Resources available to help students prepare for a strong interview

By Rabia Ilyas

While landing an interview is quite an accomplishment, it is only the first step in securing a position for a job or an internship. Successfully navigating such interviews is achievable if proper resources are utilized.

The University’s Career Center is a helpful resource available to all students. It offers a range of services, from mock interviews to 30-minute counseling sessions.

The mock interviews are often conducted by trained graduate coordinators and require a 48-hour notice before they can be conducted. To cater to a specific interview, students can upload their resumes and/or cover letters onto the Career Center website to facilitate more detailed questions.

These mock interviews serve as a supplement for students to learn from their mistakes and improve upon their interview skills.

Chaz Sullivan, a mock interview program coordinator, notes that there are common mistakes that many students make coming into these mock interviews.

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“Eye contact is something that a lot of students usually need to work on, and also responding with concise statements,” she said.

Sullivan added that confidence is key in any interview, and many students have trouble showing this.

“It is very critical, as it can distinguish your answers from another applicant,” she said. “Lacking this feature even when you have the world’s greatest response can really hinder your chances.”

Sullivan explained that being true to oneself and sharing honest experiences and goals is critical. Having a weaker response to a question is better than lying and exaggerating an experience you never had, as there is always the possibility of follow-up questions.

“Instead, you should highlight the experiences you do have, and you always want to sound positive and grateful for any past opportunities,” she said.

While the interview setting and nerve-wracking atmosphere of a mock interview is an ideal preparation for the real thing, students can also schedule shorter sessions with advisers at the Career Center. These 30-minute sessions allow students to ask any questions about improvement.

Jennifer Neef, associate director of the Career Center, said one of the best tips she can give to students is to be as prepared as possible for the interview and to really self-reflect on goals and aspirations beforehand.

She also urged students to never be late to an interview, and to map out the exact location, date and time of the interview to prevent tardiness.

Neef noted that as many as 600 mock interviews are scheduled in an academic year.

Iqra Dhorajiwala, senior in Business, has utilized the mock interview service.

“The feedback from the Career Center was very helpful,” she said. “The interviewer took notes on everything: my responses, my posture and even my body language. Many of the questions asked in the mock were very similar to the ones I was asked in my actual interview.”

Dhorajiwala recommended the resource to all students, and said it can build their confidence as they become more familiar with the interview process.

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