5 Ways to Prepare for Your Big Interview
Date published: May 20, 2016
Newly minted college graduates are beginning their job hunts; undergrads have already
gone home for the summer and are now searching for the perfect summer internship or
part-time work. This can only mean one thing—it’s interview season!
Even if your resume is spot on and your cover letter could bring a hiring manager
to tears, you need a solid interview to seal the deal. Janette Bell, staffing manager,
and LaCoya Williams, training and performance management manager, from UD’s Department
of Human Resources spoke to a Career Development class about how to prepare for an
interview that will be memorable for all the RIGHT reasons. Here’s what they said:
1. Research the company.
“Always assemble relevant information about the company,” said Bell. “Be prepared
to talk about why you’re interested in them and the work they do.”
But don’t go too far by trying to connect to your interviewer or recruiter via LinkedIn
or Facebook before the interview. According to Williams, that’s inappropriate. But
going through the company’s Twitter account is fine. And learning about their upcoming
initiatives or marketing campaigns will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest
in working there.
2. Prepare answers to the most common questions.
The most common type of interview consists of behavior-based questions in which the
interviewer will ask you to describe a time when you were faced with a situation or
encountered a problem.
“You don’t want to sound like a recorded message, but you do want to have practiced
what you’ll say when the interviewer asks you something like, ‘What is your biggest
weakness?’” said Williams.
Visit the UD Office of Personal Career Development (OPCD) web page for a list of other
common interview questions: https://udallas.edu/offices/opcd/jobseekers/resumes/interviewquestions/
3. Practice telling stories.
“Review the information on your resume and cover letter, and craft a story about how
you did what you did,” said Williams. “Focus on STAR: Situation you were in, Task
you were given, Actions you took, and Results you achieved.”
Most importantly, be ready to relate your story to the job qualifications.
4. Have at least two questions ready.
When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, don’t respond with any version
“By the end of the interview, you should have thought of a couple of questions. But
if you haven’t, have a few prepared ahead of time,” said Bell.
Questions about the training program or the person who previously held the job are
good examples. For more sample questions you could use, check out the OPCD website:
5. Dress up, and don’t be late.
Bell says your clothes should be cleaned, ironed and comfortable—nothing too casual
and nothing too revealing. And always err on the side of being overdressed.
“Even if you’re not sure that everyone in the office wears a suit, you would be safer
wearing one than not,” she said.
Williams adds that you should carry a padfolio or a small notebook. “Don’t bring a
research binder, just something that can hold copies of your resume and paper for
Check out the OPCD site for more info on proper interview attire (what to wear and
what not to wear): https://udallas.edu/offices/opcd/jobseekers/resumes/dressingfortheinterview/index.php
Finally, practice your route and prepare for traffic BEFORE the interview. Know exactly
how long it will take you to make the drive, park and enter the building. Be prompt,
but not too early. Bell advises to arrive about 10 minutes before your scheduled interview