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Have you spent countless hours revising your resume and searching for the perfect job yet fail to prepare for the interview? The interview is your opportunity to shine, to show the employer that you're the best candidate for the position.

Preparing for the job interview may be the MOST crucial element of getting the job of your dreams. PVCC Career Services offers the following to help you prepare for this important day.

Make an appointment to practice your interviewing skills in a role-playing situation with a career services expert. Call us at 602-787-7073 to schedule an appointment.

  • Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer, refer to them at the end of the interview.
  • Schedule a mock interview with PVCC Career Services or role-play with a friend. Think through your answers aloud while you're driving or in front of a mirror at home.
  • Know how to answer illegal or improper questions. A response to a question such as "Do you have any children?" could be, "Does that have a bearing on my ability to do the job?" The interview process should focus on job related questions. However, some interviewers do not realize they are asking questions that are not related to your ability to perform the job. If you really want the job, be diplomatic in your answer.
  • Prior to your interview, try to find out name and position of interviewer(s).
  • Prepare a list of references; names, addresses and phone numbers of three people who have agreed to serve as personal references.
  • Arrive a little early to allow extra time to fill out an application.
  • If something happens and you are going to be late, call the interviewer.
  • When you arrive, be sure to use the restroom and check your appearance.
  • If you are feeling anxious while waiting to be interviewed, take some deep breaths, breathing through your nose (it will feed your brain). Read any company literature that is in the waiting room. Most interviewers realize that people feel anxious when interviewed.
  • Smile, smile, smile!

Tips for Successful Interviews

  • Be prepared to sell yourself (Inventory your assets).
  • Research the employer (and the job) beforehand. Start with the company's web site and annual report.
  • Bring your resume (Also pen and notepad).
  • Communicate your potential value to the firm effectively. Show your sense of humor.
  • Demonstrate interest and enthusiasm in the company and the job.
  • Ask for more details about the job.
  • Listen carefully and maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Smile! Be cheerful and responsive. Speak up!
  • Express yourself in a clear, organized fashion.
  • Discuss your transferable skills if necessary.
  • Should mention of your liabilities prove necessary, put a positive spin on it.
  • Emphasize you are a team player, customer service and technological skills.
  • Be prepared to explain gaps in your work history.
  • Take time to consider each question before answering and communicate confidence in your abilities.
  • Reinforce your answers with examples from actual experiences. Relate your skills and accomplishments to the responsibilities of the position.
  • Impress them with your goals and plans.
  • Ask questions about the company, its products and services, and its future plans.
  • Allow the interviewer to finish the interview. Be sure to restate your genuine interest in the job.
  • Close with a handshake and "thank you".
  • Send a thank you letter the next day.

Other Interview Tips

  • Arrive on time or 15 minutes early (To allow time to freshen up).
  • Leave friends or relatives at home.
  • Give the interviewer a firm handshake (avoid the death grip – some people have arthritis).
  • An interviewers job is to make you feel at ease; don't take this as a sign to be overly friendly with the interviewer.
  • Check your posture and avoid fidgeting with your hands.
  • Allow interviewer to speak without interruption.
  • Expand on your answers; yes or no responses are too simple.
  • Keep responses relevant and precise.
  • Leave discussion of personal problems at home.
  • Stay positive!
  • Avoid criticizing previous employers.
  • Speak about your accomplishments.
  • Leave salary negotiations and discussions of company benefits until job offer.
  • Don't disagree with the interviewer.
  • You're being interviewed for the present position, leave talk about rapid advancement until you have proven yourself with the company.


  • Ask for the business card(s) of your interviewer(s).
  • Write down information and discussion points about the organization and the job.
  • Write the interviewer's name, department, addresses and phone numbers in your notebook.
  • Evaluate your interview; determine how to improve your next one.
  • Write or email thank-you letters.
  • Follow up with phone calls to determine the status of the hiring decision.

P – Posture: Gestures and eye contact
L – Language: What you say and how you say it
U – You: Sell your knowledge, skills, and experience
S – Smile!

Check Yourself from Head to Toe

First and foremost: Get a good night's rest. Someone who looks tired may be perceived as lazy or sickly.

Shampoo your hair. Your hair will be one of the first things noticed and it makes a big statement about your overall hygiene and cleanliness.
Simple Hairstyle. To allow the interviewer to notice your face, eyes and expressions, wear a simple style that is not distracting.

Relieve the redness. Avoid red, irritated eyes by using eye drops.

Trim your nose hair. Be sure to blow your nose if needed prior to an interview. If your nose is running, bring tissues or handkerchief.

Use Q-Tips. Clean ears will not be noticed, but dirty ears could be a deal breaker.
Earrings. Wear only small, unnoticeable earrings.

Teeth: In the morning, brush, floss and use mouth wash. After eating, check your teeth and have a mint.
Lips: Avoid bright lipstick colors. Stay with a neutral tone and check your teeth for any smears.
Jewelry: Avoid wearing tongue jewelry to a job interview as it might interfere when you speak.
Smile: Show the interviewer (s) you want the job and smile big. It will relax you and help you appear more confident.

Nails: Trim your nails and cuticles. The interviewer will notice when she/he reaches to shake your hand. If you can afford it, get a manicure.
Men: Keep your nails short and clean.
Ladies: Nails that are too long may prevent you from doing the work and will be “red-flag”.

Piercings: Facial piercings can be controversial. It is best to remove them.
Men: Shave. Avoid “5 o’clock” stubble for the job interview. Presenting yourself clean shaven is ideal.
Ladies: Keep your cosmetics to a minimum. In a business environment, less is more.

Tattoos: Visible tattoos are not appropriate in all work settings. If unsure, cover them up
Jewelry: Avoid excessive jewelry.
Men: limit yourself to a watch and a ring.
Women: a watch, a ring, a necklace, and a pair of simple post earrings is plenty. Deodorant or antiperspirant: Prevent any bad odors and be as cool as a cucumber. Applying a little on your hands will ensure a nice dry handshake.

Shoes: Shining your shoes shows that you pay attention to detail and that you are a meticulous worker. Avoid sandals and open-toed shoes since many companies do not allow them.

What to Wear

Dress one level above the clothes that you would wear on the job. Business executives should wear suits. Support staff should wear conservative dress clothes. Be sure to ask the human resources department if you are not sure how to dress for the interview. Solid colors work best – so avoid bright colors, loud fashions, or bold patterns.

Classic Professional Outfits.
Men: navy-blue blazer, gray slacks, white shirt, red tie, black lace-up shoes, black socks, and a black dress belt.
Women: charcoal gray or navy pantsuit, white blouse, simple necklace or scarf, black pumps and neutral hose.

Dry clean your clothes. Have your attire dry-cleaned and pressed. Looking sharp shows respect for the interviewer, the job, and yourself.

Try on your outfit days before the interview. This allows you to see if your outfit fits properly and feels comfortable. In addition, you can repair problems such as holes, tears, splits, stains, and missing buttons. Do not forget to check your hosiery and try on your shoes.

Do not wear the latest fashion trends. Many of the latest fashion trends may be great on the runway but they do not work in the interview room. Save your trendy clothes for a more appropriate setting.

Empty your pockets. Men; resist the urge to put your hands in your pockets. Playing with change and keys can be distracting.

What Not to Wear

  • Textured hose – plain and neutral work best
  • Cropped shirts or tops (midriff showing)
  • Exercise wear, bike shorts, leggings (tights)
  • Muscle shirts or half shirts
  • Hats (except outdoors)
  • Overalls, faded pants, or pants with holes
  • Skirts/dresses not appropriate length
  • Backless, low-cut, or shoulder baring blouses/tops/dresses
  • Big dangling earrings – small and simple works best

What to bring

  • Three questions to ask your interviewers
  • Copies of your resume and carry them in a simple manila folder
  • Social Security Card
  • Work permits and visas, if applicable
  • Work samples or a portfolio if needed
  • Money for gas, tolls, public transportation and phone
  • New notebook and a pen that works