Being able to interview successfully is critical to your ability to land a job.  Employers are looking for people who are a good fit for the organization and the job.  Your personality is just as important to the employer as your skills and abilities.  It’s important to remember that it’s not always the smartest candidate who gets the job (the student with the 4.0), but the candidate who is the best person for the job.

Preparation is key!  Being prepared for an interview is the most important thing you can do to improve your chances of “performing” successfully during the interview.  Know yourself & what you have to offer, research the company, know the position & why you’re a fit, and review sample interview questions & practice responding to those questions.  Know how you can add value to an organization based on your skills, knowledge, experience, qualities, etc., and be able to articulate that.  Focus on how you will be able to make a difference.  Also, it can be helpful to do some research on the people you’ll be interviewing with so you have an idea of their backgrounds.

Types of Interviews

Be aware of the different types of interviews and how you can best prepare for each interview.

  • Phone/Skype/Video Interviews: Most organizations will conduct first round screening interviews by phone, Skype, or video.  These interviews are used to see who they want to bring on-site for in-person interviews.  You should prepare just as much for these types of interviews as an in-person interview.  And remember to dress professionally even if they won’t see how you look.
  • For phone interviews, always be prepared because some employers will call and want to ask you some questions at that moment rather than scheduling a phone interview for a later date.  If possible, always try to schedule a phone interview so that you are as prepared as possible.
  • For Skype interviews, always test out Skype and make sure it’s working properly prior to the interview to avoid any problems during the interview.
  • For video interviews, a real person will not be asking the questions.  You will be asked to respond to interview questions by recording your video responses.  You will usually have a limited amount of time to answer each question.
  • On-Campus Interviews: Most organizations that conduct interviews on-campus are doing screening interviews to see who they want to bring on-site for an interview with the hiring manager.  On-campus interviews may last 20 minutes or an hour — depends on the employer.  If you have only a short time with the employer, you need to make sure you’re concise and to the point, while still building rapport and providing enough information about you for them to be able to make a decision about your qualifications for the position.  Your personality and ability to build rapport are very important.
  • On-Site Interviews (at the company): This is your traditional interview where you meet with representatives of the company.  You may interview with one person, more than one person (separately), or more than one person in a group setting.  It’s important to ask who you’ll be interviewing with prior to the interview so you can be better prepared.

No matter the interview format, preparation is key to your success!