Career Services provides Perfect Interview, counselor critiques

Samantha Kerns

First impressions can either win or lose a potential job offer. The Career Services Center offers various services to assist students with their job search. These services are free to all students and help prepare them for the job process.

According to, the first impression a job candidate makes on an employer is crucial. The interview process begins as soon as the interviewee enters the location where it will take place. The Web site reminds interviewees that the receptionists or any office assistants may evaluate them while sitting in the waiting room.

“If you’re not able to do the interview process, you’re never going to get to the next stop,” said Kelley Stillwagon, career specialist at Career Services.

On-campus interviews with local employers are offered, along with help searching for internships and permanent employment. Career Exploration is a three-credit hour course offered through Career Services that helps students choose a career path and strategies to prepare for heading into that chosen field. Workshops and events are held throughout the year and aid students with selecting a major or finding a job.

Student employment opportunities are listed through the Career Services Center and are open to students year-round.

Through Career Services, students can set up mock interview sessions. The hour-long sessions begin as soon as students enter the office: They are critiqued on their attire and the first impression they present the interviewers.

“It’s important to dress professionally and arrive early when going to an interview,” said Carla Owens, assistant director of Career Services.

The student is taken to an interview room with a counselor and asked typical interview questions. Students are critiqued on their answers. Counselors also go over the student’s r‚sum‚ and correct any mistakes.

Career Services offers free software on its Web site called the Perfect Interview, which students participate in via webcam. Counselors suggest this method of practicing interview skills for students who are too intimidated to meet with counselors. This software selects one out of 1,000 possible interview questions to be answered. Students then review their sessions and see their non-verbal behavior.

Counselors can also review the recorded interviews and highlight both the good and bad points for students.

Students can also participate in drop-in counseling sessions, where they can speak with counselors about steps to take to advance in the job search process.

“Preparation is so important for an interview,” Stillwagon said. “Researching a company or school before your interview is similar to taking a final exam because when you feel prepared and ready, then you walk in feeling confident and it shows.”

Stillwagon and offered some tips for interviewing:

• Be prepared to thoroughly explain a r‚sum‚.

• Answer questions in an open and direct manner.

• Enthusiasm about the position and good verbal skills are essential during an interview.

• Be honest during the interview.

• Remember to relax and listen carefully to the questions being asked.

• Never interrupt the interviewer and avoid rambling when answering questions.

• At the end, ask when a final decision will be made.

• Send a follow-up thank you letter.

According to, the most common reasons an applicant is rejected after an interview are poor appearance, tardiness, poor eye contact, lack of confidence and lack of career goals and objectives.

“It’s better to make mistakes with us at Career Services than with job employers,” Stillwagon said. “In the job market, you don’t get a second chance.”

Contact career services reporter Samantha Kerns at [email protected].