Stephen F. Austin State University



Most interviewers will make a decision about you in the first 30 seconds of the interview, so it is vital to create a great impression. Preparing well in advance of your interview will ensure confidence and professionalism on your big day.

It's just a little conversation.

InterviewStream Video

About the Interview

How to prepare

Your first impression
  • Get plenty of sleep. Refrain from staying up late or partying. Alcohol and smoke aromas may linger, even if you can't smell them
  • If you are not sure where the interview is taking place, do a practice run. Check the gas tank or bus schedule to minimize delays. Also, assess the parking situation. Will you have direct access to parking or have to pay?
  • Confirm the time, date and location of the interview, as well as the interviewer's name, title, and status in the organization
  • If interviewing in the morning, make sure to set two alarms
  • Select and try on your attire, depending on whether it is Business Casual or Business Professional

Appropriate Attire Photo, click on the links above for a description of appropriate business casual and business professional attire.

Interview Day!
Before the Interview
  • Learn about Interview Types, On-Site Interviews, and Phone Interviews; adapt your preparations to the type of interview you will receive
  • Review your résumé and notes
  • Arrive to your interview location at least 15 minutes prior to your interview
  • Come prepared: Extra résumés, reference lists, transcripts, notepad and pen, and any documents/items that illustrate your skills
  • Be personable, professional, and polite to everyone you meet, from the security guard to the receptionist (you never know who is providing input to the selection)
  • Brush up on your etiquette if your interview involves a meal

The Introduction

  • When the interviewer comes your way, immediately stand, smile, make direct eye contact, and extend your hand for a firm handshake
  • Positively and enthusiastically introduce yourself, "Ms. Moneybags, I'm Carl Candidate. It's great to meet you. I am very excited about our interview!"
During the Interview
  • Be yourself
  • Try not to convey nervousness and assume a calm and poised attitude. Display confidence even if you get Interview Jitters.
  • Maintain appropriate eye contact with the interviewer(s)
  • Build rapport with small talk and avoid controversial topics
  • Do not interrupt the interviewer. Listen to the questions carefully and do not respond until the questions are asked fully. Pause slightly to gather your thoughts.
  • Speak with confidence and enthusiasm
  • If you do not know the answer to a question, do not pretend that you do
  • Take your time answering questions; be thoughtful in your answers
  • Stay positive during tough questions that interviewers may be using to eliminate you. Read some examples of Sticky Situations and also about how to answer Illegal Questions.
Closing the interview
  • Ask about the next step in the process and when you can expect to hear from them
  • Say you want the job, if you do, and show sincere interest
  • Ask for a business card and thank the interviewer for their time and for considering you

After the interview

After you've interviewed, it's not over!

Thank You Letter
  • Express appreciation for the interviewer's time and consideration
  • Reiterate why you are the best person for the job
  • Reinforce any topics that you had during the interview that might make you stand out from other candidates
  • Communicate your interest in the position, and anticipation in receiving word regarding their decision
Evaluate the interview
  • What questions were most difficult?
  • Make notes for yourself about how you can improve your interviewing skills
  • If you have not heard from them by the date given, contact them
  • Keep searching for employment!
Job Offers

Congratulations! You have been offered a position! Once you make your decision, you must write the employer one of the following letters:

  • Letter of Acceptance: This letter is sent to your future employer and in it, you accept their offer.
  • Letter of Regret: This letter is sent to an employer who offered you a position that you wish to decline.
  • Letter of Withdrawal: This letter is sent to the employers who are still considering you for employment after you have accepted another offer.

Usually, salary is not mentioned during the interview but during the job offer negotiations. Here are some tips on dealing with The "S" Word - SALARY

Biggest Interview Mistakes

Click here to view a Candid Career video on common interview mistakes.

Print Page

Printable format of this interview checklist: Interview Checklist.

Printable format of the full interview guidebook: Interview Career Guide.