Focus, preparation and practice are key to making a good impression during an interview. Chances of being successful in obtaining the position or opportunity are slim to none if you cannot professionally articulate what you want and how you fit with the organization BEFORE going in to the interview. Review the checklist below to ensure your interview readiness.
- Research the company and the position. If you are asked what you know about the company, you want to be prepared and demonstrate that you can respond in a knowledgeable manner.
- Create a profile of the position for which you are interviewing and familiarize yourself with your skills and experience. Take an inventory of your skills, abilities, personal attributes, experience and education and compare them to this profile.
- Consider the skills and abilities you have developed in your experiences, as well as situations you have encountered. List several of your strongest skills with examples of how you have demonstrated each of them.
- Write out your answers to some of the more typical interview questions and know what the interviewer is attempting to harness by utilizing behavioral and traditional interviewing techniques. If you are unable to answer professionally and concisely some of the more typical interview questions, you will appear unprepared. A few examples of typical interview questions are:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years?
- Participate in a practice interview using InterviewStream, the online practice interview system.
- Print extra copies of your resume, your references and/or reference list, phone numbers, transcripts (if required), samples of your work, portfolio, any other application materials the employer might request.
- Contact your references. It is professional, courteous and your responsibility as a job seeker to make your references aware of the organizations with which you have applied AND for which your references were listed.
- Locate the interview site and ensure you know how to find your way to the interview at least a day before.
- Double-check the date and time of the interview and know the interviewer's name and title.
- Dress to impress. You only get one chance to make a good first impression! Be certain that your business professional attire is ready to go - pressed, clean and neat!
- Review your resume and portfolio. When interviewing, you should be an expert on your past experiences and there should be no disparities between what you say you know and what your resume says you know. Review the responsibilities and your achievements for all of your work, volunteer, internship and academic experiences.
- Based on your research, write out the questions you would like to ask of the employer. At the end of a typical interview, the interviewee is prompted to ask questions of the employer. IT IS EXPECTED that you will have relevant questions to ask about the organization and position. It is generally recommended to have between 3-5 questions prepared. In the event that the interviewer has answered some of your questions, it would be best to have between 8 and 10.