the hiring manager or recruiter, but address the email to everyone you spoke with. Chances are, the email will get forwarded along.

Your second follow-up after the interview

After sending that initial thank-you, it's time to trust that timeline and be patient. You don't want to pester anyone; that's a big turn off.

If a few days have passed since the company said you'd hear back, then you can reach out again. In this follow-up note, you'll want to mention that you're still excited about this potential opportunity. This is just a gentle nudge.

Ideally, you'll receive a “We were just about to follow up with you!” email that'll give you the answer you were looking for. Otherwise, your contact might mention the team needs another week (or however long) to make a decision.

Your third follow-up after the interview

If several days have passed since the second tentative deadline, feel free to follow up again. At this point, the team should have arrived at a conclusion.

If your contact once again asks you to wait another week or so, then trust your gut. If you really feel like the company's interested in you, then you can reach out again. If you're not sure, then you might want to hold off.

When to move on after an interview…

If you're still not hearing back, it's time to continue on with your job search. You don't want to waste time pandering for a particular job, especially when the company doesn't take the time to inform you that you're no longer being considered.

There are more options out there, and you'll find the right fit. It just might take some patience — and a few more thank-you notes.