Career Services Center offers advice for students to interview

Allison Remecheck

Career specialist Amy Alex assists Mark Dumm, a Fall 2004 graduate, in searching for a job in the field of finance at the Career Services library in the Michael Schwartz Center. “A lot of information is in this little room,” said Alex. Her goal is to help

Credit: Allison Remecheck

Senior Kent State students are bogged down with the usual tests and papers, but something else is added to the strain of college this semester: The job hunt is quickly approaching.

And after the resumés are sent, the only thing left to do is wait for an interview.

The good news is that Amy Alex, career specialist at the Career Services Center, is trained to coach students on their resumé and interview techniques.

But there is some bad news as well.

Depending on the company, there could be more than one interview in the process to get the job, Alex said.

These interviews could be one-on-one, in front of a panel, in person or on the phone.

Appearance is everything — a good first impression can dictate the interview.

According to Resumés, Interviewing and More, a binder of interview techniques at the Career Services Center, men should come dressed in dark, well-fitted suits. Dress shoes should be polished and buffed, and ties are necessary, but shouldn’t have bright colors or distracting patterns.

Men should make sure their facial hair is well groomed and not have a long hairstyle. A conservative dress watch is the only jewelry than should be worn.

Women should also wear dark suits and make sure to not show much skin. Blouses shouldn’t be low-cut and skirts should be no shorter than one inch above the knee. Make sure shoes have only a small heel and they are closed-toe. Wear minimal jewelry and natural looking makeup.

Everyone should make sure no tattoos or piercings are visible, and funky-colored hair is not recommended.

If an interview is scary, try a mock interview to help get rid of the nerves, Alex said. Students can schedule one at the Career Services Center in advance. The interviewer will work on first impressions and review the student’s resumé and cover letter.

“The more practice, the better off you are,” Alex said.

When it’s time for a real interview, arrive on time, but no earlier than 10 to 15 minutes in advance, Alex said. Bring money for parking.

“It just shows that you can manage your time well.”

Skills are important, but employers want to learn about an applicant’s personality.

“They want to know you’ll meet and exceed all of their expectations,” she said. “They want to know what experiences you have that will help better their company.”

Employers can try to trip their potential employee up with what they ask.

“Never talk badly or negatively in an interview — even when they ask you about a weakness,” Alex said.

If a question about a weakness comes up, make sure it is backed with a positive answer about how the weakness is being fixed, she said. It’s important to be enthusiastic and confident, but don’t come off as overbearing or aggressive.

But don’t be afraid to ask questions, such as “What is the career path of most employees?” or “What do you like and dislike about your job?”

“You’re interviewing the employer as much as the employer’s interviewing you,” Alex said.

After the interview is over, send a thank you card to the employer within 24 to 48 hours, she said. Write about something interesting from the interview and why the job is still attractive.

Normally, it takes about two to four months to receive a response, Alex said. It is important to apply early. For a student graduating in May, December is the ideal time to start sending out resumés.

Contact features reporter Allison Remcheck at [email protected].