Interviews & Offers
Feel free to ask questions when the interview is scheduled. You will want to know who is interviewing you so you can memorize names in advance. Some interviews may be conducted by one person, some by several. Some candidates have been asked to design or solve something as part of the interview. Knowing exactly what to expect will help you relax when you arrive.
Research the organization. What are their strengths? What type of company culture do they have? How does the position fit into the structure of the organization? Why are you a great match?
Develop a list of questions to ask the interviewer(s). You will be asked if you have any questions and not having some prepared may indicate you haven’t thought much about the opportunity. Some examples of thoughtful questions are:
- Could you describe the type of work and projects typically assigned to this position?
- Is there an orientation or training period?
- What are the work patterns? Is there teamwork and collaboration? How is the work assigned?
- How is this position supervised? Is there a particular person assigned as a mentor or supervisor? How is performance evaluated? When is performance evaluated?
- What are the biggest issues or problems facing this organization? What are the strengths or greatest assets of the organization?
- What projects are in progress now?
- Describe a typical career path in the organization.
- What are the long-range goals of the organization?
- What is the next step in the hiring process?
- When do you expect to make a hiring decision?
Know how long it takes to get to the interview location. Figure out directions and parking or public transportation ahead of time and make sure you have cash for meters or fares.
Make sure whatever you are planning to wear is clean and ready a week in advance; that way you have time to dry clean or shop for a new belt.
Have someone ask potential interview questions ahead of time and craft strategic answers that best showcase your skills. Think of things that you definitely want the interviewer to know about you and plan how you may be able to work them into responses. Review the job description and your resume, cover letter and portfolio.
Practice and preparation makes a big difference. Have someone ask questions so you can practice answers out loud before an interview. If you would like to schedule a mock interview, please contact Design Career Services.
- General questions (PDF)
- Architecture (PDF)
- Community and Regional Planning (PDF)
- Graphic Design (PDF)
- Interior Design (PDF)
- Landscape Architecture (PDF)
What to wear
For men, a suit, coordinated shirt, tie, dress belt and dress shoes is appropriate. Avoid cologne/aftershave, visible piercings, athletic watches, and white socks.
Women should also wear a suit and coordinated shirt, and dress shoes. Avoid transparent or revealing clothing, strappy or open-toed shoes, perfume, heavy makeup, costume jewelry, and visible piercings (other than ears).
When in doubt, overdress and dress conservatively. For more information, visit the links below.
Two videos produced by students from East Tennessee State University’s College of Business & Technology, Family & Consumer Science program demonstrate how to dress for success.
During the interview
Arrive 15 minutes early. Enter the interviewing room with a smile, self-confidence and a firm handshake.
Let the interviewer offer the lead. Listen to questions and remember that the interviewer is not interested in yes or no answers. It’s fine to ask that a question be repeated, and it’s perfectly acceptable to think before responding. The interviewer is appraising your thinking ability, how you solve problems and your communication skills. They want to determine if you are a good fit for their organization and if you have the necessary qualifications for the position. When responding to questions, refer to your experience, knowledge or portfolio when possible.
Use your communication skills. Listening, verbal skills and body language are all important. Avoid using slang or trendy speech patterns, speaking negatively about past team members or supervisors, and do not chew gum.
After the interview, make notes about the questions and your responses. Immediately send a thank-you note to everyone that interviewed you.
There are multiple factors to consider when evaluating job or internship offers. What is important to you? You may want to consider geographic location of office, access to public transportation, health insurance benefits, personal time off (vacation, sick leave, etc), company specialty, company culture (its “feel” – values, practices, attitudes, customs, etc), size of organization, promotion opportunities or career path options, travel opportunities, and salary offered.
Online resources for salary research