Tips for Preparing for an Interview

Every interview is a learning experience.

1. Do Your Homework

  • o Research the organization - check out the web site
  • o Know the organization's mission, market, products, etc.
  • o Memorize some facts about the organization and be prepared to cite them during the interview
  • o Talk to people who work or have worked at the organization
  • o Hang around the building in the morning, noting how staff dress, as well as their body language
2. Know Where You Are Going and How to Get There

  • o Know location and room number
  • o Identify travel and parking
  • o Know name of interviewer, title and telephone number
  • o Go on a practice run for travel timing
3. Project a Professional Image

  • o Clothing neat, pressed and professional looking
  • o Always err on the side of conservatism, even if the dress code is informal
  • o Always look tidy
  • o Make sure to have breath mints
4. Practice - Rehearse beforehand

  • o Prepare answers to common questions the interviewer is likely to ask
  • o Conduct a mock interview with a trusted person as practice
  • o Prepare examples of when you've used skill relevant to the job

5. Secure Your References

  • o Find at least three key people (former supervisor, colleagues, or instructor) who are willing to serve as your professional references and be sure to secure their permission beforehand
  • o Make sure they will speak highly of you if contacted by a potential employer
6. Arrive Early

  • o Arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview
  • o Visit the restroom and check your appearance in the mirror
  • o Turn your cell phone off
  • o Review your materials
7. Bring Necessary Documents

  • o Make a list of documents that you will need and make sure you have them with you in a folder
  • o Documents may include extra copies of your resume, a driver's license, social security card, or portfolio of writing samples or other professional work
8. Sell Yourself

  • o This is your chance to shine, so now is not the time to be humble.
  • o Develop a 25-second sales pitch (a compelling overview that includes your strengths, your abilities, and what sets you uniquely apart from other applicants)
9. Don't Neglect to Ask Questions

  • o Based on your research, ask how the position you seek relates to the organization's goals and plans for the future
10. Follow Up

  • o Send a hand written note thanking the interviewer for his/her time and consideration.
  • o If you don't hear anything after a week or two, call to politely inquire when the final decision will be made.


Dianne Floyd Sutton (known to many as Lady Di) is a successful Human Resource, now Human Capital Consultant located in the metro Washington, D.C. area. She wears many professional hats.  Dianne is President of Sutton Enterprises, author, trainer, professor, expert witness, coach and actor.  She has combine...

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