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.
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 Quinncia (be sure to click “Activate License” to get started). 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.