Research. Research. Research.
It is critical to possess as much knowledge as possible about the employer and interviewer(s) prior to the interview itself. Employers consistently rank lack of knowledge of the organization as one of the primary reasons for not extending an offer. In short, you must start the interviewing process well before the actual interview.
Develop a Strategy
The underlying question in every interviewer's mind is "Why should our organization hire this person?" The specific experiences, credentials and/or achievements you will emphasize need to be fine-tuned depending on the employer and the position. Just as you must tailor a resume to a specific employer, it is critical to differentiate each interview and focus on the unique fit between your background and this employer.
Develop a List of Questions
Always prepare a list of questions relevant to the employer and the interviewer (if possible). Be careful not to ask questions that could easily have been found by looking on their Web site, reading their promotional material or from the media. This shows a gross lack of preparation. At the end of the interview, make sure to follow-up with any questions that have been left unanswered. Having additional questions is one way to demonstrate a genuine interest in the employer and the position, and employers attach more importance to your additional questions than you might think.
Confirm the time and location of your interview the day prior to the meeting.
- Arrive at least 15 minutes before the appointed meeting time. This allows you to take a moment to breathe and relax.
- Be sure to bring all documentation requested by the employer. At a minimum, bring clean and updated copies of your resume, transcript, references and writing sample.
Practice, practice, practice
InterviewStream, an online video-based interview system that allows Georgetown Law students to conduct virtual mock interviews from any computer that has a Webcam attached. Students may choose the type of employer with which they wish to interview (public interest, private sector, etc.) and the specific questions they wish to practice answering. As each question is asked, the student has a set amount of time to answer the question. The computer's Webcam records each answer and stores the recording online for review. This service essentially allows students to conduct mock interviews on demand.
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