Preparing for Interviews

Pre-Interview Research Worksheet

In interviews, your job is to convince a recruiter that you have the skills, knowledge and experience for the job. Show motivation and convince a recruiter that you fit the organization's culture and job description, and you get that much closer to an offer. 

7-Step Interview Prep Plan

1. Research the organization.

This will help you answer questions — and stand out from less-prepared candidates.

  • Seek background information. 
    • Use tools like Vault, Wetfeet, CareerSearch or The Riley Guide for an overview of the organization and its industry profile.
    • Visit the organization’s website to ensure that you understand the breadth of what they do.
    • Review the organization's background and mission statement.
    • Assess their products, services and client-base.
    • Read recent press releases for insight on projected growth and stability.
  • Get perspective. Review trade or business publications. Seek perspective and a glimpse into their industry standing.
  • Develop a question list. Prepare to ask about the organization or position based on your research.

2. Compare your skills and qualifications to the job requirements.

  • Analyze the job description. Outline the knowledge, skills and abilities required.
  • Examine the hierarchy. Determine where the position fits within the organization.
  • Look side-by-side. Compare what the employer is seeking to your qualifications.

3. Prepare responses.

Most interviews involve a combination of resume-based, behavioral and case questions. We encourage you to meet with us to practice telling your story in the best possible way.

4. Plan what to wear.

  • Go neutral. Conservative business attire, such as a neutral-colored suit and professional shoes, is best.
  • Err formal. If instructed to dress “business casual,” use good judgment.
  • Plug in that iron. Make sure your clothes are neat and wrinkle-free.
  • Dress to impress. Be sure that your overall appearance is neat and clean.

5. Plan what to bring.

  • Extra copies of your resume on quality paper
  • A notepad or professional binder and pen
  • A list of references
  • Information you might need to complete an application
  • A portfolio with samples of your work, if relevant

6. Pay attention to non-verbal communication.

  • Be mindful. Nonverbal communication speaks volumes. 
  • Start ahead. Remember that waiting room behaviors may be reported.
  • Project confidence. Smile, establish eye contact and use a firm handshake.
  • Posture counts. Sit up straight yet comfortably. Be aware of nervous gestures such as foot-tapping.
  • Be attentive.  Don't stare, but maintain good eye contact, while addressing all aspects of an interviewer's questions.
  • Respect their space. Do not place anything on their desk.
  • Manage reactions. Facial expressions provide clues to your feelings. Manage how you react, and project a positive image.

7. Follow up.

Many interviews end with “Do you have any questions?” 

  • Bring a list. You may say, “In preparing for today's meeting, I took some time to jot down a few questions. Please allow me to review my notes.” 
  • Be strategic. Cover information not discussed or clarify a previous topic — do not ask for information that can be found on the organization’s website.
    • In your opinion, what makes this organization a great place to work?
    • What do you consider the most important criteria for success in this job?
    • Tell me about the organization’s culture.
    • How will my performance be evaluated?
    • What are the opportunities for advancement?
    • What are the next steps in the hiring process?