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Cornell University

Interview Preparation

The interview is the stage in the job-search process where hiring decisions are actually made. An employer chooses an interview style and format to test the job candidate’s skills, personal qualities, and fit for the job. Learn as much as you can about what you'll be dealing with for the interview. This includes the format of the interview (e.g., traditional, behavioral, case, stress, coding, etc.); and the mode in which it will be conducted (phone, virtual, face-to-face, panel, group, etc.). Preparing for the different formats and modes requires a good deal of advance work. Use the Career Guide, the Interviews Module in the Canvas Career Development Toolkit, and other resources to prepare. Note, too, that our Resources Library also contains some useful resources on interviewing techniques.

Interview Success

Your goal during interviews is to use the knowledge you have gained about yourself and the organization to convince the interviewer that your qualifications match the employer's needs. To do this, you must prepare, practice, perform, and follow up. 

Prepare. Research the position and the organization to identify connections between you and the position. Obtain a detailed job description, and be prepared to connect your past experiences to the new job's responsibilities during the inter­view. Create a list of questions to ask the interviewer, covering a broad range of topics of interest to you—business direction and goals, business philosophy and management style, competitive stance and market growth projections, and career paths/career enhancements.

Practice. Schedule a practice interview with a Career Services staff member.

Perform. Analyze your performance immediately after each interview, so that you learn something from your interview experiences, even that don't go as well as you had hoped. Meet with a career advisor to discuss difficult questions or issues about the interview.

Follow Up. After each interview, write a short and timely letter of appreciation to the interviewer. This will demonstrate professionalism and give you an opportunity to make another positive impression.