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Sunday, April 21, 2024

ICC’s Countdown to Summer!

Welcome to week four of the ICC’s Countdown to Summer!  Each week the Internship and Career Center (ICC) will highlight a task that will help you be prepared to land a job or internship by summer. This week we discuss interviewing.


An interview often seems daunting, but it signifies that you are one step closer to landing the job and gives you the opportunity to promote yourself.  It is also a test. Employers are feeling you out to see if you would be a good fit.  There are things you can and should do to prepare. Visit iccweb.ucdavis.edu/webshops/index.htm for a quick tutorial.

Research the company and position description.  When you confirm the interview, ask what the format will be to avoid being shocked when you sit down across from nine employers. Researching the organization will help you anticipate the kinds of questions you’ll be asked. For instance, if the company emphasizes the importance of leadership and teamwork, then there is a good chance you will be asked about a time you exercised those qualities. Perfect your response to some of the generic but troubling questions such as: “Tell me about yourself.”  In general, think about your past experiences and give examples using the S.T.A.R. (situation task action result) method. Be sure to connect your responses to the position you are applying for.

The day before, gather your materials (references, resumes, business cards, etc.) and find something professional to carry them in — no backpacks. Next, solidify your outfit choice. Acceptable attire depends on where you are applying, but when in doubt, err on the side of caution and shoot for “businesslike.” Avoid anything wrinkly, revealing, tight or flashy. Ask yourself: What would grandma think? When nighttime rolls around, set an alarm and get a good night’s sleep. Dollar “pint” night at Sudwerk can wait.

The day of, the regular rules of hygiene apply. Shower, brush your teeth, shave, etc. Make sure you arrive at the interview about 20 minutes early.  As soon as you step out of your door, put your game face on. You never know if that driver is the person interviewing you. You should treat everyone you encounter – janitors, secretaries, parking attendants – respectfully.  As soon as you enter the building, turn off your phone. No, vibrate mode does not count.

At the beginning of the interview introduce yourself and shake hands with everyone. Take note of their names. You’ll then engage in some casual conversation, but don’t get sidetracked. You are there for an interview, so get down to business. Keep your composure and speak clearly and not too quickly. Make eye contact and act engaged by taking notes and asking questions. At the end of the interview, shake hands with everyone and thank them.

After the interview, make notes for yourself. What kinds of questions did they ask you? What “went wrong” and what “went right”? This will undoubtedly help you improve. These notes will also aid you when writing thank-you notes to each interviewer. Thank-you notes show professionalism and remind the employer of your interview. E-mail is perfectly acceptable if done professionally. If you don’t hear back within two or three weeks, follow up with a phone call.

Regardless of outcome, give yourself a pat on the back. You survived! Interviewing is a skill, and if you practice you’ll get better.

The UC Davis Internship and Career Center (ICC), located on the second and third floors of South Hall and online at iccweb.ucdavis.edu, has decades of success helping to launch Aggies on their professional paths, and its services are FREE to currently enrolled UC Davis students.


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