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Career Development Center – Students

Prepare for Your Interview

Career Development Center

Prepare for Your Interview

First impressions are lasting impressions and there are no second chances. It pays to be prepared! Being prepared for your interview can be the difference that gets you the job.

Before your interview, you should:

  • Develop a sound resume with experience and skills that support your objective (don’t forget – we can help you!)
  • Research the potential employer and the job responsibilities for the position in advance
  • Have a copy of the complete job description for the specific job
  • Know how you can benefit the employer and the skills you have to offer
  • Prepare a 1-2 minute mini script about yourself including your educational background, experience and reason why you are interested in the position

Arriving for the Interview

  • Have directions in advance; if driving, ask where you are to park
  • Take a trial run ahead of time so you know exactly where you will be going and the time required to get to the interview setting.
  • Get there early (10-15 minutes); find a restroom and use a mirror to be sure you’re put together.
  • Take care of breath odor.
  • Notify the receptionist of your arrival.
  • Be sure you know how to pronounce the name of the person you’ll be interviewing with.
  • Observe the environment (corporate culture) and take note of newsletters, journals, and hangings in the waiting room.
  • Relax; take deep breaths.
  • Reframe your thoughts if you’re nervous; focus on “what would it be like to work here?”


  • Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake and smile.
  • Maintain straight body posture.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Talk loud enough but not too loudly.
  • Communicate with pride, honesty and confidence about your accomplishments and potential.
  • Be energetic and enthusiastic.

Be Mindful

  • Developing rapport – follow the lead for small talk.
  • Background information – keep them focused on your resumé.
  • Determining whether your skills are a good fit for the position and company.
  • Closing – you may ask questions.

During the Interview

  • Keep in mind that employers are interested in how you respond, i.e., in a logical and thoughtful manner.
  • Try not to hurry your responses; take time to formulate your thoughts. It’s OK for a few seconds of silence as you prepare your answer.
  • Pay special attention to questions for which you answer “no.” If you have to answer “no,m” then qualify it positively. For example, if you are asked if you can do something like sprout wings and fly to the moon and back within 24 hours, you might respond by saying “no, I do not remember reading that in the job description. However, I know that I can learn.” The point is not to leave a negative perception with the interviewer.
  • Pay attention to “illegal” questions that the interviewer may ask. If you perceive that the information is irrelevant to the responsibilities, you could ask how that information affects your employment with the company or your ability to perform the responsibilities of the position.

How to Tie a Tie

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