Getting ready to interview

We all at some point have heard that first impressions count. That is why it is important to make a positive, convincing first impression when beginning an interview with a potential employer.

The key to a successful interview experience is knowing who you are and knowing the organization with which you are interviewing.

To prepare for any interview

Know yourself

  • Review your strengths and weaknesses
  • Review your accomplishments, skills, and qualifications
  • Review your education and experience
  • Always know why you want to work for each company that you interview with

Research the employer

  • Before going to any interview, you need to learn more about the company. 
  • Learn about their products and services
  • Learn about their history and mission
  • Learn about their culture, the dress code, and management whenever possible
  • Depending on the company, you can find more information on their website, through the news or by word of mouth.


  • Practice, practice, practice. Put together a list of potential interview questions and think thoroughly how you will answer them. It’s a good idea to also prepare questions to ask the interviewer.
  • Plan your wardrobe. Dressing for Success from Tips on how to dress for the interview. First impressions are extremely important to employers. Make sure you dress appropriately for the industry in which you want to work or intern.
  • Know where you are going.
  • Organize what to bring.

During and After the Interview

  • Be aware of nonverbal communication
  • Be assertive and enthusiastic
  • Always be honest and accurate
  • Avoid negative comments about you or past employers
  • Practice making eye contact and don’t forget to smile!
  • At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer and if possible request a business card of theirs. 
  • Write a thank you email to the hiring manager who interviewed you and send it within 48 hours.

Additional interview tips

Frequently asked questions by the employer
  • What do you know about our company, its products or services?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Can you describe your strengths and weaknesses?

Behavior-based interviews
  • Describe how you might deal with a difficult co-worker or supervisor.
  • Describe how you handle multiple tasks.
  • Describe how you respond to criticism from a classmate, professor, or co-worker.

Questions to ask potential employers
  • Can you tell me a few specific responsibilities of the position?
  • Do you generally promote from within the organization when possible?
  • What qualities do you think are most important for this position?
  • Who would be supervising the candidate?

Avoid asking
  • What is the salary?
  • What are the benefits?
  • How soon will I be promoted?
  • How much vacation time will I get?