5 Tips For A 5-Star Interview

So you’ve gotten a call for an interview? Congrats! Now the hard part begins.

Here are my top 5 tops to give a stellar interview. Remember, these are just five basic interview do’s and don’ts. There are dozens of other tips so come to our office for a practice interview! Call 860-486-3013 to schedule an interview with one of our Career Interns who can help you perfect your interviewing. Until then, here are some basic rules of thumb I have learned from my experience.

  1. Dress The Part: I cannot stress this enough. Your first impression is one of the most important moments in your interview. You should be dressed in business professional for an interview, unless your employer indicates otherwise.
  2. Smile! After noting your attire, the next thing they will notice is whether or not you are smiling as you say hello and shake their hand. A genuine smile will give the impression you are welcoming and enthusiastic about the opportunity to meet them and having an interview. Remember to smile throughout the interview too, not just as you greet them. This is a great way to convey your enthusiasm as you are talking about your passion for the field or discussing your skills.
  3. The Handshake: Please, please, please do not have a limp fish handshake! You want to have a firm handshake, but not too firm. This, along with most other things listed here, you will need to practice in order to perfect. Make sure you are smiling and maintaining strong eye contact while shaking their hand.
  4. Confidence is Key: I have learned that you can only be genuinely confident if you are prepared and know what you are talking about. One of the best ways I can be confident about what I am discussing is knowing my resume top to bottom, inside and out. With this, I can discuss anything about any experience without having to lose eye contact or pause to think for too long. Remember to not be over-confident, or you may come across as egotistic, which also isn’t a great impression to make.
  5. Utilize S.T.A.R: This is an acronym for a fantastic method of answering behavioral questions such as “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of when…” I can guarantee you these questions will come up at least once in your job search process, so let’s go through the S.T.A.R method so you can ace them! The first part of your response is the S, the situation you found yourself in. This first part of your response should set up the situation by describing where it was you were working at the time or what class you were in; answering the basics who, what, where, and when. Next, the T stands for task. Tell the interviewer exactly what the task was at hand. For example, if the question was “describe a situation where you had to make a difficult decision,” this is where you would indicate why you needed to make such a decision. A stands for action, which is the largest portion of your response and should be extremely specific on what steps you took to come to that decision. Did you make a pro and con list? Did you seek advice? What strategy did you use to complete the task? This portion should primarily be “I” statements about exactly what actions you took and the thought process behind each step. Lastly is the R for result. Here, you want to discuss the outcome of the situation. You want to end on a positive note, so do not bad mouth a co-worker or former employer. What lessons did you learn? What skill did you improve on? What was the outcome of our task; did you earn an A on the assignment, did the student organization you created continue on for years, etc. This is almost the “why” in your bullet statement on a resume! Explain the result of your work. Using this S.T.A.R method will help you keep your answers concise and detailed. Rehearse the basic questions you think will be asked, such as working on a team, problem-solving, working under pressure, deadlines, etc. The best way to perfect your S.T.A.R responses it to practice in front of a camera or with a partner, so come to the Center for Career Development to schedule your practice interview to get feedback from a professional!
By Amanda Bradley