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Tips for Interview Success

The interview is your opportunity to shine. Take the time to prepare yourself for this important moment. Preparation will give you confidence and allow you to perform to the best of your ability.

Generally speaking, employers are trying to learn three things about you.

  1. Can you do the job? (capacity)
  2. Will you do the job? (achievement)
  3. Are you a good fit? (relationships)

How will you prove you are the ideal candidate? Start by reviewing your background carefully to look for clues. Employers are interested in the breadth of your skills, abilities, achievements, and interests. Draw from every part of your life – academic, work, community, athletic, leadership, volunteer, travel -- to display this. These experiences have helped to form who you are and what you have to offer.

Since employers are hiring a colleague as well, your personal characteristics count. Be sure to convey these through your thoughtful and well-prepared answers to traditional interview questions as well as behavioral-based interview questions.   

Tips for Interview Success

•  Clarify the details of the interview in advance – date, location, schedule, attire.

•  Arrive 10 minutes early.

•  Expect to feel a bit nervous. This is normal.

•  Bring several copies of your resume – you never know who in addition to the interviewer you may meet.

•  Bring your portfolio or samples of your work, if appropriate for your field.

•  Bring a list of references, if you are graduating this year.

•  Bring an unofficial copy of your transcript.

•  Be a good listener. Let the interviewer guide you.

•  Ask for clarification if you are unsure of the question.

•  Be honest if you are asked a question you are unable to answer. Offer a thoughtful way in which you would attempt to find the answer.

•  Be positive about yourself and your experiences.

•  Display energy and enthusiasm for your field and the organization.

•  Adjust your answers as the situation demands. You may use more technical terminology while speaking with someone in your field.

•  If you are asked the question, “tell me about yourself” – get right to the point by saying what makes you ideal for the job.

•  Be prepared to give specific examples to back up statements you make about yourself. These can be from academic, professional, and personal experiences.

•  Watch your body language – smile, practice a firm handshake, maintain good eye contact, sit and stand in an attentive manner, stay focused on the conversation at hand while in a group setting.

•  Look for opportunities to match your background to their needs.

•  Conclude with a sincere statement of interest in the position.

•  Thank the interviewer for their time and ask about next steps in the process.

•  Follow up with a thank you note -- emailed, typed, or handwritten.

More Tips for Interview Success:


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