From LAS Career Services: 5 Tips for an Outstanding Interview

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Interviews can be a little scary, but they don’t have to be! A little preparation and the right wardrobe are the first steps towards an outstanding interview. Here are 5 tips, from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Career Services.

Need more advice? Make an appointment! They are your best resource when it comes to preparing for an internship or job!


  1. Don’t wear or bring anything distracting.

Why? Interviewers want to be able to focus on learning more about you and how you might fit in the position they have open. Attention-grabbing clothing, jewelry, colors, too-high heels and even strong cologne or perfume can distract an interviewer.

The bottom line: Dress professionally and conservatively, and keep your accessories simple and neat. A flashy pen with multiple ink colors or an unorganized, fussy binder, for example, will dilute your overall impression.

  1. Study for your interview.

Why? That’s right, studying isn’t just for class! Be sure to research the position, organization and even the people you’re interviewing with before your interview. The more you know, the more you can tailor your answers and anticipate what questions you’ll be asked. Use the organization’s website, LinkedIn, and any contact you know who works at, or has interviewed with, the organization to help you with your research.

The bottom line: Don’t just prepare to rehearse answers to potential questions. Researching the organization before your interview not only makes you knowledgeable about its history and daily operations, it will allow you to assess whether the organization is right for you, ask better questions during the interview, and help you craft better answers. Plus, you’ll be able to articulate how you’ll fit into the organization, and how you can help advance its goals.

  1. Give Examples.

Why? Anyone can answer a question, but a great interviewer supplements his or her answers with real life examples. Come up with 5-10 examples from previous jobs, classes, or extracurricular activities. Think of times you’ve been challenged, worked in a group, solved a problem, made a mistake, etc. In your answer be sure to use the STAR approach: mention the situation you were in, task that needed to be completed, action that you took, and the result.

The bottom line: Potential employers want to know they can trust you to move their organization towards its goals. Don’t just make a claim, back it up with evidence!

  1. Have 3-5 questions prepared to ask the interviewer.

Why? Bringing questions helps you appear interested and prepared. Avoid questions about vacation time or salary, which can come off as self-serving. Ask about a typical day in the position, to explain something you saw on their website, or what the common attributes of their top performers are. If they haven’t already told you, always ask what their timeline is for filling the position and when you should expect to hear from them.

The bottom line: This is your chance to actively evaluate your interviewer and the organization. Keeping your questions focused to what you can do for the organization, or how you can be a top performer, will show your dedication to becoming a great employee.

  1. Send a thank you email.

Why? Thank you notes have a great impact. They’re personal, prove you’re interested in the job, and show you’re proactive. Within 48 hours of the interview, be sure to thank your interviewer(s) for their time and further express your interest in the position. Make it sincere, not general. Ask for business cards at the interview to collect email addresses.

The bottom line: If you’re not going to take extra steps to get the job, what will you be like six months in? Sending a thank you will demonstrate your professionalism and be the perfect conclusion to your outstanding interview!

ABOUT CAREER SERVICES Liberal Arts and Sciences Career Services partners with students to provide career development education and opportunities for students to connect with employers. We work with students from the first year of college through graduation and beyond to help the students of our college launch and maintain successful careers.

Contact: LAS Career Services