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 is a successful and experienced Human Resource consultant for over 25 years in the metro Washington, D.C. area ( ).   She has worn many p...

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