Preparation and practice are vital to interview success. According to recruiters and employers, the ability to communicate effectively and get along with different types of personalities are two of the most desirable qualities in job candidates. Employers want to know if you have the ability to organize your thoughts effectively and express them clearly when speaking and writing. Can you present your ideas to others persuasively? How do you handle conflict and stressful situations?

The job interview is your opportunity to demonstrate to the employer that you have the communication skills they are seeking and that you are the most qualified person for the job. You should convey enthusiasm about the job and the company and clearly outline the experience and/or education that have prepared you for the position. Share your skills and explain how those skills will benefit the position and the company.

Communicating effectively and presenting yourself in a professional manner are key to a successful interview. The staff at the Center for Internships and Career Development office are available to help you prepare for your interviews with a face-to-face mock interview. Schedule an appointment.

You can also practice using an easy to use online tool: Interview Stream

The Interview Process

Many companies will begin with a telephone screening conducted by HR to see if you have the right skills and level of experience for the position. Although this interview is conducted over the phone, it is just as important as a face-to-face interview. Be sure to prepare, have your resume and the job posting in front of you during the interview and take the phone call in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.

Initial Interview

Most initial or “first round” interviews that are conducted on-campus last 30-45 minutes and are conducted 1-on-1, while those at the place of business can last for an hour or more. The goal of this first interview is to get to know you and your career goals while gathering additional information about the experience and skills included in your resume and application.

First 2-3 minutes: Introductions, small talk, what to expect
Next 15-20 minutes: Questions for you
Final 5-10 minutes: Questions for the interviewer, next steps
Second Interview

Some organizations make hiring decisions based on only one interview, but typically most conduct several rounds of interviews. Second interviews can last a few hours to a full day, and you are likely to meet with a number of people from both the department in which you would work and other departments.

To best prepare for these interviews, ask the recruiter or hiring manager these questions:

  • What is the overall agenda for my interview?
  • With whom will I be interviewing?
  • Are there any materials or information you would like me to bring?
  • Where would you like me to park?
  • For whom should I ask upon arrival?
  • If travel is involved, do I make those arrangements myself and submit receipts for reimbursement, or do you arrange for any travel needs?

Read more about interviewing in our: Guide to Interviewing