Empowering Individuals to Economic Independence and Self-Sufficiency

3. Master The Art Of Interviewing

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The Art of the Interview

In order to be successful at interviews, one has to be prepared and aware of the various components necessary to get the job. Jobs are competitive and knowledge of the following will give you a better opportunity to land the job.


  • Learn about the company that is going to interview you
  • Set aside time to prepare your script, clothes, written material, transportation (or technology) and clothes


Appropriate attire (more about Professional Image)

  • Conservative suit or dress (not too dressy or too casual)
  • Shoes must be clean and polished (no sandals or worn heels)
  • Hair must be neat and conservative in style.
  • Keep jewelry simple — remember less is more. No earrings for men.
  • Cover tattoos, and (if possible) remove body piercings

Bring a neatly written resume and cover letter


  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early in order to be sure you are on time
  • Get instructions from the company on how to get to the job interview
  • If you do not have a car, get information about mass transportation to the interview location
  • For virtual interviews, make sure your devices are charged and you have a good connection. Test out any software or links beforehand to eliminate delays.

An upbeat/positive attitude

  • Have a positive attitude and do not say negative things about your last job or previous employers
  • Think of something wonderful before your interview to put you in the right mood
  • Remember your manners
  • Thank the interviewer for the interview
  • Thank the receptionist when you leave

Positive body language

  • Look in a mirror and practice smiling and looking at someone with good eye contact
  • Practice sitting yourself down in a chair
  • Do not smoke or chew gum before or during the interview
  • Smile. Even in a phone interview, smiling while you speak can affect your tone of voice in a positive manner.

Good Hygiene

  • Clean nails (trimmed nails and no unusual colors like blue or green)
  • Hair should be clean and simple in style
  • Shower and use a deodorant
  • Do not wear too much perfume or cologne … none is best
  • Eat simple foods the day of the interview

The Script

  • Know the most commonly asked questions
  • Prepare answers to those question
  • Have questions ready to ask the interviewer
  • Do not ask about pay, sick days or holidays as one of your “questions”

The Follow-up

  • Send a thank you note to the interviewer
  • Send a thank you note to the head of the company saying how much you appreciated the interviewer’s time and consideration

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Virtual Interviews

Virtual interviews are commonly done over video or phone, and should be treated like any other type of interview. You still need to do the research and be prepared to do well. Being at home should not be an excuse to exert less effort than you would do with an in-person interview.

In addition to your regular interview preparation, take these into consideration for virtual interviews.

The Right Setting

  • Try to find a blank white wall or bookshelf in a well-lit room
  • The light source should be in front of you, not behind, for the best lighting
  • Any surfaces or furniture in the background should be cleaned and tidied up (no unmade beds or piles of papers)

Test your Equipment

  • Test the microphone or headset you will be using and find out how you sound when speaking.
  • Do a trial run and practice with a friend to work out any technical issues and get comfortable with the technology.

Dress the Part

  • While you may not need to wear a full suit, a clean, crisp shirt or a smart blazer will elevate your look and professional image.
  • Think about your hair, makeup, and accessories the same way you would for an in-person interview.

Eliminate Distractions

  • Turn your phone on silent and close all other applications on your computer to minimize alerts and other notices.
  • Separate yourself from any children and pets and let them know that you need some quiet time.

Body Language

  • On video, look at the camera instead of the face in the monitor
  • Make sure you have a supportive chair, which will help you to not slouch.
  • Smile and be enthusiastic.

Phone Location

  • If you will be taking a video interview on your phone, find a tripod or sturdy place to rest the phone near eye level.
  • Consider using a headset; using speakerphone can pick up extra background noise.

Tone of Voice

  • Speak clearly and directly.
  • Practice to make sure your voice is not too soft or too loud, and that your voice projects confidence.
  • Smile when you speak – it actually comes across in your voice!

Trial Run

  • Have a friend rehearse with you until you feel comfortable.
  • Assess your setting – Is the background and lighting appropriate? Is there too much background noise?
  • Do a mock interview – How do you look and sound in front of the camera? Is your voice too loud or too soft? Do you look nervous or insecure?


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