Preparing for the Interview

Preparing for an interview should begin early in your job/ internship search process. Preparation is broken down into the following three main components:

Know Yourself

Conduct a thorough self-assessment of your education, experiences, accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses, interests, and values. Review your résumé and think about what skills you developed and what contributions you made in each respective experience.  Recall recent situations that demonstrate relevant behaviors and actions that led to positive results and outcomes.

  • Make a list of the top accomplishments you want to share with an employer, and then think about the behaviors and skills demonstrated by those accomplishments.
  • Make a list of the key skills you possess. For each skill, jot down any recent situations in which you demonstrated that skill to the best of your ability.

Research

Your research should begin well in advance of the interview, as there is a lot to learn.  Learn everything you can about the organization (e.g., vision, location, size, structure, products and services, culture, customers, and competitors). Knowing more about the industry and the company will allow you to better respond to interview questions and will demonstrate that you are prepared and interested in the organization.

Here is a list of information you should attempt to gather in your interview preparations

  • History, philosophy and goals of the organization
  • Geographical location of headquarters, branches, subsidiaries
  • Organizational size, number of offices/plants and potential growth
  • Organizational culture and structure
  • Annual production and performance growth
  • Current and potential products and/or services
  • Training and promotional opportunities
  • Competitors descriptions of operating divisions
  • Organizational chart (including names of top executives)
  • Financial review
  • Contributions to the industry or field
  • Recent news/press releases

Practice

Practice will help you become more comfortable and confident in talking about yourself and your accomplishments. We encourage you to practice your responses out loud with a friend, family member, or peer. You can even practice alone in front of a mirror or use a video camera to record yourself. In addition, University Career Services offers mock interviews by appointment. Receiving feedback and constructive criticism is essential to improve your interviewing skills.