The Interview

Preparing for the Interview

Analyze yourself

You should be able to clearly articulate your strengths, skills, personal and academic experiences, as well as your career interests and goals. Prepare specific examples to demonstrate how your attributes, accomplishments, and experiences can be transferred to the position for which you are applying. Become an expert on yourself and how your liberal arts education has prepared you to be successful. Be sure you can show the employer how your experience matches the organization’s needs and how you will contribute to helping them accomplish their goals.

Click here for a list of applied liberal arts skills.

Research the Employer

The outstanding candidates are those who show a real interest in the organization they are interviewing with. To demonstrate that you really want the position, make sure to learn everything you can about the organization prior to the interview. Use resources such as employer’s website and industry-specific online resources such as Hoover’s Online, LexisNexis, Mint Global, or Reference USA. You should be knowledgeable about the employer’s company, including its size, products or services, organizational structure, reputation, competitors, divisions and subdivisions, parent company, number of employees, sales, assets, earnings, new products or projects, locations, and accomplishments. Click here to discover the skills and qualities employers value most in their new hires. 

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice your interview skills by scheduling a recorded mock interview with the Center for Career Planning & Internships to get feedback, hone your delivery, and feel more comfortable before your real interview. At the very least practice out loud with a friend. 

Review a list of typical questions asked by employers here.

Review a list of questions to ask the interviewer here.

Properly preparing for an interview will allow you to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate your full enthusiasm for the organization and industry to which you are applying
  2. Explain persuasively how your skills, knowledge and values match those of the organization and industry through preparing several examples of success stories. View list of liberal arts skills here. Follow the formula of C.A.R. Challenge, Action, and Result to demonstrate how you fit with concrete examples
  3. Determine if this organization and industry is the right place for you to begin your career path

During the interview

  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early for your interview
  • Dress appropriately and professionally
  • Use confident body language—give firm handshakes before and after the interview, maintain eye contact, sit up straight and avoid nervous or fidgety mannerisms
  • Speak in a clear, confident, and enthusiastic tone of voice
  • Listen carefully and try to understand why particular questions are being asked before responding. Prepare with these sample questions
  • Ask for clarification if a question or its purpose is unclear
  • Answer questions by emphasizing your skills and what you have learned from past experiences and challenges - present yourself as a problem solver. 
  • Ask questions that show your preparation, research and interest in the organization and industry. View sample questions here
  • Be positive about yourself and your past experiences—don’t forget to smile
  • Always ask for the job!

After the interview

  • Follow up with a thank you letter to demonstrate your appreciation and continued interest in the position