Thursday, October 7, 2010 myBiz Blog
Ask the Expert: Interview Like a Champion by Kelly Cuene

“Hi, Elizabeth? I’m calling from Company X and we’d like to invite you in for a final-round interview.” – OMG. It finally happened. And hopefully it will happen more than once – though in all fairness, once is all it takes. You made it past the smoke screens and floods of initial candidates and have risen to the ranks of a finalist candidate.  

So this is the time you need to put your game face on. You’ve obviously shown the recruiters that you have the qualities they’re looking for – don’t let them down now!  

Be prepared. Sick of hearing about how much research and prep you need to do during your job search? Good. Then you’re listening. Because we’re not kidding. In addition to the company and position-related research I’m sure you’re already doing, be sure you have scoured the confirmation emails so you know exactly what your interview day will consist of and exactly what you need to bring with you. I know you’re so excited to come interview with us that you skimmed right over what documents we need from you, but a hand-written Reference list on a mini-sheet of paper with your hotel’s logo on the top? Really?  

Be critical. I know it’s tempting to focus entirely on making a great impression on us. But remember that you are interviewing for the first step of a very long professional life. As much as we are evaluating you as a candidate, you should be evaluating us as an employer. Does the job feel right? Do the job responsibilities sound interesting and challenging? Do you see yourself fitting in with the corporate culture? While no job is perfect, it will hopefully have most of the things you’re looking for.  

Don’t be greedy. Many times, companies will foot the bill for your final-round interview trip. This is a wonderful luxury and should not be abused. Spend money like it’s your own – just because we’re covering your gas money does not mean it’s fine to swing through three extra cities on your way to our headquarters to see your long-lost friends. You laugh, but I’m not kidding. Candidates do this all the time, and it really speaks poorly of their character. We understand that you’re students and that the dollars aren’t flowing – that’s why we’re offering to cover your trip. However, please treat us with the same respect we’re showing you.


Michelle is an experienced human resources professional and a UW-Madison alum. In her “Ask an Expert” articles she tackles students’ toughest career and recruiting questions, providing an employer’s perspective so students can learn what campus recruiters REALLY think. To learn more about Michelle, view her intro post.