Career Development CenterCareer Development CenterDivision of Student AffairsUniversity of Cincinnati

Career Development Center

Interviewing Notes

This a great guide to the interview process!  How to prepare, how to respond to questions, how to follow up, and more.

I.  Interviewing

  • A time during which you relate to the employer something about yourself that will make him or her want to
    hire you.  In return you find out information that will allow you to determine whether you want the position.
  • Important to be able to articulate what you can do and what your skills are.
  • There are not set rules for interviewing, just principles.  Interviewers are human.  All react to situations
    differently and are impressed by different styles and types of people.  No set of rules is guaranteed to
    get you a job.


II.  Preparing for the Interview

  • Self-assessment.  Identify what you want to communicate.
  • What strengths, skills and accomplishments do you want to emphasize?
    What images do you want to convey?
  • List your qualifications under the following headings:
  • Relevant courses that you took.
  • Work experience and the skills that you acquired.
  • Extracurricular activities and positions of leadership.

Personal strengths.

  • These listings will provide you with a precise outline of what you must tell the interviewer about you.
  • Know what your personal strengths are.  Why does the employer need your expertise?  What contribution
    will you be able to make to the organization?
  • We tend to overlook qualities that are inherent, most basic.  Remember, the employer is usually not aware
    of these traits.  It is important to articulate and identify them.  If an employer said to you right now, "what are
    your greatest strengths?", could you answer without hesitating?

Research the Organization

  • Find out as much pertinent and useful information as you can about the company, product or service, structure,
    size, outlook, etc.
  • Find out as much about the position opening as possible, i.e. how the position fits into the whole structure of
    the company, desired qualifications, responsibilities, etc.  Research salary range for this position in case a
    related question would arise.


  • Guidelines to dress - dress as others do in the same occupation for which you are interviewing.
  • Women - wear a simply tailored suit or dress, be moderate in use of makeup and perfume, heave a neat hairdo,
    limit jewelry.
  • Men - wear a clean pressed, conservative suit with a non-flashy shirt and tie.  Wear plain socks and shined
    shoes.  Hair should be neat and trimmed.  Limit jewelry.


  • Arrive approximately 15 minutes early.  Allot time to arrive 30 minutes early if interview is a long distance away.
  • Bring resumes and examples of past performance (e.g. brochure of program that you have been responsible for, etc.)


III.  The Interview

  • Answering Questions
  • Before answering, determine what information the interviewer is trying to get.  Think before answering questions.
    If the questions is unclear, say so.
  • Your objective is to tell about your skills, abilities, strengths, and achievements in an effective way.  S.T.A.R.
    (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a tool to help you remember to communicate the entirety of your experiences.
  • The key to answering a question correctly is to relate work experience, educational training, and personal strengths
    to the particular job which you are applying.
  • Convey all positive qualities.  Try to anticipate any negative perceptions that the employer may address and
    determine how you will turn negatives into positives.
  • Throughout the interview stress what you can give to the job.
  • Be concise with your responses.  Support your ideas with examples.

Know the employer's name and use it.

  • Practice.  Ask a friend, spouse, or professional to help simulate an interview.  Avoid memorizing what you
    want to say.  When speaking, your words should flow naturally.

Always be truthful!

Relax!  Nervousness is natural but you shouldn't let it overtake you.

Don't be too humorous, too serious.  Play it by ear.

Asking Questions

  • Your questions affect the employer's perception of you.  Don't ask about salary, benefits, or hours.  Do ask
    about the company (those questions not answered by research) and advancement potential.
  • Ask questions that convey your strengths.  Your questions should convey a sense of organized thought and
    analytical skills.  (e.g. Will I be involved in decision-making activities?)
  • Have 3-5 questions written out that you want to ask.

Body Language

  • Messages are conveyed not only by what you say but how you say it.
  • Maintain good eye contact, but don't stare.
  • Smile.
  • Lean forward a bit.
  • Show enthusiasm.
  • Offer a firm handshake.
  • Effective Listening
  • Listen for ideas.
  • Avoid distractions.

IV.  Concluding the Interview

  • Confirm your interest in the job.
  • Ask if you may call to find out status.  Leaving the follow-up with you will give you the opportunity to call back
    to show your interest.


V.  After the Interview

  • It reminds the employer of your abilities and qualifications.
  • Such a gesture shows your interest, assertiveness and may distinguish you from others who did not follow
    up with a letter.
  • Schedule a time to evaluate your performance immediately after the interview.