Prepare for the Interview

  • Strategize
  • Review
  • Practice
  • Mock Interview

Meet with a counselor to review your interview strategy or attend a workshop.

Review interview questions. Look at the types of questions you are likely to encounter & develop your answers. Prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer that demonstrate your grasp of their field.

Practice, practice, practice. This will help you to be more confident, get to know your skills and strengths & overcome anxiety. Conduct a mock recorded interview with a counselor in the Career Center. Utilize to fine tune you interview skills

Participate in a videotaped mock interview.

Know the Employer

  • Industry/Field
  • Current Trends
  • Employer
  • Position Description

In order to prepare effectively for a job interview, you must know as much as possible about the organization/institution/industry. Your research will reflect enthusiasm & interest to the potential employer. Research the industry or field. Keep up on the local & national news regarding the field.

Read current periodicals & trade journals to learn about trends in the field

Review mission statements, annual reports, & company literature. Think about the firm’s services or products, competitors, its clients or customers, or who the organization services. Be familiar with the organizational structure.

Know the position description. Gain as much knowledge about the department & position as you can prior to the interview so you can discuss exactly how you will benefit the organization.

Look for information at the Career Center, college library, local Chamber of Commerce, etc. Do a search on the Internet, where you will be able to get the most up-to-date information. Contact the company/organization! Ask for annual reports, brochures, magazine/newspaper articles, & for a copy of the job description. Also, ask for directions & how long it should take to get there.

These efforts will set you apart from others who did not take the time to ask for the information. Read the information and prepare notes on it.

Interview Etiquette

  • Punctuality
  • First Impression
  • Thoroughness
  • Respect
  • Tone
  • Content

Plan to arrive a few minutes early for the interview and take a moment to review any relevant literature or other material that could assist you in the interview process. Be sure you have given yourself enough time to drive, park, and prepare for the interview so that you are not rushed or late.

Be friendly to the receptionist. He/she may be asked by the interviewer about his/her impressions of you. While waiting, take time to review your materials & read any company literature available in the waiting area. If it is policy to fill out an application, do so even if you already have a resume outlining the same information asked for in the application. Complete the application neatly and answer all questions. Do not simply write, "see attached resume."

Introduce yourself to the interviewer. Be sure to maintain a friendly, professional demeanor the entire time.

Be sure to get the correct spelling of the person’s name and his/her exact title. Don’t call the interviewer by his/her first name.

Be yourself. Let them get to know you. Be confident but not conceited.

Don't answer questions with one word answers. This is the only opportunity for the employer to find out who you are, so be sure to give them adequate material. Give indication that the opportunity is more important than location or benefits.

During The Interview

Always be aware of how you are presenting yourself.

What he/she really wants to know is:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you get along with co-workers? Will you "fit" with company's culture?
  • Will you be dependable?

Keep this in mind as you answer any interviewer's questions!

Communicate Effectively

  • Listen carefully
  • Be clear
  • Use proper grammar
  • Be appropriate
  • Be specific
  • Stay on track
  • Ask questions
  • Tie it all together

Listen to what is being asked and & answer the question. While this can be difficult when you are nervous, you should be sure that you are not so self-focused that you don’t listen to the interviewer(s).

Avoid yes or no answers to question, but use clear concise answers.

Use proper grammar and a professional tone. Avoid slang and inappropriate language.

Don’t exaggerate and don’t be negative. Focusing on negative experiences will reflect on you. Tell the TRUTH but put a positive spin on things.

Be as specific as possible: refer to concrete experience. Cite examples.

Ask appropriate, well thought out questions. Prepare some relevant questions for the end of the interview. These should relate to the position but not focus on benefits.

Stay on track. The interviewer(s) is looking for information on what kind of employee you would be. Keep to the point and do not bring up extraneous matters.

Your goal is to sell yourself and to provide a clear picture of how the organization can benefit from you. Realize your potential, and be ready to tie it all together (match skills & experiences with position requirements).

Practice a one-minute "self-sell" pitch that will allow the employer to understand why you should be hired, e.g. "So far in my studies, I've done well in and have enjoyed my auditing work. Besides, I have worked as an intern for many auditors in the local area. These experiences, coupled with my determination and desire to learn, will allow me to perform effectively in this position."