There’s nothing worse than walking into an interview completely unprepared, which is why we’ve compiled a list of interviewing and networking tips from local employers and colleges. This section provides advice on what to wear, what questions to expect (and how to answer them), what questions to ask, and how to network properly.
Panel Interview Tips
A panel interview can be an entirely different experience, with different preparation needs. Park Industries has given us permission to share their panel interviewing materials, which can help prepare you for what a panel interview experience might be like.
Additional Interview Resources
Provided by St. Cloud State University Career Center
Click on a thumbnail to access the Career Center video library
Interviewing & Networking Tips from Local Employers
To allow you to hear directly from some of our local employers, we have compiled feedback and suggestions from several local employers in the area. Hopefully their tips and suggestions will assist you in preparing and nailing that next interview, as well as learning how to successfully network with key contacts that can help you build your network.
Regional Labor Market Analyst, Minnesota DEED
Interview Tip: Be very genuine and try to relate your interests and skillsets to the job that your interviewer is trying to fill.
Networking Tip: Show interest—if there is a company or person you are genuinely interested in, express your interest and show them that you want to be a part of the company or that you want to learn more about the company.
Interview Tip: Be yourself. It is okay to practice beforehand, but you have most likely been given an interview because your background fits with the experience the company is looking for. Now, look to find if the company is a good fit for you. Company culture fit. Don’t ask about monetary rewards and benefits—those will come.
Networking Tip: Try and become a part of the community. When meeting new connections, ask specific, pertinent questions about them.
Executive Director Career Center, St. Cloud State University
Interview Tip: Be true to yourself—that is really what the interviewer is looking for. If you are authentic to yourself, that is what will make you a good fit into the company.
Networking Tip: Start small with friends, family groups, and groups you have interests in common with that you can build from. Approach people who are involved in thing you are eager to learn about.
Executive Director, Career Solutions
Interview Tip: Back up all of your interview answers with concrete examples. If you say you’re reliable tell the interviewer WHY you’re reliable. Ask questions about the culture, products or services the company offers as it shows interest. Send a thank you note after the interview; it not only gives you a chance to thank the interview for their time and consideration, it gives you a chance to express your interest again and remind them why you’d be a good fit.
Networking Tip: Show passion, enthusiasm and excitement for the type of work that you do when you are talking with others. Volunteering is a great way to network as you can network with other volunteers, employees or consumers. Also, it is a nice way to get out and about which can be a healthy diversion from the day-to-day job hunt.
CEO, GeoComm Inc.
Interview Tip: Follow-up everything with a handwritten note.
Networking Tip: Strong eye contact—first impressions do make a difference and strong eye contact can make the difference in having a good first impression.
CEO, DAYTA Marketing
Interview Tip: Don’t just sell yourself, show why the company is a good fit for you and relate it back and forth. Both the company and the interviewee should be a good fit for each other, not just one or the other.
Networking Tip: Pick something you are passionate about. St. Cloud has a ton of opportunities and choices in the area. Help out or volunteer in the community – pick something you love and are passionate about.
Vice President of Human Resources, Microbiologics
Interview Tip: Research the company ahead of time. If someone has no idea of the company going into an interview, it usually means they aren’t taking the time or aren’t interested.
Networking Tip: Reach out to friends and family. Ask around. It may be uncomfortable a lot of the time, but it is the best way to find instant connections. From there, think broad—extended family, professors, colleagues, etc.
Retired CEO, Marco Inc.
Interview Tip: The number one thing I would encourage people to do is don’t use cliches. For example, don’t tell me you’re a people person (we already know that), use another approach. Talk about how well you get along with your friends and family, that’s a better way to say the same thing.
Networking Tip: Show up where the people are, where the decision makers are, and while you are there, don’t talk about the job you want, but connect with me later. Then we’ll talk about it.
GIS Manager, GeoComm Inc.
Interview Tip: Don’t just do research, but be confident about the skills you have, be proud of yourself and what you can do.
Networking Tip: Go out of your comfort zone and find something you wouldn’t normally be a part of.