8 Tips for a Successful Interview!

8 Tips for a Successful Interview!

Interviewing is tough. It’s not easy to talk about yourself or your accomplishments. The truth is, practice and preparation will help you improve your interviewing skills, but it may never truly feel natural. The good news is, Career & Professional Development at DU is here to help you! For virtual interview practice, Big Interview is a tool that will allow you to practice industry specific interview questions and record your responses for review. For in-person practice, Career & Professional Development is hosting The Art of the Interview: How to Tell Your Story on Tuesday, January 29th from 4:30pm-6:00pm in AAC 290. You can register on the event page in Pioneer Careers Online.

1.       Research

a.      Employer website, news articles/press releases, talk to alumni or others who already work there

b.      Dissect the job description. Responsibilities and qualifications are clues to possible interview questions

c.       Know what’s happening in the industry

d.       Research your interviewers on LinkedIn. How long have they been with the company? What is their background and career history? What additional talking points can you glean from their profiles?

2.       Practice Common Interview Questions

a.      What skills and strengths do you have that relate directly to the position?

b.      Tell me about yourself: Don’t repeat your resume, talk about what motivates you, how you became interested in the field, what you bring and why you are excited about the position.

c.      What are you expecting in terms of salary? Event if the salary range is posted, you should be prepared to discuss compensation.

3.       Prepare Questions for the Interviewer – Prepare and bring with you several questions

a.      How would you describe the work environment?

b.      What is the nature of the opening (Why is the position open)?

c.       What are some of the accomplishments your organization/department is most proud of in the past year?

d.      What challenges is your organization/department currently facing?

e.      What are the next steps in the process and when can I expect to hear from you?

4.       Dress Appropriately & Be Mindful of Body Language

a.       For men a suit and tie and for women a suit or a dress with a jacket. For a more casual organization slacks/nice shirt or skirt may be appropriate. To determine what is right for the culture, you can ask the person             scheduling the interview.  Organizations in the United States expect a firm handshake and eye contact.

5.       Prepare for Behavior-Based Interview Questions—Past behaviors predict future behaviors

a.       To respond to these questions, use the STAR format:

         S/T Describe the situation or the task

         A Tell about the action you took

        R Explain the result or outcome quantifying when possible

b.       Behavioral Questions:

1- Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.

2- Summarize a situation where you took the initiative to get others going on an important issue, and played a leading role to achieve the results wanted.

3- What was the most complex assignment you have had? What was your role?

4- Give an example of a time when you used good judgment in solving a problem.

5- Describe a situation that required a number of things to be done at the same time.

6- Describe how you determine priorities in scheduling your time.

7- Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. Why was this person difficult? How did you handle that person?

6.       Bring Copies of Your Resume—Bring your resume and a pad/pen for taking notes in a padfolio. As you’ll see in this article by Erin Kennedy of Careers in Government, there might be other items to bring with you to an interview and you’ll want to appear as professional as possible.

7.       Close the Interview:  When it gets to the end of the interview don’t just say thank you!

a.       Let them know that you are excited about the opportunity and review why you are a good fit. For example: “Before we finish, I would like to thank you and let you know that I am very excited about this opportunity!  My
education and previous internship in marketing make me a good fit and I look forward to hearing from you!”

8.       After the Interview

a.       Email or write a targeted thank you within 24 hours of the interview.

If you have questions about preparing or practicing for an interview, please reach out to your Career Advisor! We are here to help!


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 17th, 2015  and has recently been updated for accuracy and clarity.


By Andrew Gupton
Andrew Gupton Career Advisor Andrew Gupton