Thomas Freeland, Ph.D.
Oral Communication Program
Center for Teaching and Learning
Do Your Homework!
— What are your interests and skills? What kind of work situation are you looking for?
— What job are you applying for? What organization are you hoping to join? What
industry or field?
— How do your interests and abilities match up with this position? What makes you
— Review any written materials you may have submitted before you go in for the
interview. Until they meet you, this is their main source of information about you.
First Impressions: Get It Right, Right Off the Bat.
— Your interview starts before you arrive: in arranging your appointment, sending your
resumé and so on, you want every contact to count. Leave nothing to chance: check
for typos, return calls promptly, etc.
— Get there 10-15 minutes early. Catch your breath, be ready to start a little early, if
necessary. Make an impression of energy and punctuality (and therefore of
— Appropriate dress, neat appearance; eye contact, firm handshake, appropriate body
language (relaxed but not sloppy; expressive but not frantic).
Dealing with Likely Types of Questions:
— STAR: organize your thoughts. Tell compact, on-target stories. Know when you are
S — situation
T — task
A — action
R — result
— Make a mental list of items, experiences and accomplishments you would like to be
able to talk about, and look for opportunities to work these things into your answers.
— Don’t make the interviewer work to drag things out of you, but don’t ramble on and
— Get a feel for the interviewer’s style: if s/he interrupts you a lot, try to front-load your
— Know what point you want to make in a given answer, and get to it efficiently.
— “Tell me about yourself.” Not a request for your life-story, nor an invitation