With application season underway, you’ll soon start preparing for interviews. Doing so requires work, but it doesn’t need to be daunting. While it never hurts to start early, with some concentrated effort, you can prepare yourself in a just a few days. Below are eight quick tips to help you out with interviewing.
1. Research the organization, role, and team.
Visit the company website, check their Wikipedia page, look up their employees on LinkedIn (especially if you know the specific team/group), and see what current and past employees say on Glassdoor. Pay specific attention to their mission, vision, and values. Prior research will give you a better sense of the type of people the company likes to hire, help you tailor your answers, and demonstrate your strong work ethic.
2. Anticipate questions.
You can find some common interview questions on the iSchool’s job interview page, or from a simple Google search.=
Alternatively, you can use the job description to develop some questions you think might be posed. If you had to narrow down the top two or three skills required for the job, what would those be? For example, maybe you’re looking at a business analyst role and there’s multiple mentions of “analyzing data to make decisions,” with specific reference to Excel and Tableau. It’d probably be safe to assume they’ll ask you about your experience on projects that mandated similar tools to analyze data.
Glassdoor also provides specific questions asked of people who interviewed at the company previously — it notes the position the person was applying for, as well. And if you personally know someone who pursued an opportunity at the same organization, ask about their experience.
Once you’ve thought of some questions you think are likely to come up, formulate possible answers. For a standard behavioral interview, we recommend answering questions with the STAR method. Practice by writing down your answers and rehearsing them to friends, family, and/or iSchool career advisers (who are both available for mock interviews by appointment!). Staff down in the main UW Career & Internship Center can also help you practice.
4. Develop questions of your own.
Coming prepared with questions offers a variety of benefits. Posing questions that reference your prior research (I understand this role is responsible for developing front end features for the application, but can you expand a bit more on…?) will again reflect your work ethic and that you understand the anticipated duties of the job. Additionally, questions that touch on issues that could impact your decision to take the job (culture, organizational structure, professional development opportunities, etc.) will demonstrate your genuine interest in the position.
For more information on this, check out our past blog post on interviewing your interviewer.
5. Bring copies of your resume.
Set it in front of you during the interview to help keep track of what experiences, accomplishments, and projects you’d like to bring up. It’s also not a bad idea to print a few extra copies in case an interviewer asks for one.
6. Bring a pen and notebook.
It can be helpful to jot down notes prior to the interview that you can then reference later on. That might include things like interviewers’ names and job titles, notes about the organization, and question you plan to ask at the end of the interview.
Some people also find it helpful to write down keywords from the questions they’re asked during the interview before providing a response. This shows the interviewer that you’re engaging thoughtfully, and can also serve to give you some extra time to gather your thoughts.
7. Give yourself time.
While preparing for an interview doesn’t need to be a challenge, it can be if you procrastinate. Interviews usually get scheduled within 10 business days of the request. Start preparing before you get called in to ensure you arrive with confidence.
Also be sure to give yourself plenty of time the day of. Navigating an unfamiliar commute, building, or city can take a surprising amount of time and add stress to the process.
8. Follow up.
Send a follow-up note (email or handwritten) within 48 hours of your interview. Include something specific you learned or are excited about, and reiterate some of your strengths for the position. For additional details and examples, check out this article.
If you haven’t heard back from the employer by the time promised, checking in is appropriate. It can be helpful to remind the interviewer of the position for which you interviewed and the date on which you did, and reiterate your interest. You are also okay to specifically request an update on the status the hiring process.
For additional advice, check out our Behavioral Interview Workshop recording and monitor the event pages for the iSchool and UW Career & Internship Center.
iSchool: More info and registration via iCareers
(Missed a workshop? You can always review our recorded sessions online.)
- 10/16: ISACA and Accenture present: Cybersecurity Case Studies; 4:45 – 6:30pm, Allen Auditorium
- 10/17: Microsoft iLounge Hangout; 9:00 – 11:00am, MGH 416
- 10/17: Avanade Information Session; 12:30 – 1:20pm, HUB 340
- 10/23: ISACA and West Monroe Partners present: Conversation with a Cybersecurity Advisory Consultant; 4:30 – 6:00pm, MGH 231
ISACA events not listed on main iSchool site but not iCareers.
UW Career & Internship Center
Registration deadline 10/21. Any questions can be directed to email@example.com.
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