Interview Preparation

Successful interviewing requires preparation and practice. Good preparation includes these steps:

Step 1: Conduct a careful self-assessment, a review of your resume, and an objective evaluation of your qualifications, skills, interests, and abilities. Think about the skills you have developed both inside and outside of the classroom and how they could contribute to the position for which you are interviewing. Develop a list of personal accomplishments and skills that you can cite clearly and concisely during your interviews.

Step 2: Research the interview process. Review material available via the CWS website. Attend an interview workshop, set up a mock interview with a CWS staff member, and practice with friends, family, and to a mirror.

Step 3: Research the field in general as well as prospective employers. Learn all you can about the company (and the industry) and the position for which you will be interviewing. Review the company’s website and any current news stories that feature the company prior to an interview.

Step 4: Develop an interview strategy. Based on your research on the company, identify the qualifications and criteria the company may look for in an "ideal" candidate. With these in mind, determine the five most important points about you that you want the interviewer to know by the end of the interview. These can be specific qualities, accomplishments, experiences, or career goals. They should be determined by your distinct set of qualifications and should match the company's needs.

Step 5: Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer, avoiding those that could be answered by reading the company's information. Demonstrate that:

  • You have done your homework on the company and the position;
  • You want to acquire information that will facilitate your own decision-making;
  • You can take control and ask relevant and thoughtful questions.

Step 6: Close the interview in a professional manner. Thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration. Briefly reiterate your interest in the position and the company, and concisely summarize your skills and career objectives as they apply to the position.

If the interviewer has not mentioned the next steps in the interview process, ask if there is anything else you should do, such as providing names of references, completing an application, or taking a test. Ask about the time frame for completing the search, when you might expect to hear from the company, and whether they would prefer to call you or hear from you.

Confirm the interviewer's full name, title, and business address. Email a thank you note within 24 hours. Make sure your thank you note expresses appreciation, underscores your interest and enthusiasm, and reiterates any points from that interview that you believe are particularly important.