Acing the Interview

The most important things you can do in preparation for a job interview are to research the company, rehearse, and do everything you can to show up looking and feeling good. Use the following hints and tips to maximize your interview power, and remember -- you need to advertise your competence, confidence, and charisma.

Before you get an invitation to interview

Practice, practice, practice! There are a number of things you can rehearse and prepare for before you walk in the door, and doing so will really help you stay calm and collected through the interview, as well as greatly increase your chances of getting the job.

Find a friend and run through a number of practice questions and answers, and spend plenty of time doing it. Try to be as serious as possible and get your friend to critique your performance. Use our commonly asked questions as a guideline, and try to practice in as formal a setting as possible.

If you can't find someone to practice with or you want additional help, try any of the links at the bottom of this page or call The Job Market and sign up for an interviewing workshop where you'll get expert advice and mock panel interviews tailored to the job you want!  (This requires an appointment with one of our skilled vocational counselors, who will give you a referral after approving your resume.)

Once you are scheduled

Do your homework! Research the company and the skills required for the job. Be prepared to talk about how your skills relate to the position.

Prepare yourself

Be sure to look your best and show up looking polished, professional, and comfortable.

What to Do When You're In the Ring: 10 Interview Tips

  • Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early -- any earlier will be awkward; any later may leave you flustered and nervous, and could work against you.
  • Make sure you know how to pronounce your interviewer's name correctly.
  • Shake your interviewer's hand firmly and look him or her in the eye. Smile, and keep your cool.
  • During the interview, sit up straight, control any nervous behavior, and maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Attempt to build a rapport with the interviewer. People tend to hire candidates they feel comfortable around-just make sure you maintain your professionalism and keep everything respectful.
  • Speak clearly and enthusiastically about your experiences and skills.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Be positive.
  • Don't be afraid of short pauses in the conversation, and take time to think about your answers rather than blurting out the first thing that comes to mind.
  • Bring extra resumes with you, as well as reference letters and a list of your questions. Keep these in a professional-looking portfolio or file folder.

Immediately after the interview

Write down the names and titles of all the people you met with, as well as your impressions, concerns, and any additional questions you think of. This will all be useful should you have additional interviews.

Communicate your interest and enthusiasm by writing a Thank You note and sending it the same day or the day after the interview. This should be a short handwritten note thanking the interviewer for meeting with you. You may also include something to personalize the message (perhaps it came up in the interview that you both like sports or Mexican food) and any additional questions you might have. Make sure you know how to spell correctly all the names and titles you're using in your Thank You note.

For more information about interviewing, take advantage of The Job Market's free workshops and career counselors!

Helpful Links

  • JobInterview.Net
    Contains sample interview questions, tips and guides, and sample interviews by job.
  • Interviews for Dummies
    From the "…For Dummies" book series, this guide offers some fine ideas about how to become an interviewing genius.
  • Monster.com's Interview Section
    Lots of great information including sample questions, tips and tricks, a buzzword dictionary, and an interview planner.