Congratulations, you've landed an interview! Now your goal is to prepare for a successful interview and get the position. An interview is a basic information exchange, but a formal one. The better the rapport between you and the interviewer, the more successful it will be.
You'll need to focus some energy on "selling" yourself. Your two main goals for the interview should be:
- Clearly you accurately communicate your skills and qualifications
- Connect your skills to the position requirements
The interviewer's main goal is to assess how closely your qualifications match the requirements of the position. The interviewer will also want to present the organization and position positively, and supply accurate information to you.
How to Prepare For the Interview
Practice answering questions you might be asked
Think about what you want to emphasize during the interview, what you don't want to emphasize, and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Write them down and memorize them. The more you practice, the less likely you are to forget or be nervous. Also check out Behavior-Based Interviewing for how to more successfully answer those tough questions.
Research the position and the organization before the interview
If they have a website, review it thoroughly. Make it clear to them in the interview that you've done your homework and know some basics about their organization. This will let them know you're serious about the position.
Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer about the position and company
Prepare questions that reflect your knowledge of the position and company, and some that will help you form your own opinion about them. Your first goal is to impress the interviewer, but you also want to determine if the position/organization is a good fit for you and if you would be happy working there.
First impressions are important! If you need tips about interview attire, see What to Wear to an Interview or stop by CLA Career Services.
Consider doing a mock interview so you can assess your interviewing strengths and weaknesses
The CLA Career Services office provides free mock interviews to CLA students. Contact us to schedule one. You can also do one at any time online with InterviewStream.
Write down the details!
Write time and location of your interview, as well as the name of the person interviewing you. Get good directions. If possible, check out the location before your interview so you won't be late getting lost or finding parking.
Bring extra copies of your resume to the interview
Place them in a folder or briefcase. Be sure to take any information you've been asked to bring (resume, references list, transcripts, etc.). Take copies of your resume and references either way, and have your papers arranged for easy reference.
Be prepared for the possibility of tests
There is a possibility of skills test, proofreading tests, personality assessments, etc. Find out before the interview whether you'll be asked to take a test of some kind. If so, try to research the type of assessment it is and practice before you go.
Remember to be yourself!
Do advance research and preparation, but be sure to act naturally in the interview. You don't want to come across as too rehearsed or phony. People hire people they trust and like, so let them to get to know the real you.
During the Interview
Follow these tips for what to expect and what to do the day of the interview.
After the Interview
Make sure to take down any notes for future reference. These will come in handy if you have a second interview! Final candidates are usually asked back for a second interview, and sometimes a third.
Always send a thank-you note immediately after the interview (within 24 hours). This gives you a chance t briefly elaborate about an issue you think you didn't address well. Be sure to also provide any information requested, such as work samples or references.