To succeed in interviews, it is vital to understand that you are selling a very important product – yourself – to an organization. Expect the interviewer to discuss your specific qualifications as they relate to the job opening. Be ready with specific examples of your skills/successes as they match the job.
Displaying these qualifications in interviews is not easy, but self-assessment, preparation, and practice can help. Candidates need to analyze their strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and goals to see how well they fit with employers’ needs. The good news is that interviewing skills can be developed and improved through effective preparation and practice.
Prepare for an Interview
- Research the company you are pursuing (see Tips for Researching Employers).
- Whenever possible, identify a contact inside the organization who can provide you with valuable information about your ability to solve the employer’s needs/problems. Frame your answers using this information.
- Confirm time, place, and name of company & interviewer(s). Arrive 10 minutes early and DO NOT use any hand held electronics devices while waiting.
- Dress appropriately and be sure you have several copies of your resume and references (on resume quality paper) with you.
- Maintain a positive attitude, eye contact, and smile.
- Take relevant samples of your work (hard and soft copy) that illustrate your skills in key areas.
- Practice responding to sample questions (see Interviewing). Be sure to link your qualifications to the job by using examples.
- Have a list of questions to ask the interviewer (see Best Questions). Gather valuable information regarding the position or organization. This also illustrates your research.
People who interview well are often better employees because they have learned how to sell themselves and their ideas to others. One study revealed the most common mistake college graduates make when interviewing is that they aren’t assertive enough.