Practice Makes Perfect

Research the Employer 

Prepare Questions  

What Employers Expect

Proper Attire and What to Bring

Follow Up

Practice Makes Perfect

This will be the best way to prepare you for interviewing.  Whether you are able to practice with a friend, roommate or alone, anything you can do to prepare yourself to speak clearly and concisely will help you prepare for this interview. We have a great tool that allows you to practice from the comfort of your dorm room or apartment. It's called Interview Stream. Sign up and start practicing today! 

Sample Interview Questions

1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

2. What are your greatest professional strengths?

3. What do you consider to be your weaknesses?

4. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you've faced at work, and how you dealt with it.

5. Why are you leaving your current job?

6. What type of work environment do you prefer?

7. What's a time you exercised leadership?

8. How would your boss and co-workers describe you?

9. How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?

10. What would your first 30, 60, or 90 days look like in this role?

11. Why should we hire you?

12. How has your education prepared you for your career?

See pages 41-42 in 

Research the Employer 

Researching an employer allows you to tailor your documents and showcase your knowledge in an interview. When it comes to researching an employer, it is important to know (1) what information to research, and (2) what sources should be used to conduct the research.

What to research?

  • History about the company
  • Organization mission, values, culture
  • Leadership and organizational structure 
  • Products and services - 
  • Current events or recent news - Is there growth occurring? Have there been recent acquisitions? 
  • Employees - How many are there? In what functional roles? How do they shape company culture and climate?

Where to research? 

The internet is your best friend when researching an employer. Use it often and look for local events and news about the organizations you are interested in. Conduct broad searches to see who and what is out there.  For example: “Companies in the tech industry in Washington, DC.”  You can also research who was voted "best place to work" in your ideal area

Once you have a list of who you are interested in, then start researching on the organization's website.  

Subscribe to a newspaper, most of them have online platforms too! The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times all have business sections that give you insight into the business world. 

Online journals can provide information from any industry from nonprofits  to investment banks. Use the Library's resources for free!

Professional Associations are a great way to network and meet people in  your desired industry.  Look into student discounts as many of the associations offer them.

Use social media like LinkedIn and Facebook.  Companies often post open positions, awards they have won and any industry news. Follow companies that you are interested in working for. They may have recruiting events that are open to people just like you.

Engage with organizations on campus! Your dream company may be coming to campus at one of our various events. Check the Center’s events calendar or any activity in Careers4Terps often and see if they are making their way to campus. 

Prepare Questions  

This is so important and cannot be stressed enough.  Ask strong follow up questions, this will not only show that you are interested in the organization it also shows that you are someone who thinks things through and likes to have all of the information.  This makes you a more attractive employee that they are likely to want to have on their team.

What Employers Expect

Employers expect you to be on time, prepared and ready for whatever is coming your way.  Leave your cell phone in the car or tucked deep down in your bag.  They expect you to make eye contact, shake hands and be confident.  They expect you to show them who you are, that is the purpose of the interview so don’t be afraid to show them who you are.  It may be the one thing that another candidate did not offer that you do.  Interviews are just as much personality and fit as they are skills and professional experience.

See page 40 in 

Proper Attire and What to Bring

No matter what you believe the environment to be at the company where you are interviewing, remember that you do not work there yet, so be as professional as possible.  Wear a nice suit or skirt and a blazer.  Wear neutral colors and lay off the perfumes/colognes.  Once you get the offer and it’s a casual environment you can toss the suit for the jeans, but until you are an employee remember to dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

  • Copies of your resume and cover letter

  • Copies of your references

  • Directions to the interview, interview schedule (if provided), parking information and names of people you are meeting with.

  • Business cards if you have them

  • Pen/notebook/interview prep materials

See pages 38-39 in 

Follow Up

Following up is crucial to making a good impression. Be sure to gather as much contact information when at the interview so you can reach out to your interviewers and say thanks. The easiest way to do this is to write a follow up email expressing your interest in the role, organization and why you make the best candidate for the job.  Outline things you discussed with that person and make it personalized.  What did you enjoy about the interview and organization?  Explain that to the person on the receiving end, it will show that you are detail oriented, took notes and listened.  You can always write a handwritten card, although this takes a few days.  Whatever your method, be clear and concise about why you are the best candidate for the position and why you want to work for the organization.

Sample follow up questions
  • What are some challenges you face at company x and how have you been able to overcome them?

  • What is the career path like for someone who is starting in an entry level role?

  • What is your favorite thing about working at company x?

  • What is a typical day like here?

  • What has been a project that you have worked on that you enjoyed the most?

  • What kind of professional development programs does company x offer?

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