Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 10:35 AM


SCHEUING, Laurie, Self-Employed, 46 Homestead Rd, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 and JANSEN, Robert A., Earth Sciences, Dickinson College, 28 N College Street, HUB 1061, Carlisle, PA 17013,

While the resume and cover letter are significant elements of your job search, the job interview might be the most important part. There are very few job offers made without a winning interview. If you are unable to interview successfully, where you went to school and your GPA will not matter. The interview gives the employer the opportunity to see how you will fit into their existing organization and provides you a feel for whether you would be comfortable working there.

This presentation will focus on the three parts of the interview process: before the interview, at the interview, and after the interview, with an emphasis on interviewing with geo-environmental firms. A few key points are discussed below.

Before: Learn all you can about the company or organization. It’s important to know the projects and clients the company is involved with so that you can showcase how your education and experience will be beneficial. Based on this, you can anticipate the types of questions that the interviewer may ask.

You likely studied geology because you were not interested in the typical office environment. However, you need to present yourself at the interview in a professional manner. While the position you are interviewing for may involve a significant amount of field work, it is not appropriate to show up in your steel-toed boots and Carhartt coveralls.

During: Listen very carefully to each question and give thoughtful and honest answers. Ask for clarification if you don't understand. It is all right to use a few moments of silence to gather your thoughts.

It is important to never interrupt the interviewer, even if you are enthusiastic about the topic. You should never make negative comments about previous employers or professors.

End the interview by inquiring about the next step in the hiring process. Ask when you should expect to hear from them or if there is an action that you are expected to take. Always thank the interviewer for their time and offer a firm handshake and make eye contact.

After: You should write your notes right away to capture the critical details. Always send a thank you letter to the interviewer(s). Keep the letter short but reiterate your interest in the position and your confidence in your qualifications. Contact the employer within the time frame established at the conclusion of the interview and not before.