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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 alignment with the job responsibilities and company culture. Learn as much as you can about an upcoming interview so you can feel confident and prepared. 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 Interviews Module in the Canvas Career Development Toolkit, and other resources to prepare.

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. Carefully review the 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—the company's goals for the future, your supervisor's management style, how they fare against competitors in the market, and opportunities for career growth.

Practice. Use the Interviewing module in the Career Development Toolkit for tips on how to prepare. You can practice on your own with online tools or simply recording yourself and watching it back. You can also schedule a practice interview with a Career Services staff member.

Reflect. Take time to think about your performance immediately after leaving each interview. This will help you learn from your interview experiences, even when they don't go as well as you had hoped, so that you can do better next time. If you're feeling unsure about how things went, meet with a career advisor to discuss difficult questions or issues about the interview.

Follow Up. After each interview, write a short and timely note of appreciation to the interviewer. This will demonstrate professionalism and give you an opportunity to make another positive impression. It is fine to do this via email, since sometimes decisions are made more quickly than postal mail can arrive.