Interview Prep

An interview gives you the opportunity to showcase your qualifications to an employer, so it is important to be well prepared. The following information provides some helpful hints:


  • Learn about the organization
  • Have a specific job or jobs in mind
  • Review your qualifications for the job
  • Be ready to briefly describe your experience, showing how it relates it the job
  • Make sure your answering machine/voicemail has a professional sounding message (Remove any inappropriate language, music, and other recordings)
  • Be sure you use an appropriate email name (a combination of last and first name and/or initials is a good way to setup up a professional email name)
  • Be ready to answer broad questions, such as “Why should I hire you?” “Why do you want this job?” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?’
  • Practice an interview with a friend or relative (use video if possible and critique your performance)
  • Inform the interviewer if you must cancel or change the date of your interview. Plan ahead for conflicts with other interviews, exams, etc.
  • Find out the logistics of the interview (When is it scheduled, what to expect during it, how long you will be there and who will be interviewing you)
  • Give yourself extra time to get to the interview

Personal appearance:

  • Be well groomed/practice good hygiene
  • Dress appropriately (Generally, attire is more formal/conservative for large corporations and less formal for nonprofit and government)
  • Do not chew gum or smoke
  • Avoid wearing cologne/perfume, your potential employer may be allergic or may simply not like your fragrance
  • Jewelry should be kept to a minimum
  • Remove body piercings and cover tattoos

The interview:

  • Be early (10-15 minutes)
  • Turn off your cell phone
  • Learn the name of your interviewer and greet him or her with a firm handshake
  • Bring a copy of your resume
  • Use good manners with everyone you meet
  • Relax and answer each question concisely
  • Use proper English-avoid slang
  • Be enthusiastic and cooperative
  • Use body language to show interest-make eye contact and don’t slouch
  • Ask questions about the position and the organization, but avoid questions whose answers can easily be found on the company’s Web site
  • Also avoid asking questions about salary and benefits until a job offer is made
  • Thank the interviewer when you leave and shake hands
  • Send a short thank you note following the interview