The most important interview strategy is to be prepared. From knowing where to be when to mapping out a plan for what you wish to convey, the more you do in advance, the better.
Interview logistics run the gamut. Your interview may be held on campus, at the organization's site, at a restaurant or elsewhere. You may meet with one person at a time or with a panel. You may be asked to return over several days to meet with key decision-makers, or have multiple interviews in one day.
Understand the format.
Note the structure for your interview and plan accordingly. You may ask the recruiter or hiring manager:
- What is the overall agenda for my interview?
- With whom will I be interviewing?
- Are there any materials or information you would like me to bring?
- Should I schedule my own travel?
If you are running late, call the interviewer right away and explain the reason for the delay. For on-campus interviews, please review our policies. If you arrive early, be aware that your interview begins the moment you arrive. Waiting room behaviors are part of your first impression. Turn off your phone and review your notes about the organization or any literature they provide.
Timeline for 30-Minute Interviews
First 2 – 3 minutes
- Introductions. The recruiter may ask “How are you today?” or “How is your semester going?”
- Setting the course. Next the interviewer may review the plan. “We have 25 minutes, so let me start by telling you more about this position. Then I will ask you some questions.”
Next 10 – 15 minutes
- Answer questions. Review the page on preparing for interviews.
- Be open. Ask questions and approach the interview like a conversation.
Last 5 – 10 minutes
- Showcase research. Expect to hear, “Do you have any questions for me?” This is when you can show that you researched the position and the organization.
- Reference notes. Bring a list of questions with you. You can say, “In preparing for this interview, I took some time to jot down a few questions. Please allow me to review to be sure we covered everything.”
- Show appreciation. Thank the interviewer, reiterate your interest and ask for a business card so that you can send a thank you.
- Define next steps. Ask about the next steps in the process if they have not been addressed.