Before the Interview

Research the employer.

The #1 complaint many recruiters state is that students do not know the position or organization for which they are interviewing. There is simply no excuse for this! Demonstrating knowledge about the position and company shows your enthusiasm and interest in the position? an essential element to getting hired. Some of the information you want to know includes:

Organization Information

  • Size of organization
  • Location of facilities
  • Mission or philosophy of organization
  • Type of clients
  • Product line or service
  • Present price of stock
  • Structure of assets
  • Who is their competition?
  • Name of recruiter or others with hiring responsibility
  • Recent mentions in the news
  • Others you know in the organization (know full name and position)
  • Potential markets, products, and/or services

Position Information

  • Job duties
  • Length of time in assignments
  • Supervision involved
  • Professional development opportunities
  • How position fits with overall structure
  • Training provisions
  • Amount of travel
  • Working in a team or individually
  • Size of department in which position resides

Industry Information

  • Controversial issues
  • Trends
  • Some jargon or "buzzwords"
  • Important people or companies
  • Salary information for people at your level

Always check the internet before interviewing with an organization. 

Answers to these questions may be obtained via the organization's website, company information files and salary surveys located in the University Career Services Resource Room, newspapers, business magazines, trade journals, company literature, and people in the field.

Things to think about...

Passion for the business.

  • Ask yourself why you want to work in the industry.

Motivation and purpose.

  • Ask yourself why you want this particular job at this particular company.

Skills and experience.

  • Ask yourself how your skills and experience will be used in this position.

Diligence and professionalism.

  • Think of situations from your past that demonstrate these key areas.

Creativity and leadership.

  • Describe situations in which you needed to display these traits.

Compatibility with the job.

  • How well do your experiences fit with this position? What are you looking for in this job?

Personality and cultural compatibility.

  • What are your personality traits?

Outgoing vs. shy, planned vs. spontaneous.

  • How does this fit with the corporation's culture and with the people in it?

Management style and interpersonal skills.

  • What kind of boss, colleague, and employee will you be? Are you a team-player or do you prefer to work independently? Think of a leader you admire; how does your style compare with his/hers?

Problem solving ability.

  • How have you resolved difficult issues?


  • When have you delivered more than what was expected of you?

Career Aspirations.

  • How do your career aspirations align with this position? Which skills do you want to develop?

Personal interests and hobbies.

  • Are you involved with the community? How do you balance your time?

Evaluate problem areas in your past, and be prepared to discuss reasons for them, if asked.

  • Always emphasize what you learned from the event.

Prepare yourself

  • Schedule a mock interview with a staff member from Career and Professional Development, especially if this is your first professional interview.
  • Bring 3-5 clean copies of your resume (on quality paper), lists of references, and transcripts with you to the interview. Portfolios are becoming an increasingly popular way to showcase samples of your work.
  • Stop by Career Services to learn more about this tool. A leather-like folder with pad and penholder is a fairly inexpensive way to carry the paperwork. You can get these supplies from most office supply stores.
  • Know exactly how to get to the interview. Arrive 10 minutes early. Plan to stay late if necessary.
  • Know the name, role, and level of responsibility of each individual you plan to meet.
  • Dress professionally (see last page).
  • Immediately prior to your interview, review your resume and rehearse key points you want to communicate.