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Nailing the Interview

There are many important areas of preparation to deal with prior to the interview. By thoroughly preparing, you increase your chances of making a positive first impression.

Research the Organization

It is annoying for an employer to talk with the candidate who doesn’t have any knowledge about the company. A favorite question asked is, “Why are you interested in our organization?” If you don’t know anything about the employer, you won’t be able to answer the question intelligently. 

Researching the organization also helps determine whether your goals will fit the promotional structures defined by that employer. For example, there are some employers who have a reputation for being conservative and if you cannot fit in with this type of work environment, you know that talking to the recruiter would be a waste of time.

Download a Guide to Researching Organizations >>

Dress for Success

Your main task is to choose clothing and accessories that will not take the interviewer’s attention from you and your qualifications. Stick to the accepted “corporate” standard interview to be safe. However, make sure the interview clothes you have chosen enable you to feel comfortable, confident and secure!

View our "Dress for Success" Guide >>

Know the Drill

The interviewing process can be scary if you don’t know what to expect. Most interviews tend to fit a general pattern and share three common characteristics: the beginning, middle and conclusion.

Learn more about what happens in a job interview >>


As with every skill you've ever learned, you have to learn the technique and then practice, practice, practice. A mock interview will not only help you perfect your technique, but it will also allow you to get valuable feedback and coaching on your performance.

View Procedures for Setting Up a Mock Interview

Evaluating Your Job Offer

Does the offer match your career goals: What is of value to you? What are your priorities? How well does the position fit your “wish list”? Below are factors you may want to consider in evaluating your offer.

Factors to Consider

  • Nature of work and organizational cultural
  • Stability of industry and level of autonomy
  • Amount of travel
  • Beginning salary and increments of raises and performance evaluations
  • Lifestyles of employees
  • Stability of organization and quality of higher management
  • Support for continuing education/advanced degree
  • Level of responsibility
  • Geographic location
  • Work hours and benefits and variety of work
  • Advancement, training and professional development opportunities
  • Transferability of skills/experience from job
  • Prestige of job or organization

Do you need additional information about the offer in order to make a decision? If so, stop and conduct additional research or ask additional questions to find the information. Call your key contact person from the interview and ask additional questions, or contact alum who works for the organization.

If you need a better understanding of the responsibilities and duties associated with the position, call the employer (if they are local) and ask if you can spend a few hours/day observing an entry-level employee in the position you’re considering.