Job interview prep

With graduation comes job interviews, an often anxiety-inducing experience.

Career Education Center staff at Detroit Mercy offered tips to make the experience easier at a March 14 workshop, “Tell Me About Yourself: Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions.”

It focused on what steps to take in order to prepare for an interview.

A typical interview format will include a greeting, introduction, “small talk,” resume review and a description of the organization or position.

Prior to going to an interview, do research on the company, advised Robert Rogowski, a center volunteer.

“You need to check websites and other informational sources to find out as much as you can about the organization, what it does, what it’s culture is, the types of people that they hire and the kind of job opportunities that they offer,” said Rogowski. “Sometimes you can get that information by looking at the job advertisement, sometimes there are websites that you can go to that write additional information about specific occupational areas and sometimes the company will even provide you a copy of the job description in advance.”

Making sure that you understand the job as much as possible is critical.

Knowing about the company and knowing about the job prepares you to evaluate your own background and skills, so that when you’re at the interview, you will be able to articulate what your strengths are, relative to what the specific needs of the company are, Rogowski noted.

Having a list of a minimum of ten to 15 questions ready to ask your future employer was among the workshop recommendations.

Why that many? Because during the course of the interview, many of your questions will be answered. The more questions you have, the better and the more likely it’ll be to keep the conversation going.

When asked to tell the future employer about yourself, 90 percent of what you say should be professional and 10 percent personal, counselors said. Start with the basics first.

If you don't have any previous work experience, it’s suggested you use academic experience and incorporate that into what you’re interested in pursuing.

Other recommendations:

n Dive into the characteristics and traits you have that will benefit the company.

n Try to relax and be yourself.

n Dress to impress.

“When talking about an interview, I always say ‘dress to impress’ … even if the company’s culture is a little lax,” noted Cedric Brooks, career development facilitator. “If you’re a male, you at least want to have on a shirt and tie and if you’re a female, you usually want to wear a nice blouse. Always neutral colors, no matter the gender.”

When closing out an interview, you should always reiterate your interest in the company, summarize your qualifications for the position and clarify the next step.

Be sure to get a business card and to thank the interviewer for her or his time.

Senior Aaron Dittel was among those attending the event.

“This interview workshop was just a review for me to remind me of everything that will be coming up in the career fair,” he said. “My favorite part of this workshop is the preparation. You have to make sure you do everything before the actual interview.”

For more information on the next career workshop, contact