Career Success Center : Interviewing 101

Interview Checklist

You must determine how your skills relate to the needs of the company and the requirements of the job. Do this by asking probing questions and analyzing the job description. By also understanding what skills, traits and education an employee would have, will help you anticipate what would be expected of you if hired.


  • Analyze the job description for a list of knowledge, skills, and abilities desired by the employer
  • Create a side-by-side visual of your knowledge, skills, and abilities and show how they relate to those the employer seeks
  • Always be able to explain any skills gap you may have and what you are, or have planned, to do to build those needed skills


Gathering information about a company and understanding yourself are keys to help you answer interview questions effectively.  Being prepared also alleviates stress and nervousness.  Here are the main things that you will need to understand before you walk into the interview:

  • Research the company
    • Visit the company’s website to learn what they are about and their mission statement.
    • Know what type of service they provide and who their competitors are.
    • Read press releases, look at their business information on LinkedIn, talk with your professors and do Google searches.
  • Research the position
    • Familiarize yourself with the position in which you applied.
    • Research what type of salary this position is pays.

Feeling in control is one way to keep your cool in stressful interviewing situations.  If you can anticipate uncomfortable situations, you can easily manage the stress they cause.  With a little research and preparation you can avoid any stress and less likely to sabotage yourself in the interview. 

Let’s face it, first impressions either MAKE or BREAK any meeting.  Be prepared and look professional and you have a better chance of making a good first impression and acing the interview.


  • Being late, even just a couple of minutes, is starting off on the wrong foot and you’re making the interviewer wonder if that’s the way you’ll treat clients, prospects, and fellow employees.
  • Make sure you have the right address and a reliable route to the interview.
  • Travel the route a day or two early so to anticipate any traffic snags.
  • Linger in your car or a coffee shop if you arrive more than 10 minutes early. By arriving too early, you risk creating an awkward moment.


  • Extra copies of your résumé
  • A notepad or professional binder, and a pen
  • A list of three to four references and information you will need to complete an application if asked


  • For both men and women, wear a two-piece suit in a conservative color (black, navy, gray or brown) with a dress shirt/blouse/tie that is a neutral shade and not too tight.
  • Do not wear anything you would wear to a club.
  • Wear clothes that are clean and pressed; without rips, stains, missing buttons, animal hair, or tags.
  • Several days prior to the interview, assure yourself that your suit and shoes are clean and ready.


  • Address the interviewer by name whenever possible. If they have a name such as Robert, for example, don’t assume it is ok to call them Bob.  
  • Your handshake should be firm and never limp.


  • Practice body-language before you arrive. Don’t slouch, wince, or mirror negative body-language.
  • Practice smiling in the mirror so you are sure you come across as genuine and honest.


  • Understand what their hiring process is and what will happen next.
  • Ask if it is ok to call within a certain timeframe. Do follow-up when you say you will.
  • If you are offered the position on the spot it is acceptable to ask for a day to think about it.
  • Make sure you get business cards of the people you spoke with so you can send a thank you email or a written letter within 24 hours.
  • In the thank you letter, reaffirm your interest in the position and retouch upon the reasons why you are the best candidate for the position.


  • Always call when you say you will. If you do not, they will assume you are not interested anymore.
  • If you call and they do not answer, leave a message with your phone number.
  • If you do not hear back, call again within two to three days. If they do not answer, again, leave a message and your phone number.
  • After the second message, if they do not respond, take that as a sign that you did not get the job.