What Happens During an Interview?
An interview is an opportunity for prospective employers to see if your knowledge, skills, experience, and other abilities will be an asset for an open position they have available. Successful candidates are able to demonstrate to an employer through their answers how their experience and passion will make them the best possible fit for a role.
Preparing for an Interview
The key to being successful in an interview is a combination of research and practice. Interviewing is nerve-wracking for everyone, but like any skill, practice will make you feel more comfortable so you can focus on showing off your best self.
- Research the job description. Do they use any terms you don’t know? Do you have many of the qualifications and requirements?
- Research the company. What is their mission? Who are their customers? What do they do?
- Research the industry. What are some of the more recent trends? What have you learned about the industry outside of the classroom?
- Practice talking about yourself. You are almost certainly going to be asked a question like, “tell me about yourself.” Know what you’ll want to say! Some of the most common interview questions can be found here.
- Practice your stories. Even if you can’t predict every question, you can come up with examples ahead of time that demonstrate your skills. Knowing how to tell a story that showcases your experience is much more effective than simply telling an interviewer you have a trait.
- Practice interviewing with others. Schedule a mock interview with a Career Advisor through Handshake. Ask friends and family members to ask sample interview questions, listen to your answers and give you advice.
- Practice using Big Interview. Use Big Interview to build your confidence and prepare for any interview by answering real questions in real time, for dozen of industries, at all experience levels. Get tips for answering questions, and explore a video-training curriculum on all aspects of interviewing. Record, play back, and score your responses to the most common questions in your field.
Dress for Success
A clean and neat professional appearance is an important step in making a good first impression during an interview. You want the interviewer to focus on you and your skills, not your clothing. When dressing for an interview, keep your clothing simple and conservative. Recruiters may be dressed casually, but they expect you to be dressed professionally.
When you feel comfortable and self-assured about the way you look, you naturally convey confidence and a positive attitude. Remember to have one good outfit ready to wear for interviews. That way you won't have to scramble when you get a last-minute interview.
If you can’t afford to buy a new outfit, borrow from a friend or check out a discount or second-hand clothing store in the area – there are many options for interview attire in the Amherst area.
For more information, including the different levels of professional dress, check out the Professional Dress section in our Career Handbook. For visual examples of professional interview attire, you can also refer to Dressing to Impress from Florida State.
Additional Interview Resources
- Schedule a Mock Interview with a CNS Career Advisor through Handshake
- CNS Career Center Interview Guide
- Big Interview Virtual Interview Practice