Resumes, Letters & Interviews

Preparing for an interview

Confirming an interview

The way you interact with recruiters and hiring managers is just as important as your skills and qualifications when you’re looking for a job. The manner in which you handle verbal and written communication is likely to be an integral part of the job, so demonstrate proper etiquette in all responses to the company: from the early stages through the selection process. Take the opportunity to make a good first impression by being professional and considerate when you confirm interview appointments.

Email response: Thanks to technology, you can usually respond immediately, or at least quickly, to an interview request. Check your email frequently, and answer all requests as soon as possible. If you receive an email on your smartphone, send a message saying, "Thank you for your invitation to interview with ABC Company. Yes, I am available on Tuesday, September 4, at 2:00 p.m. I'm in a remote spot now and will send another confirmation once I get back to my home office." To make sure the recruiter knows you're responding remotely, you can add a signature line saying the message was sent from a mobile phone.

Phone response: If you receive a telephone call asking you to confirm your interview appointment, try to answer the call personally when it comes through. In a pleasant voice, thank the recruiter for the interview request and tell them you are available at the scheduled time. If you get a voicemail, call back and say, "thank you for calling to schedule an interview time. I'm sorry I wasn't able to take your call, but I'm available to interview with you on Tuesday, September 4, at 2:00 p.m., and I look forward to seeing you then." Use the recruiter's name when you call and pick a time when you won't be interrupted or have noise in the background.

Alternative time: If the day and time the recruiter offers for your interview isn't convenient for you, consider rearranging your schedule to accommodate the recruiter's. Tell the interviewer that you appreciate the invitation and you're looking forward to meeting with them, but that you have a scheduling conflict. You can say that you may be able to rearrange your schedule, but that you need a few hours to do so, or you can suggest alternative dates. Always try to make it easy for the recruiter since you're the one looking for a job.

Timeliness: Recruiters don’t have a lot of time to wait for you to confirm an interview time, so the sooner you can get back to them the better. Often interview slots are first come/first served, so you want to be as prompt as possible to get an interview slot that works best with your schedule.

Appreciation: Express your appreciation for being selected for an interview. There may be hundreds of applicants, depending on the job, who have applied for that same position. The fact that you were selected says that you have strong qualifications for the position. It also means that the recruiter extended you a courtesy in inviting you to interview with the company, so make sure you thank them.

Adapted from Ruth Mayhew, Demand Media

 

How to dress for an interview

First impressions count! The guidelines below provide information for you to consider as you prepare for your interview.   

Guidelines for interview attire

You want your experience and qualifications to shine. Your attire should enhance your presentation by boosting your confidence without sacrificing comfort. You can look at the company’s website or LinkedIn page to see how others within the organization are dressed. If you are working with a recruiter, you could ask them for guidance on what to wear.

Hygiene is important 

  • While you should ensure that your teeth are clean, don’t chew gum during your interview since it can inhibit your speech
  • Ensure that your clothes are clean and practice interviewing in them to make sure you are comfortable moving, sitting, and standing in them

Consider keeping things simple

  • Avoid excessive use of accessories, fragrances, and cosmetics
  • Choose solid colors 
  • Wear clean comfortable shoes
  • Cover tattoos, when applicable, if possible
  • The interviewer will want to see your face to connect. Ensure that glasses, face masks, and hair don’t obstruct your communication or view of the interviewer, or their view of you. Check in with our career coaches if you have concerns about any of these.

When in doubt, ask the recruiter (“How would I dress for an interview with your company?”), and research the organization’s workplace attire or dress code. If a recruiter tells you interview attire should be business casual, and not to wear a suit, take their advice.

Make an appointment with Career Services to setup a mock interview and get tips for successful interview strategies.

Dressing for work

Each company, season, industry, and geographic region will call for different dress expectations.  How you dress at the job may not be how you dress for an interview. After being offered a position, it's a good idea to simply ask your supervisor about the dress code when you're unsure of those expectations. Many organizations are using a “dress for your day” dress code, which may mean more casual or formal dress days according to the day’s work. Additionally, you can research how employees dress by reviewing their website or taking note of how they were dressed during your interview.