Prepare and Practice

The key to success in any interview is preparation! It is important that you know as much as possible about the position for which you are applying and the organization with which you are interviewing. Preparation also means knowing yourself. You will be expected to articulate your goals, values, interests and skills.


  • Be certain of the time and place of the interview.
  • Arrive for your appointment at least ten minutes early.
  • Know the name, role and level of responsibility of each individual with whom you are to meet.
  • Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake.
  • Do not chew gum or smoke.
  • Wait for the interviewer to be seated or to offer you a chair before sitting. If there are several chairs to choose from, select the chair in which you can directly face the interviewer.
  • Maintain eye contact without staring.
  • Body language is important. Posture should be erect, relaxed and open. Your hands should be used in a natural way that expresses animation, excitement and interest. Facial expressions should convey your sincerity and voice tone should be warm, well-modulated and relaxed.
  • Keep the interviewer's attention. Do not ramble or include trivia in your responses. Answer in complete sentences and avoid use of slang.
  • The interviewer controls the flow of the conversation, but you control the content; gently lead the conversation to highlight your strengths.
  • Do not ask about salary and benefits unless the interviewer brings it up.
  • If you need clarification on a question, ask for it.
  • Use specific, concrete examples and refer to your accomplishments and strengths.
  • Be prepared with your own questions.
  • Always be courteous, sincere and honest. Do not criticize or put down previous employers, colleagues or supervisors. Provide positive examples focusing on your strengths.

You are strongly encouraged to practice interviewing with a Career Services staff member prior to an actual interview so that you can improve your interviewing techniques and become familiar with the "feel" of an interview situation.


  • Name and title of the interviewer(s)
  • Padfolio/Folder
  • Pen/pencil
  • Copies of your résumé
  • List of your references
  • Samples of your work or portfolio (if required)
  • Copy of the position description
  • Business cards


Thoroughly research the organization, career field, issues and trends related to the type of work you would be doing and be prepared to "speak the language" of the professionals who work in the field.

Here are some suggestions on what to research about the organization:

  • Function and size
  • Potential for growth or expansion
  • Products and services
  • Reputation
  • Mission or values statement
  • Location of its facilities
  • Organizational structure
  • Financial stability
  • Clients it serves
  • Opportunities for training
  • Competitors
  • Relocation policies
  • Typical entry-level positions
  • Typical salary ranges for your desired position


  • The organization's website
  • People in the field
  • Alumni employed by the organization
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Organization literature
  • Public and career libraries
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Trade journals
  • Newsletters
  • Business magazines and associations
  • Directories


The type of dress that is appropriate varies according to the type of position and organization with which you interview. Dress as it appears others in this type of position or organization dress. You should wear the same type of attire for screening interviews as you would for on-site interviews.

  • In fields such as banking, sales, management and insurance, a conservative suit (i.e. navy or gray, solid or pinstripe) is appropriate
  • In fields such as retail, merchandising and advertising, a more colorful and stylish suit is acceptable.
  • Less formal attire is worn for social service, education, IT and arts-related positions. Men can wear dress pants, shirt, jacket and tie; women can wear a skirt or dress pants, blouse and blazer or a dress with jacket.

Be sure your shoes are polished, hair is neatly combed and make-up, jewelry and cologne are not excessive or distracting.

Remember: The way you dress contributes to an employer's first impression of you and suggests the image you might present on the job if you are hired.