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The Interview

As you prepare for an interview, it is very reassuring to know that you've done all you can to be ready. This resource is a checklist that can help you prepare everything as you take that first step.


Prepare Your Narratives
  • Think of your past experiences as a student, paid employee, and volunteer.


  • Consider the impact you made in these positions. How do the accomplishments you achieved relate to the job for which you are applying? Rehearse ways you might tie these into answering questions.

  • Review these narratives before each interview you have.

Manage Your Salary Expectations
  • Research common salary ranges on sites like and, or talk with individuals in your desired area of work regarding what salary range to expect given your level of experience.

  • Be prepared to discuss your salary expectations; it could come up, even in your first interview.

Learn from the Past
  • Think about interview questions you've had in the past. What sorts of questions did you find difficult to answer? Spend some time thinking about how you might answer similar questions now.

  • If you've had any jobs in the past in which you did not get along well with a boss or supervisor, rehearse ways you may respond positively to questions about these experiences.

  • What do you feel like you have done well in past jobs or interviews? How can this help you to prepare for your next interview?


Confirm the Details
  • Confirm the date, time, location, and anticipated length of the interview.

  • Find out who will be interviewing you, and ask for names and titles, if possible.

Define the Environment
  • Environment can impact some of the characteristics of an interview. Knowing what to expect and how to adapt to each specific situation is important.


Make a Plan
  • Decide when you need to leave or set up your computer to be ready. Add 15 minutes extra to that time for a buffer, just in case of the unexpected.

  • Set reminders or alarms so that you have enough time to prepare and arrive at least ten minutes early.

Review Your Application

Read back over the application materials you submitted to refresh yourself with what your interviewers will be referencing.

Research the Organization
  • Read through the organization's website noting important characteristics such as their mission, vision, goals, recent accomplishments, etc. See more tips here.

  • Ask people in your network what they know about this organization.

  • Google the organization to see if there are any recent press releases or other information of similar interest.

Research Your Interviewers

Check the company's website or LinkedIn to learn a bit about those to be interviewing you. The goal here is to find general information, and potential ways you may relate.

Refresh Yourself on the Position Details

Read back over the job post and/or job description, mentally matching the job requirements with your experiences, skills, and accomplishments. 

Prepare Your Responses

Consider some common questions you may be asked, and how you plan to reply.

Prepare Your Questions
  • Write down three or four questions you want to ask about the job or organization.

  • Examples include:

  1. What goals do you hope will be met in filling this position?

  2. Could you describe a typical week for this position?

  3. What are some of the key challenges this position will face?

  4. How would you describe the staff culture?

  5. Recognizing this position will have many responsibilities, what is the top priority?


Be Prepared & Courteous
  • Bring a copy of your resume, a list of your questions, and your list of references.

  • Be intentionally courteous toward every person you meet, regardless of position. Seek to make a good impression across the board. Shake hands, and build rapport.

  • Thank your interviewer(s) for the opportunity.

Ask Questions

The only exception to this is if your interviewer tells you that they are out of time. If this is the case, ask if you may email your questions.

Find Out Next Steps

If the interviewer does not provide this information, ask. You want to have an idea before leaving the interview as to what is next in the process.


Follow Up

Say "thank you" by sending a note to each interviewer within 24 hours of your interview. Email is appropriate, but mailing a card with a professional design will stand out, and is likely worth the extra effort.