Five Tips to Nail Your Interview

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Our UCF Young Alumni Council’s new Adulting Series continued this week with a session called Nailing the Interview. The session was led by alumna Heather Deyrieux ’03 ’09MSM, SHRM-SCP, and SPHR, covered how to stand out and showcase your skills during an interview.

Deyrieux is the manager of workforce planning with the Sarasota County Government. She is a two-time alumna with a Bachelor of Science in Business and a Master of Science in Management, concentration in Human Resources. She covered everything from virtual backgrounds to actively engaging with your virtual audience – check out a few of her tips below!

Nailing the Interview

Virtual is here to stay, but that doesn’t mean in-person interviews are off the table. While we continue to navigate this remote-work environment, keep these items in mind:

  1. When prepping for an interview, remember the basics!
    This means having a fully charged or plugged-in computer, or perhaps a second device on standby – like a phone – in case things get spotty. Deyrieux mentions that this technique shows that you can think on your feet and can recover in difficult situations. When in person, this means having a printed-out resume (or a few!) on hand to share with your interviewers. If their printer is on the fritz, they’ll appreciate the extra effort.

    And, of course, remember to arrive early – both on zoom and in person!

  2. Research, research, research!
    It’s obvious to interviewers when you don’t put in the work to learn about the company and position. Our expert recommends researching how the company makes money, how this role adds value, and what challenges the company, department or position might face. Then, prepare to answer the question: Why are you interested in this job? Have a specific reason, but make sure it’s personal to you.
  3. Virtual backgrounds – good or bad?
    While a background might seem fun, it can be distracting! However, if you can use the virtual background as a tool to help you land the position (we’re looking at you, creatives!), consider using this to showcase your work. Otherwise, plan to have a solid wall behind you – or at least stay away from background motion. If you’re paying attention to what’s behind you, so is your interviewer – we’re human, and its distracting!
  4. Pants are not optional.
    Virtual is great for feeling more relaxed, but that doesn’t mean your wardrobe should take a backseat for an interview. Deyrieux recommends focusing on waist up, and even consider wearing what you’d wear to an in-person interview. But, you have to be practical – what if there’s a fire alarm and you have to make a sudden exit? Make sure you’re dressed appropriately if you need to stand up!
  5. Do. Not. Lie.
    If you’re asked a question that you don’t know how to answer, the worst thing you can do is lie your way through it – that’s a one-way ticket for your resume to the trash can! Instead, Deyrieux recommends admitting you’re not quite sure, then explaining how you’d go about finding an answer. In fact, she instructs that this technique can help an employer gauge your experience and thought process to work through tough situations. You can prepare for scenarios like this by having some examples in your back pocket, such as personal examples of teamwork and overcoming adversity.

At the conclusion of our session, Heather reminded us to breathe, smile and engage. While you can be rehearsed, don’t be not robotic. And remember – you’re interviewing them too! The interview is a great first peek at life in the organization, so prepare questions to learn what you need to know about the role.

Tell Me More!

While these five interview tips are great, they don’t capture the full picture. You can watch the Adulting Series: Nailing the Interview webinar at any time on our UCF Alumni Virtual Hub or reach out to Heather herself on UCF Knights Network.

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If you enjoyed these tips, sign up for the next sessions in our Adulting Series! Here’s a look at what we have coming up:

  • April 21, 6:30 p.m. | Mixology 101
  • April 29, 6:30 p.m. | Art of Charcuterie

About the UCF Young Alumni Council 

Our council is dedicated to furthering engagement and philanthropy at the University of Central Florida by enhancing the relationship between young alumni and the UCF community. Young alumni under the age of 32 currently account for one-third of our alumni population, making them our largest constituent base.

The UCF Young Alumni Council exists to build a strong network among young alumni to encourage a lifetime relationship with UCF following graduation; encourage graduates to contribute their time, talents and resources to support the university and surrounding community; as well as create and support programming and events that establish and strengthen your affinity to the university.

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