Interview Preparation

Dressing for Interviews and Career Fairs

In need of a suit? Check out our suit closet free to all Missouri S&T students! For interviews, some of your individualism might have to be shelved. In most business and technical job interviews, when it comes to your appearance, conservative dress is always in order. Professional attire includes a full suit, or slacks or a skirt for women when appropriate. Business casual attire for men includes slacks, a dress shirt or polo and dress shoes; women can also wear skirts, slacks or a nice blouse.

For men, a dark, two-piece suit is the most professional. A long-sleeved shirt should be worn under the suit and should accompany a simple tie and patter that should touch your belt. Shoes should be polished and worn with dark socks. Jackets should be buttoned when standing or walking.

For women, a solid suit and tailored blouse is most professional. Skirts should be no shorter than just above the knee. Always wear stockings, even in the summer. Accessories should be kept simple, including jewelry and makeup. Long hair should be pulled up neatly.

Follow the rule of 13; do not wear more than 13 visible accessories, including jewelry, buttons, belt, glasses, etc. Less is always more, so monitor the amount of cologne/perfume.

Interviewing Etiquette

You never have a second chance to make a first impression. Make sure you are presenting your best self when interviewing for the career of your dreams.

Research the company with whom you are interviewing. Nothing impresses an interviewer more than a candidate who knows about the company. It shows that you have initiative. You should also research common interview questions so you are prepared. If you are interviewing for a teaching position, you should practice your answers to common interview questions for teaching positions.

Arrive to the interview on time. The importance of punctuality cannot be overstressed. Plan to arrive about 15 minutes early because it shows your regard for the interviewer’s time. If you have to wait, use the time to go over your notes.

Professional dress shows you cared enough about the interviewer and the company to present yourself in a professional manner. In today’s work place, many companies do not have a strict dress code; however, during the interview you should err on the side of formality.

Practice makes perfect. Now is the time to put the information you obtained about successful interviewing to good use. Practice your responses; have a friend go over the questions with you until you are able to answer them promptly and confidently.

We offer two services for practicing your interview skills, a practice interview (PI) with a COER career advisor, and a 30 minute appointment with an advisor to discuss preparing for an interview. For a PI, we sit down for an hour long session, and it is recorded. Professional dress required. To schedule one, either come by our main office, call or email.        573-341-4343    -    304 Norwood Hall     -    career@mst.edu

Give the interviewer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact. A firm handshake makes a good first impression. Nobody likes a limp handshake; however, be mindful and do not crush the person’s hand either. While shaking hands, introduce yourself and keep eye contact at all times.

Speak clearly and confidently. Smile and speak clearly. Mumbling portrays a lack of confidence. Listen attentively before you answer questions. Make sure you have understood the question. If you do not, ask the interviewer to clarify. Give brief answers, and answer promptly and intelligently. However, when asked yes or no questions, elaborate.

Ask the interviewer questions. Even if the interviewer does not ask if you have any questions, ask anyway. Two-thirds of your questions should be prepared. You can find common questions to ask your interviewer here.

Be honest. If an employer asks you if you have experience or knowledge in a particular area and you do not – tell the truth. This will most likely not disqualify you from being hired; however, being caught in a lie most certainly will. Once you have acknowledged that you don’t know, you can turn your answer into a positive by discussing a related area in which you have experience or by describing traits that make you a fast learner. You can provide examples of times when you have had to learn a new subject in a short amount of time.

Be succinct. Keep your answers short and to the point. Do not chew gum, smoke or wear too much cologne/perfume. Chewing gum is distracting to an interviewer and will leave them with a bad impression of your professionalism. Do not chew gum before the interview or you may forget to remove it

Be mindful of fragrances. Do not smoke before an interview, and do not wear excessive cologne or perfume. Some people have allergies or are sensitive to certain smells.

Do not refuse a job offer during an interview. Do not refuse a job offer or communicate disinterest in an employer or a position during an interview. Keep your options open, and give yourself time to think about the information you receive in an interview. Your opinion may change upon reflection.

Write a thank-you. Send the interviewer a formal thank you within 24 hours of the interview. Follow up by phone or email two weeks after the indicated response time. Thank the interviewer for their time.