The Purpose of an Interview

Goal of Candidate:

Gather information on position and employer.Evaluate position, job-setting, co-workers.Determine if position is suitable – “Do I want to work here?”Communicate information about yourself – convince employer to hire you because you are qualified for the position.

Goal of Interviewer:

Promote organization.Attract the best candidate, gather information, and assess candidate’s qualifications.Determine if the candidate fits the position.

Research the Position

Make sure you understand the details, requirements, and responsibilities of the job you are applying for. This information can be typically found by reviewing interview bulletins, recruiting information, and company literature. Additionally, conducting your own informational interviews can often provide valuable information. Finally, be able to relate your skills and qualifications to the stated job responsibilities.

Research the Organization

  • How long has it existed?

  • What is its mission?

  • What does it produce?

  • Who does it serve?

  • Size?

  • Location?

Visit the organization's website to help you research companies and organizations. In addition, expand your search by conducting informational interviews.

Prepare and Practice

Develop specific examples that highlight your skills. Make sure that you can answer each question honestly and sincerely without sounding like you prepared them. But remember, this is not an exhaustive list of possible interview questions, but rather some general samples to help you begin thinking about what may be asked during an interview.

Anticipate Difficult Questions

  • Can you explain your low grade point average?

  • Why did you change you major three times?

Do not try to avoid these questions, explain the situation honestly and in a positive manner. Try to turn a weakness into a strength, i.e., “Yes, my GPA is low, but this is because I worked thirty hours a week to put myself through school.”

Prepare Questions for Your Interviewer

  • What are the educational opportunities?

  • What training will I receive?

The end of the interview is usually reserved for your questions. Do not just ask generic questions, and do not ask questions that could easily be found in company literature. Ask questions that will help you determine if you are a good match for the position and organization, such as the questions above

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