Interviewing Strategies

Sign up for a mock-interview in the MCC Career Center

Learn the kind of questions you may be asked and develop the best answers. If your qualifications are weak in some areas, determine how to express them positively.

Be knowledgeable

Research the organization, look through the Employer files in the Career Library, scan through brochures, catalogs and articles, and check to see if the employer has a web page. Familiarize yourself with the organization and then incorporate this into your interview conversation.

Express qualifications

Know three good reasons why you are an outstanding candidate and subtly work them in to your responses.

Listen to the interviewer

Adjust to the interviewer's style and try to ascertain why particular questions are being asked. Respond completely to all aspects of a question.

Be aware of the conversation

While interviewers usually want more than a simple "yes" or "no" answer, you should also avoid speaking for lengthy periods of time. Make your answers accurate, brief and as interesting as you can.

Be positive

An optimist is more useful to an organization than someone who appears to be negative. An interview is not a forum to speak negatively about former employers or co-workers. If you can be enthusiastic about past experiences, you are likely to be positive about future employers. Point out why you like this organization.

Remember that people, not organizations, hire

Remember that people make hiring decisions and your goal is to make effective contact with the interviewer or search committee. An outcome is that he or she may end up liking what you had to say.

Ask questions

Asking questions shows that you are interested in the position and working for the organization. This is another way to demonstrate your knowledge and research of the organization. Attempt to defer questions regarding salary until the second interview or until you are offered the position.

Learn what happens next

Is your file complete? Is additional information needed? Are your references complete? What are the next stages in the employment process and when might they occur?

Express thanks

Thank the interviewer for his or her time and interest, just as you would thank anyone who spent time helping you. If appropriate, thank the receptionist/secretary or anyone who also helped you.

Adapted from VCU Career Center, 1/98