Interview Preparation

Make sure you are ready for an interview by following these easy steps!

We also offer an "Interview Skills" workshop before every quarterly Career Fair. Check out our Google Calendar for upcoming workshops.

The 3 Ps of Job Interviews

STEP 1: Preparation

A) Know Yourself

  • Be ready to explain why you are interested in this particular position.
  • What skills, abilities, values, strengths and accomplishments do you bring to the job? These can be transferable skills and strengths.
  • Share your enthusiasm for joining this profession and what you can contribute.
  • Review your résumé (applicable/transferable skills used and knowledge gained from your educational training, work/internship/volunteer experience, community involvement, leadership experience, etc.)
  • Review your social media professional image. What impressions would an employer draw if they googled your name?

B) Know The Position Requirements, The Company And The Field

  • Thoroughly review the job description and qualifications including duties and responsibilities as well as the required skills.
  • Research the company’s goals and mission, products and services, organizational structure and culture, clients, growth and future direction, and current challenges.
  • What are some of the hottest topics and trends in your field of interest?
  • Conduct employer research (internal link to employer research) and make a link between your academic preparation, interests, and work experience with the target position.

C) Know The Star Method & Prepare For Some Potential Interview Questions

  • Review the list of "50 Questions Often Asked in Employment Interviews" (in the Interview Preparation PDF below) and generate possible questions for the particular position.
  • Develop 10-15 sixty seconds personal stories related to skills, strengths, and accomplishments.
  • Use the Situation Task Action Results (STAR) mnemonic to help you develop and deliver your answers to interview questions.

STAR Method Example

The STAR Method is a way of answering resume-based interview questions that provides interviewers with clear, concrete and concise answers.

"Please describe the most challenging team experience you have encountered?"

Situation or Task: I was involved in a group project last quarter for a class where our team had to create a business plan. Group members varied appreciably in their skills and motivation to complete the project, and each member was delegated tasks and deadlines for completion, including progress updates every week. One group member had fallen far behind and our group’s success and grade were in jeopardy.
Action(s) Taken: Being the group leader and the one responsible for delegating the project components, I reached out to the group member who was no longer keeping pace. In talking with him, it became clear that he had an entirely different understanding of our objective and how it would be achieved. This realization, however, was important since his unique viewpoint actually helped better inform our group’s approach in creating the business plan.
Results Achieved: As a result, our group became more cohesive, which helped us produce a successful business plan and made the group experience more enjoyable.

D) Develop A Brief List Of Questions For You To Ask The Interviewer(s)

Sample Questions to Ask Employers:

  • What are some typical career paths of employees in your organization? What is a realistic time frame for advancement along these paths?
  • What characteristics best describe a successful person at your company?
  • Please describe the training and/or professional development opportunities offered by the company.
  • How are trainees evaluated?
  • What are some typical first-year assignments?

STEP 2: Practice, Practice, Practice

STEP 3: Presentation – Day Of The Interview

  • Prepare beforehand and Practice, Practice, Practice your responses to questions.
  • Be prepared for all types of questions.
  • Punctual and well dressed.
  • Be professional and enthusiastic.
  • Conclude strongly by asking meaningful questions and summarizing your positive points.
  • Follow-up with a thank you letter within 24 hours after your interview.

Download a pdf version of this page with a sample Thank You note and over 65 sample interview questions: Interview Preparation