Professional Development Guidebook

Professional Development Guidebook

Interviewing & Negotiation

How to Interview Successfully

As you learned on the previous page, if your resume has done its job you will be contacted about an interview.  Many companies will conduct one or two phone interviews before asking you to come in person.

It may seem obvious, but how you appear and behave during an interview will make a big impression on an employer.  You should:

  • Dress appropriately - a good default for companies is business attire (e.g. a suit). Seldom if ever will an employer be turned off by a candidate who is dressed "too professionally" for an interview.
  • Visit the place ahead of time - do drive to the interview location the day beforehand so that you are clear on the best route to take, which building to enter, etc. Even taking this small step will introduce a sense of familiarity, and help diminish anxiety the day of the interview.
  • Make good eye contact - a good rule of thumb is to make a note of the color of the other person's eyes.
  • Be professional and courteous to everyone, not just the person interviewing you - many employers pay a lot of attention to impressions you make on other members of their staff (e.g. administrative personnel). Poor behavior towards other staff reflects badly on your character, and can mean the difference between receiving an offer or not--regardless of how well the "official" portion of the interview went.

The key concept behind a successful interview is to help employers visualize you in the role--and you accomplish this by asking well-informed questions, clearly pointing out how your skills and abilities make you a good fit for the position, and drawing on insider information and terminology you learned during your informational interviews. 

Interviewing Tips
More tips on interviewing.

Advice from the Other Side of the Table
More tips on interviewing.

Negotiating Your Offer

Congratulations!  You got the offer!  Now what?  Believe it or not, in most cases you have the ability to have a great deal of influence over the terms of your contract. This is another instance where all of that advanced planning back in the Self-Assessment stage, in which you identified which aspects of a job are very important to you (e.g. making lots of money, comprehensive benefits) and which are not as important to you (e.g. working regular hours, having a flexible work schedule), will come into play.

The amount of negotiating leverage you have depends on a number of factors, such as how many other candidates applied for the job, whether or not the search has been going on for a long time, whether the organization is flexible or rigid, and others). 

Negotiating an Offer
A summary of how to use these factors to your advantage.

Leveraging Factors in Successful Negotiation
A summary of how to use these factors to your advantage.

Negotiation & Salary

Many of the terms which you may include in your negotiation may be guided own personal needs or preferences.  However the most commonly pursued type of negotiation involves salary.  Many candidates find themselves at a loss regarding the typical salaries for their potential position.  Fortunately, there are a multitude of resources available to help students navigate that process.

Understanding Typical Salaries
Tips on navigating the process.