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Preparing for Interviews

Are you prepared to turn an interview into a job offer?

The Day of the Interview

  • Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. You might need to fill out paperwork before the interview.
  • Go by yourself. If a friend or relative drives you, have them wait in the car or pick you up later.
  • Dress in a manner appropriate to the job.
  • Turn off your cell phone.
  • Bring your sense of humor and smile.

What to Bring to an Interview

  • Extra copies of your resume, your references, and portfolio with work samples. Carry them in a folder or portfolio.
  • Papers you need to complete your application including copies of work licenses, your driving record (if required), and your social security or immigration cards.
  • A pen and a notebook to write down information.
  • Questions for you to ask during the interview.
  • Many employers are not aware of the incentives available for hiring people with a criminal conviction. Be prepared to talk to an employer about the available incentives for hiring someone with a felony.

During the Interview

  • Display confidence. Shake hands firmly, but only if a hand is offered to you first. If you are not able to shake hands because of health or cultural reasons, politely tell the interviewer, "I don't shake hands with people, but I am very pleased to meet you."
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Let the interviewer start the dialogue.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Accept all questions with a smile, even the hard ones.
  • Give honest, direct answers.
  • Develop answers in your head before you respond. If you don't understand a question, ask for it to be repeated or clarified. You don't have to rush, but you don't want to appear indecisive.
  • Be prepared to answer tough questions about your criminal record (pdf).

Questions for You to Ask

Make a list of questions that you would like to ask during the interview. Pick questions that will demonstrate your interest in the job and the company. Look at the company's website then ask questions to get more details. Also, ask questions about the particular job you are interviewing for.

Example questions are:

  • What is the organization's plan for the next five years?
  • How will my work be evaluated, and in what time frames? By whom?
  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
  • What computer equipment and software do you use?
  • When will a decision be made about this position?

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