Interviewing: At a Glance
You've applied for a few positions and now you have an interview. Prepare by reviewing your personal traits, details of the company and specifics of the job description.
Organize Your Thoughts
Preparation is vital to your success in an interview. Start preparing early by using the prompts below to make your thoughts and ideas cohesive.
Communication & Interpersonal Skills
Effective communication and interpersonal skills are important qualities in a candidate. Employers look for your ability to organize your thoughts and communicate effectively. Think about situations where you have:
- expressed ideas clearly (written and verbal)
- persuaded others through your ideas
- brought out the best efforts of individuals in your team
- handled conflict and stressful situations
Some employers feel GPA indicates a motivated and goal-oriented candidate. However, there's more to intelligence than just grades. Think about how you have:
- displayed an effective understanding of a task
- learned or developed a skill quickly
- contributed original ideas
Enthusiasm & Energy
Qualifications are important, but are you enthusiastic and excited about the position? Your enthusiasm, energy and knowledge about an opportunity or organization can impress an employer.
Employers value candidates that can expand and change along with their companies. Applicants receptive to new ideas and concepts are highly valued by employers. Think about how you have:
- adapted to new situations and ideas
- dealt with difficult problems
Leadership comes in many forms and is a valued quality. Employers look for leadership qualities for all positions. Think about how you have:
- been self-directed to start a project
- guided and directed others to complete objectives
- taken action to complete a goal
- recognized what needs to be done and how you completed it
Cover the Essentials
No matter the position you are interviewing for, you need to know a few essential items. You must impress the potential employer with your preparedness.
Common Interview Questions
You can prepare for about 80% of the questions you will be asked. Below are common interviewing questions:
- Tell me about yourself?
- What are your strengths / weaknesses?
- Tell me about a time where you had to work on a team? What was your contribution?
- What is the most difficult challenge you have faced?
- Can you describe a particular piece of your resume?
- How do you handle conflict and stressful situations?
- Why do you want to work for our organization?
- Why do you want this position?
Know About the Company & Industry
Visit the employer's website, review their products/services and review their industry. The Career Resource Center and the UF George Smathers Libraries have many great resources for you to fully prepare for your upcoming interview.
- Gator CareerLink
- University of Florida Libraries' Business Information Portal
- Researching employers & use Career Search
Carefully Review the Position Description
Also, doing so can provide you opportunities to ask insightful questions about the position. Gator CareerLink can provide you with many details about the position. Be sure to review the description listed on organization's site.
The Interview Day
For the day of your interview, be sure dress appropriately, be on time, communicate professionally, ask questions and follow up with a thank you note.
Knowing the details of the job posting and the employer's website is crucial. Arm yourself with knowledge about the organization, position and industry. Gator CareerLink and Career Search can provide you valuable information. The UF Library also has extensive online resources.
Attend any employer information sessions. Schedule a Mock Interview to help you become comfortable with the interviewing process.
Attire / Clothing
A professional appearance can help you make a good first impression. A dark suit (navy blue, black and dark grey) is best. Coordinates are also acceptable. Jeans, t-shirts and flip-flops are NEVER appropriate. Employers may request business casual attire (dress pants / khakis and button-down shirt / blouse). If you are unsure, you are better off better dressing more formally.
Don't be Late
Arrive 10-15 minutes before your interview time. Arriving this early will give you enough time to check the display in the CRC for location information. Sit outside the interview room and wait for the recruiter to call your name.
If you miss your appointment, you will be subject to "No Show" penalties. Review the cancellation policy to familiarize yourself with the interviewing responsibilities.
Respect is a key component in a successful interview. Use appropriate and professional language (avoid excessive "likes," "ums" and "you knows"). Foul language does not create a favorable impression. Remember to thank the recruiter at the end of the interview.
You should always prepare well-thought-out questions for the end of your interview. Asking questions shows your interest in the position and indicates you have done your research. Avoid asking questions can be answered by reviewing their website.
Send a thank-you card, letter or e-mail within 24 hours of your interview. Sending a follow-up message shows your gratitude and helps maintain a relationship with the recruiter. Stop by the CRC for advice on how to craft a thank-you letter.