Preparing for your Interview

1. Research the Organization and Industry

Research the Company so that you can answer the question, "why do you want to work here?" Be sure to view the organization's web site to see what it wants the public to know (look at the About Us page). A survey of 320 company recruiters said that one of their worst interview turnoffs was a lack of knowledge of the company and the industry.

2. Be a STAR

Figure out what your main selling points are for getting the job. Make sure THOSE points get made! Think of 5 or 6 of your most marketable skills and experiences for THIS job. Review the relevant skills recruiters want to see and prepare STAR stories based on those that are most applicable to the job you seek. Specific, achievement oriented stories will help you stand out when asked behavior-based interviewing questions.

3. Review Typical Interview Questions

Practice answering as many interview questions as you have time for. These Interview Questions are a good place to start. Be sure you are prepared for behavioral based questions as mentioned above. Don't just read the questions but determine what you will say. In particular have a brief, well thought out answer to the first question, "Tell Me About Yourself."

4. Determine Questions to ask the Interviewer

Prepare at least three or four good questions to ask the interviewer. Make sure the questions are well thought out and reflect your interest in what you can bring to the job, not what you want out of it. Do not ask about salary and benefits at a first interview.


When asked to interview, inquire about the format and who you will be speaking with. Use LinkedIn and Google to research your interviewer(s) and try to know something about them so that you can establish a connection with them during the interview.

Know the location of your interview. You may want to do a dry-run the day before so that you have a good feel for exactly how long it will take you to get there. Arrive at your location in plenty of time and try to relax, however, do not show up to the interview spot until 5–10 minutes before your scheduled time. And remember you may be observed for fit with the organization from the minute you arrive in the parking lot.

Dress for Success

Decide in advance what you will to wear to the interview. Your choice of clothes will demonstrate your understanding of the organization's culture and that you care enough about the position to go out of your way to look as professional and appropriate as possible.

Tips for men

Tips for women

At the Interview

Your first impression will set the tone for your interview. Remember these 4 things:

  1. Try to look the interviewer in the eye
  2. Smile
  3. Use a good handshake (practice and get feedback from a few people)
  4. Introduce yourself with your name

Do not take a seat until it is offered. Non-verbal behavior is crucial. Look and sound confident.

While answering questions, constantly be monitoring yourself to see if what you are communicating will help you get the job. If it won't then don't say it. Never volunteer anything negative. Be positive. Let them know you want the job.

  • At the end of the interview you can ask about the next step in the hiring process. When can you expect to hear from them?
  • Get a business card so that you can follow-up with a thank you note.
  • Leave showing enthusiasm, a good hand shake and a sincere thank you for their time.

After the Interview

Follow up with a one-time thank you note or email.

If possible, contact someone you know with the company to let them know how your interview went and remind them of your interest in the position.

Additional interviewing tips

For a fun, valuable infographic see What You Wish You'd Known Before Your Job Interview.

Ponder these reasons if you didn't get the job. Did you pass the "airport test"?

Did you find out that you need to prepare for a group interview or a panel interview?

Do you have a phone interview or video interview?

Researching Companies

In an interview you should always be prepared to let the employer know that you have done your company research.

There are a number of methods for researching companies using the internet and online databases. At Westminster many can be accessed through the Giovale Library home page.

Of course, through Google, you can find a company's website and read the information that the company wants you to see.

You can also collect information from 3rd party sources. For larger companies, many resources are available to Westminster students including:

You will have to do a little more investigative research to find information on smaller and non-public firms. You might want to ask for help from a research librarian or ask a Career Counselor.