Interview Tips: Prepare and Perform


  • Research the team, what they do, and the roles within their department.
  • Call you call anyone in the organization who may know about the team and the people in it?
    • Ask about key issues and trends.
  • Make a list of questions to ask, points to make, and STAR stories to share during your interview.
  • Work through the Practice Questions (see Practice Questions document) with a friend or co-worker.
  • Be sure you know the interview location, making a test run before hand to find it, if needed.
  • You want to look professional so the focus will be on what you have to say and not how you look:
    • Dress for success. Look your best, conservatively. Wear little or no jewelry, with the exception of a watch, wedding ring, and (for women) conservative earrings.
    • Do not wear cologne, perfume, or other scents.
    • If you need a haircut, get one.
    • Eat right and get plenty of rest the day before the interview.
  • Bring:
    • Writing pad and pen for note-taking.
    • Extra copies of your resume for each person you will meet.
    • Information about the job in a folder with the team or position name on the tab.
    • List of questions, points you want to make and STAR stories to tell.
    • Samples of work, if appropriate.


  • Arrive 5 minutes before the interview.
  • Be friendly to people who may not be interviewing you, but will be making observations.
  • Greet the interviewer with a warm smile and a firm handshake.
  • Look them in the eyes and tell them how glad you are to meet with them.
  • Effective communication is only 7% words. The other 93% is how you carry yourself. Sit up with interest. Stand straight, but not stiff. Walk with purpose. Smile with confidence. Look around with alertness.
  • How you say what you say is as important as the words you deliver. Speak clearly with enough volume to be heard. Vary your pitch and pace – slow down and emphasize important words and phrases. Talk with interest, enthusiasm and passion.
  • Look around the office for clues about the person, like photos, certificates, or awards.
  • Ask questions or comment on objects of mutual interest.
  • Listen closely to what is being said.
  • Observe the interviewer and match their style and pace.
  • Answer interviewer’s questions confidently and honestly. Look for opportunities to share relevant STAR stories.
  • Limit answers from 20 seconds to no more than 2 minutes; the interviewer will ask for more.
  • Feel free to pause to arrange your thoughts. If you do not understand a question, ask for clarification.
  • Don’t be cocky. Confidence is good. Overconfidence is not. Attitude is key to your success.
  • Always be positive in your answers. Never say anything negative.
  • As the interviewer describes the job, ask questions about the role and the work. Seek to understand what needs to be accomplished through the job. You might ask what they are looking for in the successful candidate.
  • When closing the interview, thank the interviewer.
  • Tell them you enjoyed the interview, learning about the position, and ask about next steps and timing.
  • Take notes.
  • Send a thank you note in the mail, as well as an email.
  • If you are interested in the position, say so. If not, do not.
  • Whatever the situation, do not burn bridges with anyone.

Sample Questions You Might Ask:

1. Why is this role currently vacant?

2. Why did you choose to work here, and what keeps you here?

3. “What can you tell me about the leadership style in this department?”

4. “What is a problem you face that I might help you solve?”

5. “How will you measure my success? What will have happened six months from now that will demonstrate that I have met your expectations?”

6. “Now that we’ve talked about my qualifications and the job, do you have any concerns about my being successful in this position?”​

7. “What is our next step?” ​

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