Top 10 tips for a successful job interview


December 10, 2010

English course teaches how to succeed in business communication

Though mornings come awfully early on class days, the 20 students in Lisa Ricker’s 8:35 a.m. ENG 302 course will soon have an advantage over other job seekers. When these Arizona State University students graduate and begin job hunting in earnest, they’ll be equipped with insider knowledge on how best to present themselves in the work world. Download Full Image

An ASU Department of English Writing Programs course developed in partnership with the W. P. Carey School of Business, ENG 302 teaches students how to succeed at business communication, including topics such as interviews, reports and business proposals.

And, skills in this area are not just desired, but necessary for professional success. According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers rank the ability to communicate effectively first in the list of skills they seek in potential employees.

Ricker, who has an English doctoral degree in rhetoric, composition and linguistics, brings to the classroom knowledge gained from seven years working in human resources for a Phoenix nonprofit agency. In addition to learning about interview correspondence, Ricker’s students learn to polish their interviewing techniques. “In my job as a recruiter, I met with people who were ‘dead on arrival,’ completely unprepared for their interviews,” she said.

To help her students avoid a similar fate, Ricker offers these top 10 tips for a successful job interview:

1. Learn as much as possible about the company. Research its history, mission statement and future plans.

2. Clean up or restrict access to social networking accounts, especially if they have content that could make the applicant seem unprofessional. Use a professional-sounding email address when corresponding with the company.

3. Prepare responses to questions you’re likely be asked. For example, where would you like to be in five years? What strengths could you bring to this position?

4. Prepare questions to ask interviewers. In addition to getting more information about a position, this is a good way to demonstrate your knowledge and show your interest.

5. Be prepared for questions about salary requirements by doing some research on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website (bls.gov); however, always wait for the interviewer to bring up the subject of money or it may seem like money is your primary concern.

6. Be prepared with any documentation you may be asked to provide. For example, copies of your resume or certification licenses. Have a pen and pad of paper to jot down notes during the interview.

7. Double-check the location of the interview and plan your route to arrive at least a few minutes early.

8. Be polite to everyone you encounter during the interview process. Interviewers often ask employees for their impressions of prospective candidates.

9. During the interview, don’t make it seem like the job is a placeholder until something better comes along.

10. Always send a thank you email or business letter to your interviewer(s) within two days of the interview. Interviewers see many candidates. Expressing your appreciation for their time and willingness to grant you an interview will make you stand out from some competitors who will not bother to send a thank you message.

Written by Sarah Fedirka (sarah.fedirka">mailto:sarah.fedirka@asu.edu">sarah.fedirka@asu.edu).

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