You’ve been offered an interview! Now what? An interview is a chance to share who you are as a candidate and learn more about the opportunity. Whether on the phone, in person, or virtual, make sure you prepare for each stage of the interview.

Interview Tips

  • Before the Interview

    • ► Review any application materials you have submitted. It may have been weeks (or months!) since you applied, so remind yourself how you presented your skills and qualifications. Most interviews will begin with the question “Tell me about yourself” so think about how you want to describe yourself as a candidate for the position.

      ► Predict questions you’ll be asked. Reread the job description, looking for key skills, requirements, and other qualifications. Review details about the organization, such as mission statement, values, key projects, and news. If you are told in advance the people who will be a part of your interview, learn more about who they are. All of these pieces of information could suggest possible questions.

      ► Prepare questions that you will ask. Almost all interviews will have a time for you as the candidate to ask questions. Be thoughtful about what to ask, based on your preparation. If you can find the answer through your research, don’t ask it during the interview.

      ► Plan your attire. If you have an in-person or virtual interview, check that all of your attire is ready (does anything need to be cleaned, polished, repaired, etc.?). If you have a phone interview, attire is still important, as dressing as if you will be seen can put you in the mindset to make a strong professional impression.

      ► Create your day-of plan. If you’re going to be on the phone or online for your interview, decide on a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. If you’re interviewing in person, make sure you have a travel plan, accounting for any potential travel delays. Regardless of the type of interview, you should arrive/be ready 10-15 minutes prior to the scheduled start.

      ► Practice your interview. Try to practice with opportunities to say your responses out loud. If you want to practice virtually, you can do so with InterviewStream (log into your Rutgers-Newark Handshake account; go to Career Center—Resources). You can also schedule a career coaching appointment at the Career Development Center to practice.

  • During the Interview

    • ► Be nice to everyone. Anyone you encounter during your interview, whether a formal part of the schedule or not, can share input on you as a candidate. In US culture, eye contact and handshakes are a part of these interactions. There are options for hands-free greetings; see the Hands-Free Greetings handout in Resources on this page.

      ► Gather your thoughts before responding. It is ok to ask for clarification, or to pause before answering a question so that you can prepare your answer.

      ► Bring something to take notes (and bring extra copies of your resume). You may want to collect contact information of the people you meet, or make note of information you learn during the interview.

  • After the Interview

    ► Send thank you notes. An interview is an opportunity that not every candidate will get, so share your gratitude.

Interview Q&A | “What Did You Do During Quarantine?”

Interview Q&A | “What Did You Do During Quarantine?” thumbnail image

As some of us begin to inch into the next phase of the pandemic, slowly figuring out how we may move forward once we’re able, new questions have started to bubble up. Google searches like “how to set up a …

By Alexis Perrotta - Idealist Careers
Idealist Careers
Idealist Careers | Helping you land, love, and grow in your social-impact career. And visit Idealist.org explore thousands of great jobs and social-impact organizations near you.
Read more »

Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them thumbnail image

Artur Szczybylo/123RF.com

Interviews are perhaps the most important part of a job application process. When interviewing, there are several questions that are commonly encountered. Knowing how to answer these questions can significantly enhance your chances of being successful in the …

Read more »

How to Answer “How Do You Plan to Achieve Your Career Goals?” in an Interview

How to Answer “How Do You Plan to Achieve Your Career Goals?” in an Interview thumbnail image

Interviews can be fraught with difficult questions. “Tell me about yourself,” which seems simple but can be quite intimidating. “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “How many windows are in the Empire State Building?” You can also add …

By Angela Smith, MBA - The Muse
The Muse
Expert advice to answer your career questions
Read more »

What an Organization’s COVID-19 Response Reveals About its Culture

What an Organization’s COVID-19 Response Reveals About its Culture thumbnail image

As the days go by, the myriad of negative consequences of the current pandemic are surfacing, one after the other. One that is on many people’s minds, especially in our community, is the impact that COVID-19 will have on the …

By Emily Lamia - Idealist Careers
Idealist Careers
Idealist Careers | Helping you land, love, and grow in your social-impact career. And visit Idealist.org explore thousands of great jobs and social-impact organizations near you.
Read more »

Job Hunting During COVID-19? 6 Things You Need to Know About Remote Hiring Right Now

Job Hunting During COVID-19? 6 Things You Need to Know About Remote Hiring Right Now thumbnail image

Just when you thought that you might be getting the hang of this whole interviewing for a new job thing, the world went sideways. Interviewing (let alone interviewing well) is already challenging enough on a good day. So how, exactly, …

By Jaclyn Westlake - The Muse
The Muse
Expert advice to answer your career questions
Read more »