College Resources

Job Interview Skills

Before the Interview

  • Before the day of the interview, choose what you will wear and make sure it is clean and pressed. Dress for the job you want!

  • Know where you are supposed to be for your appointment and arrive 5 – 15 minutes early. Remember to allow time for traffic and parking.

  • Organize your thoughts and data. Know the skills you can sell to an employer. Anticipate questions and practice your responses.

  • Find out as much as you can about the company: products, age, size, etc. Talk to someone who works there if possible.

  • Know the position title and required duties of the job for which you are interviewing.

  • Have all necessary information available in case you are asked to fill out a job application when you arrive for the interview.

  • Have copies of your updated resume to give to your interviewer(s).

  • Arrive alone. 

  • Avoid saying anything negative about yourself or past employers.

Frequently asked interview questions

  • Tell me about yourself/your education/your work history.

  • Who or what has had the greatest influence on your life?

  • What goals have you set for yourself? How will you achieve them?

  • Why did you apply for a position with this organization?

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  • In what field of work are you interested and why?

  • What qualifications do you have that make you feel you will be successful in your field?

  • What personal characteristics are necessary for success in your chosen field?

  • In what type of position are you most interested and why?

  • Why do you think you might like to work for this organization?

  • Do you prefer working with others or by yourself?

  • What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held?

  • Describe a problem you have solved and the process you used.

  • What are your team-player qualities? Give examples.

  • Describe a leadership role you’ve held and the greatest challenge.

  • Which jobs have you enjoyed the most/least?

  • What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

  • Tell me about a project you initiated?

  • How do you solve conflicts?

  • What was the most useful criticism you ever received?

  • Are you willing to relocate?

  • What would like to be doing in five years?

  • How would your past supervisor(s) describe you?

  • Why should I hire you?

During the Interview

The person interviewing you expects YOU to demonstrate knowledge about your skills and experience as they relate to the job for which you are applying. Your enthusiasm and confidence when answering and asking questions will give you an advantage. Here are some additional pointers:

  • Be courteous to everyone you meet.

  • Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake. Look the interviewer directly in the eyes. Listen to what the interviewer is asking and answer intelligently.

  • Sit in a relaxed position but avoid slouching.

  • Speak clearly and loud enough to be understood. Stick to the point.

  • Focus on your strong points and use specific examples to explain how you possess the characteristics needed in the position.

  • Do not chew gum or other food items that could be distracting.

  • Ask questions if clarification or more information is needed.

  • Do not ask about salary unless the interviewer brings it up.

  • Thank the interviewer at the end and shake hands.

After the Interview

After your interview, you may get a letter or phone call asking for more information or another interview. You may receive an offer, a rejection, or you may not hear anything at all.

Even if you feel that the interview has gone well, following through may give you an advantage over someone else who also had a good interview. Immediately after the interview, write down some notes about how it went, areas for improvement and what the interviewer said about when a decision would be made.

Next, write a brief thank you letter to the interviewer expressing appreciation for his/her time and reaffirming your interest in the job. This will help the interviewer remember you and could make a difference in your chances of being hired.

Finally, if you haven’t heard from the organization by the time a decision was to be made, phone the interviewer. Reaffirm your interest, ask if you are still being considered and ask again when a decision will be made.

Practice Makes Perfect

Take the opportunity to practice your interviewing skills with a system called Interview Stream.  Go to and set up an account.  The site features interview tips as well as a method of conducting a mock interview.