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Employer Resources

Being Prepared

Cover letters and resumes are, of course, extremely important to the job search process, as they are the tools that get you a face-to-face interview with a potential employer. But, it’s the actual interview that ultimately earns you a job offer! Remember that you are the one responsible for getting a job – don’t rely on others. To assist you in conducting the best interview possible, the interview has been outlined in six stages and provided tips for each stage. 


  • Research the company prior to the interview. The more you know about the company and the job you are applying for, the better you will appear in the interview. An interviewer will be impressed by your interest and motivation, and you will be able to explain what you can do for the company. Find out about the company, its products, history, philosophy, recent news, and its customers.
  • Do practice interviewing with someone to ease your nervousness and pinpoint nervous habits. Practice your answers aloud. (A list of most often asked questions is provided below.)
  • Know where your are going – Get and follow directions, know how long it will take you to get there, where you will park, etc. Make a practice run.
  • Don’t take anyone with you to the interview.
  • Dress conservatively.  First impressions are lasting.
  • Get plenty of rest. Turn in early the night before an interview to assure that you will be well rested and alert. Be sure to set your alarm correctly. You may want to set a second alarm. In case the electricity goes out, be sure one of the alarm clocks is battery operated.
  • Dress professionally. This is not a time to make a fashion statement. Wear professional looking clothes that are clean and pressed. Be sure your shoes are comfortable, clean and polished. Your hair and fingernails should be well-groomed, glasses clean and teeth brushed. Wear minimal jewelry. Body piercing for either gender is not recommended. Ear piercing is only suggested for women (no more than 2 earrings per ear.) If you wear perfume or cologne, use sparingly.
  • Take extra copies of your resume and reference sheet.
  • Take a pen and notepad to jot down any information you may need to remember (but don’t take notes during the interview).


  • Don’t smoke or chew gum.
  • Don’t sit until invited to do so. Do sit straight.
  • Smile and offer a friendly greeting along with a firm handshake.
  • Be punctual. Arrive at least 15 minutes early. However, don’t arrive too early. It makes the interviewer feel rushed.
  • Be pleasant and courteous to everyone you meet and speak with. Everyone is checking you out and draws a first impression that you can be certain will be shared with the individuals who make the decision of hiring or not hiring you.
  • Use your interviewer’s name.  From time to time, use the interviewer’s name in your conversation. Never use the interviewer’s first name unless you have been specifically requested to do so.
  • Be aware of your mannerisms and nervous habits. Don’t tap your pen, drum your fingers, tap or swing your feet or rock in the chair.
  • Be enthusiastic and eager.
  • Accept a cup of coffee or soft drink if offered. It shows you are sociable. Do not accept alcoholic beverages.

Answering Questions 

  • Speak clearly and slowly. Don’t be afraid to pause for a moment to collect your thoughts.
  • Be honest and positive. Don’t try to cover up mistakes. Instead, focus on how you learned from them.
  • Don’t reveal a lot of personal information.
  • Use good grammar.  If you are unsure of your grammar, practice before the interview.
  • Use good diction.  Say “yes” instead of “yeah”.
  • Don’t fill pauses in conversation with “ahs” and “uhms”.
  • Don’t punctuate sentences with verbal habits such as “you know”, “like”, and “okay”.
  • Use active verbs when you explain your skills and experiences. Say “I organized”, “I supervised”, “I repaired” to emphasize your strength. (Refer to the Resume section of this website for a list of action verbs to use when describing your skills and experiences.)
  • Don’t use words such as “ I think”, “I guess”, or “ I feel” to describe your skills and experiences. These indecisive words make you appear less than assertive.
  • Avoid negative terms such as “pretty good” or “fairly well”. When you talk about your skills and experiences, use positive, strong words.
  • Offer examples of accomplishments. Support your claim to skills with illustrations, descriptions, examples, and statistics.
  • Speak clearly and slowly. Don’t be afraid to pause for a moment to collect your thoughts.
  • Be honest and positive. Don’t try to cover up mistakes. Instead, focus on how you learned from them.

Asking Questions

  • Phrase your questions confidently.  Sound sure of yourself by asking “What would my duties be?”, rather than, “What are the duties of this job?”
  • Don’t ask questions about salary, benefits, vacation, etc.
  • Don’t give an exact salary figure, if asked. Ask the interviewer what someone in this position, or similar position, currently makes or offer a salary range.


  • Re-express interest in the position and the company. Reaffirm your strengths and skills.
  • Ask how and when you will be notified.
  • Offer a firm handshake (remember to smile) to each interviewer and thank them for the opportunity to meet with them.
  • Be sure to have the interviewers names/phone numbers.  Ask for business cards


  • Write a follow-up thank you letter. Send within 24 hours of the interview. If you are waiting for a decision, restate your interest in the position. Use this opportunity to reaffirm your qualifications or if you overlooked pertinent information in the interview, disclose it in this letter. If you have decided that the position is no longer of interest, let the interviewer know.
  • Follow-up on time with requests made by the interviewer. If you are requested to follow-up with items such as a transcript or recommendation, make sure you do so in the time frame indicated to you.
  • Samples of thank you letters are available in the MTI Career Services Office.
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