The right experience and a solid resume will help get you an interview. However, the best communicator will get the job!

Interviews provide candidates with an opportunity to articulate essential qualities such as professionalism, fitness for the position, and the ability to perform under pressure when answering unexpected questions. For employers, the entire interview process is designed to sift the average from the extraordinary and to select the candidate who will be the “right fit.”

Without a doubt, interviewing for a job can be stressful. The better prepared you are, the less stressed and more confident you will be.

Carly Miller, college relations and employment coordinator for Country Financial, said it is important for candidates to “know about the company and why you want to work there.” She said it is very important for candidates to review the job description and show how your qualifications match the job. Whether you have a military background or fast food experience, know the skills you gained and demonstrate how those skills will benefit the employer regardless of the industry.

Candidates should begin the interview with a solid pitch because many employers determine fit within the first few minutes of an interview. If the start of the interview isn’t as solid as you would have liked, a strong summary as to “why you should be considered for the job” can turn around a less than stellar start. The most skilled candidate will effectively articulate their value and sell themselves to potential employers from the very beginning.

Hiring managers often use behavioral interviewing techniques such as the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Results), which is a technique that relies on past performance to indicate future success. For these types of questions, be specific and give a variety of responses when describing your competencies to validate you have the skill being sought.

To avoid costly interview mistakes, and show how you can distinguish yourself from the competition, consider following these tips from the experts:

  • Research the company and WHY you want to work there. Use website, social media, and people you know who are employed with the company to learn as much as you can. This will show you are interested in the company and have taken the time to do your homework.
  • Review the job description. Then demonstrate how you match the requirements.
  • Know the company’s needs. Convey how you are the right candidate for the job, and prepare a convincing strategy to position yourself to fill the company’s needs by showcasing past results, not just duties.
  • Communicate effectively. Closed-ended responses fail to communicate your message. Your responses need to go much further than what you have to offer; your responses should explain how your qualifications will benefit the organization
  • Anticipate and prepare responses to common interview questions. Prepare commercial-like scripts to help prepare for the interview.
  • Brand yourself through professionally written correspondence, effective communication skills, and proper etiquette throughout the entire interview process
  • Keep in mind that interviews are a two-way street. For the candidate, an interview helps determine if the job and company will be the right fit for them, so asking the right questions is essential.

It takes practice for candidates to become more confident and skilled with interviewing. Enhance your interviewing skills by using InterviewStream. InterviewStream allows you to conduct a mock interview from any Web-accessible computer with a webcam. Your interview answers are saved in your InterviewStream account where you can review them alone or send them to a career advisor to discuss your results

Put your skills into practice by attending upcoming career fairs sponsored by the Career Center. Attendees will have the opportunity to interview with a variety of industry employers and learn about full-time job opportunities.

To prepare for career fairs, follow these simple interviewing tips, prepare your 30-second introduction, and make a good first impression. In addition to the upcoming fairs, there are campus interview opportunities and job postings on Hire a Redbird targeting Illinois State students and alums.

Interview success is largely dependent on how well you convey that you are the right candidate for the job. Take advantage of the helpful career resources available at the Career Center. Learn more by visiting us online or calling the Career Center at (309) 438-2200.