From internships to professional employment and interview opportunities that are in-person and digital, the Syracuse University Career Services team is here to help you along each phase of your interview process. Explore interview phases below, learn more about interviewing & practice your interviewing skills with Big Interview, and schedule an appointment to meet with the Syracuse University Career Services team today!
- Phase One: Before the Interview
- Phase Two: During the Interview
- Phase Three: After the Interview
- Phase Four: Evaluating an Employment Offer
Phase One: Before the Interview
Preparation and practice are your keys to success. You can learn about what the employer might do in the interview but you can’t control it. What you can control is how well prepared you are for every interview.
Know the Job
- Study the employer’s job description and understand the tasks you’ll be asked to perform, the desired outcomes and where they fit into the bigger picture of what the employer is trying to do.
- Understand the skills, traits, knowledge base and experiences possessed by their ideal candidate.
- Within the organization, look at jobs at higher levels so you can speak to career paths and your goals.
- Research the employer and talk to your network about the work environment, culture and values.
- Be prepared to discuss how your skills, traits, knowledge areas and experiences align with the job.
- Gather an understanding of what the interview may be like by completing practice interviews with Syracuse University Career Services and/or asking your network questions.
- Envision yourself making a good impression, answering the employer’s questions, asking your questions and the closing the interview.
- Practice interviewing, so you’ll know when you’re hitting your mark and can identify areas of improvement. Schedule an appointment to meet with the Syracuse University Career Services team today and experience a practice interview!
- Gain experience with different styles and types of questions.
- For current students and alumni, interview practice is also available digitally through the Big Interview Platform.
What to Bring and How to Dress
- Prepare questions in advance. Write out questions and let the employer literally see how prepared you are.
- For additional information and suggested questions to help identify work culture, position responsibilities and more, schedule an appointment to meet with the Syracuse University Career Services team today!
- Bring material to take notes, this will be helpful when reflecting on the experience following the interview.
- Dress for success and the company culture.
Phase Two: During the Interview
The interview begins as soon as you begin interacting with the organization (e.g. entering the building, starting the digital meeting and/or phone call). Make it your goal to impress the interviewer, the receptionist and anyone else you meet – they all may be asked to weigh in on their impression of you.
Additionally, interviews may be focused on gathering additional information surrounding your resume, experience, behavior and/or a combination of hypothetical client case experiences. For additional questions or for more information on interview styles, schedule an appointment to meet with the Syracuse University Career Services team today!
From being on time, confident, engaging and dressing for success and the company culture, you can make a good first impression.
For additional questions or for more information on making a first impression, schedule an appointment to meet with the Syracuse University Career Services team today.
From introductions to small talk, the interview will likely transition to focusing on you in relation to the available position. Topic highlights include the following.
- Your interest in the position and/or organization.
- Your background, experiences, skills, strengths and weaknesses.
- Your academic choices.
- Your career and future goals.
When asked a question, we suggest the following best practices. For additional questions or to schedule a practice interview, connect with the Syracuse University Career Services team today.
- Listen, pause to think, ask clarifying questions if necessary.
- Use examples to demonstrate skills or traits.
- Avoid rambling when a shorter summary will do.
- Keep your responses specific to the opportunity, work environment, its challenges and/or features.
Asking Your Questions
It is a best practice to always have questions prepared and we encourage you to explore the list of questions below. Doing so shows your interest in the position and it allows you to assess your fit with the opportunity and the organization. For additional questions or to schedule a practice interview, connect with the Syracuse University Career Services team today.
- A year from now, what will success look like for this position?
- What challenges do you see for the person in this role?
- Are there opportunities for growth?
- Where do you see the company 5 or 10 years from now?
- How did you get your start at this company?
- What’s it like working for this company?
Closing the Interview
When you reach the end of your questions, summarize your interest and always express appreciation for the interview opportunity. During this time, you may also highlight your desire to work at the organization, confidence in your skills to help the organization and ask about next phases of the interview process.
For additional questions or to review follow-up message suggestions, connect with the Syracuse University Career Services team today.
Phase Three: After the Interview
Sending a follow-up message sharing thanks and appreciation after the interview will help set you apart from other candidates. Follow-up messages are your chance to thank the interviewer for their time, remind them of the position you applied for, provide examples of your skills supportive of the position and to restate your interest and excitement for the position.
Follow-up Message Best Practices
- Send the thank you via e-mail or note by mail within 24 to 48 hours after your interview.
- Address the message to specific individual(s).
- Keep the message brief, while expressing appreciation, highlighting the position and your skills.
- For additional questions or to review follow-up message suggestions, connect with the Syracuse University Career Services team today.
Alert Your References
From applying to a position and throughout the interview process, ensure to let your references know to expect a call or email from any organizations you are speaking with. Throughout the process, keep your references up to date with timely messages, highlighting the position description, employer profile and employer contact information.
Phase Four: Evaluating and Negotiating an Employment Offer
Congratulations on receiving an employment offer! From evaluating employment offers to negotiating, the Syracuse University Career Services team is here to help provide support, guidance and to answer any questions you may have. Make an appointment today!
Evaluating Employment Offers
While it may be hard to imagine, the most difficult part of a job search can often be accepting an offer of employment. The first offer may not be exactly the best job for you, you may be waiting for other offers or you just may not feel ready to make a commitment. Explore the following questions and connect with the Syracuse University Career Services team to learn more today!
- Am I comfortable with the mission and values of the organization?
- Am I being offered a good benefit package?
- Does the organization’s expectations fit my lifestyle?
- Does the job fit with my career plans and personal goals?
- Does the compensation package meet my needs?
- Is the location of the job where I want to live?
- Is the salary appropriate for the responsibilities of the position?
- Will I be doing work that interests me and will I be able to best use my skills?
Negotiating Employment Offers
Receive personalized employment offer negotiating support by scheduling an appointment to meet with the Syracuse University Career Services team today!
Responding to Employment Offers
After expressing appreciation for the offer, and asking to receive the offer in writing, ask for some time to think carefully about your decision. Agree on a date for your decision. One to two weeks is often reasonable, but it could depend on the situation.
Explore the following information and connect with the Syracuse University Career Services team to learn more today!
- Negotiate terms of the employment offer. You’re interested in the employment offer but areas such as salary, benefits and more may not be supportive of your lifestyle. Negotiation helps meet your needs with the employer’s needs.
- Accepting the employment offer. Once you’re ready to accept an offer, some employers will ask you to sign a document to confirm your acceptance, while others will require that you write a letter to this effect. Employment acceptance letters typically open with a thank you and an acceptance statement. The second paragraph should restate your understanding of the position and any special considerations which may have been negotiated.
- Declining the employment offer. This is a delicate matter – one which requires tact and brevity. Whether declining due to another acceptance, or because you’ve decided this job is not a good fit for you, act professionally to ensure you retain a good image with this employer. When writing a letter to inform the employer of your decline, open with a thank you and a straightforward, one-sentence statement of the decline. (Including the rationale for your decision is not necessary and may in fact, damage your relationship with the employer.) It is also appropriate to include your appreciation for the professionalism displayed throughout the interview and selection process.