Matthews & Stephens Associates Employer Resource Guide - Interview Preparation

Career Resource Center

Interview Preparation

Marketing yourself
Speaking about your experience and achievements are part of the expected dialogue during a meeting with a prospective employer, but in today’s competitive job market you need to use every interaction as an opportunity to set yourself apart as the total package the employer needs. The way you speak, dress, and act all affect the interviewer’s perception of you. The better you are able to communicate your personality with professionalism and skill, the better the chances are of your getting an offer. Job interviews are business events where your talents are evaluated.

Learn as much as possible about the culture of the company (such as casual vs. formal, technical vs. administrative) then tailor your interview style/presentation accordingly. Having the ability to contact anyone you know “inside” can be an effective way to uncover the true essence of the company. Use the internet to thoroughly research the company’s specialty/niche. For example if you are interviewing at an insurance company, go online to learn about that company’s specialty: For instance, does the company specialize in life insurance only, or have they extended their line of business to include long term care insurance, and disability coverage. Find current articles online about trends and advancements in the company’s specialty. Locate background information of the people you are interviewing with. It can be helpful to learn your interviewer’s previous positions in the company, any articles they published in their specialty, presentations they have given, relevant contributions they made to the company and their specialty. Having uncovered background information about each interviewer will help you craft questions relevant to their area of expertise. Preparing meaningful questions will show you have taken the time to research and fully learn about the company.

Know Thyself

Important information to uncover before the interview:

Prepare your interview attire
The majority of companies across all industries have similar expectations when it comes to interview attire. Candidates should never underestimate the importance of appearance at their interview. The standard protocol is professional dress. High-quality, conservative attire works well.

When the employer interviews you, they are seeing you as a potential co-worker and colleague and evaluating the impression you could make internally and externally. A good measure is to make sure you are more dressed up than your interviewer, but don’t go over the top. Make sure clothing is clean, pressed, and fits correctly. When your outfit looks finished and put together, it will communicate how much you have prepared and convey the message that you pay attention to small, yet important, details.

Men’s interview attire
Suit (solid color navy, black or gray)
Long sleeve shirt
Tie, belt, polished shoes with coordinated socks
Neat, professional hairstyle with little or no jewelry, wear a watch
Neat trimmed nails, minimal aftershave or cologne

Women’s interview attire
Suit (navy, black, dark gray, other conservative colors appropriate for the season)
If choosing a skirt, the skirt should be proper and long enough so you can sit down comfortably
Coordinated, modest blouse
Conservative, polished shoes with neutral pantyhose
Professional hairstyle with limited jewelry- no dangling earrings or large, flashy items, wear a watch
Light makeup (no heavy mascara or eye shadow. Neutral lipstick is fine.)
Neatly manicured nails and little or no perfume

Matthews & Stephens Associates, Inc.
1344 Silas Deane Highway
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
Phone: 860.258.1995
Fax: 860.258.1998