Five Things Every Military Veteran and Spouse Should Know Before Interviewing


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Friday, May 21, 2021
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Five Things Every Military Veteran and Spouse Should Know Before Interviewing

Transitioning military members should take some time to prepare for the job search process in the civilian environment. Interviewing for a civilian job can be very different than what you are used to in the military. We are here to help you understand the five most important steps to successfully interview for civilian careers. Here is a review of the steps that you can take to prepare for a five-star interview.

The first step in interview preparation is to do research on the company before the interview. Find the business webpage and read the mission and vision statements. This will help you understand the company’s focus and learn how you can contribute to the organization. This will also help you determine if the business lines up with your personal morals and values. Another great place to review company information is within the market data or investor relations link, usually located at the bottom page of the website. Here, you can review the annual 10-K report submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission. This report provides details about how the business is doing financially, what risk factors there are, the future outlook, competitor outlook, financial data, legal proceedings and much more. Knowing as much as you can about the company helps when answering interview questions, shows you are interested in the business, and gives you a better idea of how long the business will be in operations into the future. After all, you want to be with an organization on the rise, as well.

The second step is to review the job description for the position you are interviewing for. Know the job details inside and out so you can tailor your answers to the interview questions precisely.  This will help you formulate answers to include how your prior experience fits and makes you the best candidate for the position.

The third step is to dress appropriately. I can’t tell you how often I hear recruiters tell me that candidates came to the interview inappropriately dressed. Wear appropriate clothing for the job you are interviewing for. As an example, when interviewing for an office or sales position, dress in business casual attire. Make sure to wear a wrinkle free polo or button down collar shirt and a nice pair of slacks and closed toed shoes. If the position is an outdoors construction job, wear a nice pair of very clean jeans and a pullover shirt and closed toed shoes. If hired, you will be instructed during the onboarding process of the proper work attire required. Always dress appropriately for your interview and be well groomed, too, as first impressions are everything to landing a great job. Prepare your clothing and have them ready the night before.

For the fourth step, be sure to print out at least three copies of your resume to bring along with you. If you don’t have a printer, you can get copies of your resume printed for free at a local AZ@Work ( office location. Contact your local Arizona At Work office and speak to the LVER (Local Veterans Employment Representative) for free assistance. Also, you can print your resume out at a local library branch in your neighborhood for about .10 cents per page if you prefer.

The fifth step is to relax! Stay calm and know that you have the skills and discipline that employers are seeking. Be confident and practice deep breathing to calm your nerves (all of us get nervous prior to interviewing, so this is normal). Remember, you’ve done your research, are well prepared, and have what it takes to make a good impression to land that perfect career!

Pipeline AZ has created a specialized site for Arizona military and veteran communities. To learn more about job opportunities, connect with local employers and take online assessments to help with your career search, please visit

This article is created in partnership with the Maricopa County Community Colleges and Pipeline AZ to help military and veteran communities transition back to civilian life, connect and succeed. Funding for this initiative is made possible in part by the Maricopa County Community Colleges Foundation.

Contributed by Rio Salado College Project Manager-SR for Student Affairs and Military and Veteran Programs Jane E. Denton.