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Interviewing 101

The tips below apply to both job interviews and information interviews. But, for more specific information on setting up and preparing for informational interviews click here.


How does the interview process normally work?

After submitting your resume it may take up to a month before an employer starts the interview process. After the first round of interviews (which could take a few weeks), you’ll most likely be called back for a second interview if they want to continue your candidacy for the position. After the second interview, and sometimes after the first, you may be asked for a writing sample or to complete a small project. You may also be called in to meet with another person or group of people depending on the level of the position. The interview process length varies and can take up to a month or two depending on the position.


What is the best way to prepare for an interview?

Our checklist below is a good roadmap to follow during the interview process.

Preparing for the interview:

  • Research! You’ll most likely want to spend a fair amount of time (sometimes 2-5 hours) researching for the interview. You’ll want to research the person(s) who will be interviewing you, what the organization does, the latest news surrounding the organization or field, and any relevant news articles from Google and other sources. You’ll want to research where the organization is and how to get there. Read the job description thoroughly and try to anticipate the questions the employer will ask you.

  • Practice! Practice your 60 second elevator pitch about your background and where you’re going.

  • Know why you’re there. They’ll likely ask you in the interview why you applied for the position. Be prepared to speak for a minute about why you applied and why you’re the best fit for this position. You can strike a strong tone in the beginning by coming across very solid with this piece.

  • Do a dry run. Not sure how long it will take you to get to the office? Do a dry run to know how you’ll get there.

  • Make a list of questions. It’s perfectly fine to go in with notes and questions you’d like to ask when the time comes around to asking questions. Make a list of 5 – 10 so that you’ll be sure to have a few to ask at the end as some will be answered during the interview.


During the interview:

  • Arrive on time. Enough said.

  • Dress to impress. A suit. Conservative on everything is best - shoes, jewelry, hair product.

  • Bring copies of your resume. You never know when they might ask if you brought a copy. Be prepared.

  • Listen & engage. Nodding, smiling, and affirming you understand what the interviewer is saying are important. It's fine to take notes.

  • Be conscious of body language. Sit up straight, look the interviewer in the eye. Shake hands when you meet and when you finish the interview.

  • Ask questions. When the time comes (probably towards the end of the interview) ask away! Employers want to know you’re engaged and interested.

  • Confidence! Interviews are only given to the top candidates for a position. You've come this far, so clearly they see something in you that they like.

  • Money. Salary and benefits are probably at the forefront of your mind. But you should not be the one to bring it up, especially in the first interview. Have an answer, in case you're asked, but be ready to discuss and negotiate during or after the second interview.


After the interview:

  • Send a thank you email and hand written note the day of. Even if you don’t want the job, you never know where the employer will be in 5 years - you may run into them and want a job from them then. Thank you’s are so important – don’t underestimate their power.

  • Follow up with your network. Do you really want this job? If so, have one of your references proactively reach out to them to put in a good word for you. Don’t feel bad about this – everyone does it.


Want more help? Check out our trainings in our Career Center