To succeed in interviews, you must sell a very important product - yourself - to an organization. Preparing for interviews can be challenging as no two positions are the same, however, there is a lot you can do to prepare for the interview. Like resume and cover letter tailoring, strong candidates tailor their interview responses to fit the needs outlined in the job description. This helps your interviewer easily connect the dots between what their company/organization needs and what you bring to the table as an applicant. Here are a few quick tips to help you effectively prepare for an interview. 

  1. Review the job description in depth. Think of a job description like a school test review day. Much like a teacher helping you prepare for an exam, a job description provides the basic outline of topics you should be aware of before walking into the interview. Be prepared to talk about your qualifications as they relate to any of the qualifications/responsibilities listed.
  2. Research the company/organization and how your role fits into their bigger picture. Learn as much as you can about your potential company/organizational values, mission, vision, and goals. Review their company website and research the department/unit your role would work in. Being able to "speak" a company's language outside of the job description naturally makes you feel like you "fit" to their culture and understand on a deeper level what they are all about. 
  3. Research interview questions specific to your role type. To prepare for job-specific questions beyond the basic "tell me about yourself" we recommend doing a broad internet search and finding common interview questions related to you role. Simply search for "common interview questions for [position/title]". You'll start to see common themes/patterns emerge from various articles and resources. Take note of the common skills, knowledge, and experience you uncover in your research and tailor your responses to fit those needs.
  4. Come with Questions. Interviews are a two-way street, on the one hand, interviews give employers the chance to get to know you and your qualifications better. At the same time, they also provide you with space to ask questions you can't easily find answers to about the company and position. Coming with your own thoughtful questions shows that you are engaged and eager to learn more about the role/company. You might consider brainstorming questions around professional development opportunities, job-specific questions, department/unit specific goals/metrics for success and other key stakeholder involvement form other department/units that might impact your work.

See the Interviewing Strategies Career Tutorial and Career Design Center Interview Handout to help you prepare.

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