Thayer Career Services Staff provides the services and resources to support students and alumni with their interviewing skills. In addition to individual advising appointments, we offer a mock interview program (held annually in October), and exciting workshops throughout the year. Please visit us to schedule an appointment, or just drop by to peruse our selection of books on the topic.
Preparing for Interviews - Overview
Think of preparing for interviews as a three-step process:
Self-assessment goes a long way when you’re preparing responses to questions like "tell me about yourself", "describe your working style", and "what is your most significant accomplishment"? If reflection does not come easily to you, talk to your peers, professors and family. They can offer a valuable perspective when evaluating your own attributes and personality traits. Afterwards, talk to one of us and we can assist you in framing this information within the context of the position you’re applying to—i.e. how your ability to speak confidently in public could potentially transfer to a position with high visibility at a larger company.
Know the employer, and how you can contribute.
You won’t be expected to know everything, but it’s critical to conduct the proper research prior to the interview. For example, know the products and services the company offers, be familiar with its mission statement and values, how the company was established, and where it’s headed. Check out "Resources for Conducting Employer Research" to expedite this process. You will add value to your candidacy if you can demonstrate that you possess a fundamental understanding of the nature of their work and how you could potentially contribute as an employee.
Show up, be interested and follow-up.
Much of this is common sense. Show up on time and dress appropriately. Make good eye contact. Answer the question asked (i.e. stay on topic) and ask for clarification if you need it. Be prepared with questions that demonstrate your prior research. "What is your ideal candidate for this position?" is not a good question as they would not have invited you to interview if they didn't think that you might be a fit.
Show that you are engaged in the process. From the employer's perspective, extending an offer for a paid position is a substantive financial commitment, as well as a statement of trust and faith in your abilities and character. As in many interpersonal relationships, employers are more likely to respond favorably to your candidacy if they receive positive feedback from you. Follow-up promptly (within 48 hours) with a thank you note.
Note: Never forget that the interviewing process is one of mutual selection. The interview is an opportunity for you to evaluate the employer, the position, and the work involved too. Should you receive and accept an offer, you will spend more time with your colleagues than with most individuals in your life. It's important that you like them and the work that you do.
Types of Interviews
TIP: You may find suggestions and tips directly from the source: many employers include information about their interviewing process and philosophy on their websites.