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The interview is one of the most important steps in the job search process. It is your chance to elaborate on how your education, skills, and experience fit what the employer is looking for. An interview is ultimately what gets you a job offer. To be successful in your interview remember that "Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance". Do your research on the position and the company and come to the interview prepared and ready to demonstrate your qualifications.

How to Prepare

The best way to prepare for an interview is to do your research, use the ‘About Us’ link on the organization’s website to start gathering information. Be able to discuss your skills, interests, values, and goals that relate to the position and the company/organization.


  • Research the company, its history, mission, and any current news articles or awards. Know the companies goals and how you can be an asset to them.
  • Analyze the position you are interviewing for, read the job description and highlight the qualifications and main responsibilities. Understand what the requirements are and know what may be required of you. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet all of the specific requirements; just be sure to emphasize your strengths.
  • Research interview questions and practice answering them in a mock interview or to yourself in a mirror. Prepare short stories that demonstrate your skills, and qualifications in a simple way. Prepare at least 3 to 5 questions to ask the interviewer(s) that you cannot find answers to online.


  • Be able to talk about yourself, practice a ‘Me in 30 seconds’ or ‘Elevator pitch.’ Be prepared to talk about why you are the right person for the job and demonstrate your job related knowledge.
  • Be prepared to talk about your strengths and weaknesses and how you are aware and working on overcoming your weaknesses.
  • Highlight your accomplishments, skills, abilities and potential as they relate to the company and the position you are applying for.
  • Practice interviewing through role play or a mock interview and get feedback on your body language, tone of voice and way you answer questions. Practice will help you be less nervous on interview day and will help you identify areas you can improve upon.
What to do on Interview Day
  • Arrive AT LEAST 5-10 minutes before your interview starts.
  • Smile and be friendly to everyone you meet.
  • Don’t fidget and avoid wearing any clothes or accessories that might distract interviewers.
  • Remember to make direct eye contact with everyone in your interview, not just the people who are asking you the questions.
  • Greet interviewers with a handshake and be sure to get everyone’s names.
  • Turn off your cell phone and throw away your gum.
  • Answer all questions thoroughly, but don’t ramble. Use the STAR method when answering questions:

Situation- What was the SITUATION for your example?

Task- What TASK(S) did you identify that had to be completed?

Action- What ACTION did you take?

Result- What was the RESULT of your actions?

Know What to Wear (When in doubt, be conservative!) 

Dress appropriately for the position you desire. Usually this means dressing one level higher than the typical work attire for the position, but when in doubt overdress for your interview.


  1. Wear a clean, pressed suit and simple tie
  2. Avoid flashy jewelry and wearing too much cologne
  3. Wear polished dress shoes
  4. Present a clean-shaven or neatly trimmed beard, facial hair and fingernails


  1. Suit or skirt with slacks with an appropriate blouse
  2. Avoid revealing clothing skirts should be no shorter than 1” above the knee and no low-cut tops
  3. Be conservative in your makeup, perfume, and accessories
  4. Hair should be neatly arranged

What to Bring 

Feel free to bring a notebook or portfolio to the interview so you can take notes and write down the names of those who interview you. You can also write down questions you would like to ask and bring them with you to the interview so you don’t forget.

Extra copies of your resume and references.

Bring a pen so you can take notes, if needed.

Any other documents that were requested in the job posting or by the interviewer.

*Remember it is completely normal to pause 5-10 seconds before answering a question at an interview; this will help you eliminate filler words and help you be more clear and concise.* 

Concluding the Interview and Following Up

State how you are the best fit for the position.

Reiterate your interest for the position.

Establish a follow-up time; make sure you know when they are going to make a decision and how you can follow-up if you don’t hear from them.

Thank everyone for their time and ask for a business card if they have one.

Thank-You Notes 

Write a thank-you note within two days of the interview at the latest. The thank-you note is most effective when hand-written or typed and mailed through the postal service or given in person. An email is also acceptable if you previously communicated with the interviewer in that way. Send the note to each person on the interview committee and give one to the front desk person/admin assistant you met when arriving for the interview.

The thank-you note should re-emphasize your interest in the position and remind them of your relevant skills and qualifications. Making the effort to send a note shows initiative and enthusiasm for the job and can give you an edge over other candidates.

Sample Questions

                      Questions you might be asked: 

  • Tell me about yourself and why you are interested in this position.
  • Give an example of a project you have worked on.
  • Give an example of a time you had to deal with an unexpected situation. What was the outcome?
  • Tell us about a time you had to deal with an angry or irate person.
  • Tell us about a project you worked on that did not turn out the way you wanted it to.
  • Give us an example of your strengths and weaknesses.
  • If we called one of your professors or previous supervisors what would they say about you?
  • What are your career goals? Where do you want to be in 5 years?
  • What do you know about our services/products?
  • Why are you interested in working for our organization?