From an employer perspective, interviews are used to understand whether the candidate is the right fit for both a position and the organization. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), an interview, “enables the employer to determine if an applicant’s skills, experience, and personality meet the job’s requirements. It also helps the employer assess whether an applicant would likely fit in with the corporate culture.”

From a student perspective, an interview can be fun and exciting or it can be one of the most nerve-racking moments in the job search process. It is important to prepare well to ensure that you are putting your best image out there while interviewing. Here are a few tips you can use to ace your next interview.

Do your research

Research the organization, the position and your interviewer too! By having a good amount of knowledge about the organization as a whole, it will help ease your nerves and shows genuine interest in the position. If there’s something you find while researching that you want to know more about, be sure to ask about it during your interview.

Dunlap '17

Natassia Dunlap ’17,
American Family Insurance

Natassia Dunlap ’17 states why preparing for an interview is so important.

“Preparing for an interview helps you set out a game plan before you have your interview,” she said. “Learning when the company was founded, their core values, as well as the mission statement are key factors when preparing. Not only does it help you stand out, but it provides helpful insight on what the company stands for. Having this beneficial information assists you with the question of whether this is a company that aligns with your career goals and objectives.”

The day of the interview

In order to make sure that you’re ready to go the day of the interview, be well-rested by preparing a few things the night before. Pick out your outfit, print your résumé and eat a healthy breakfast. This will relieve some of your stress and allow you to focus mentally.

Redbird junior Sabrina Wulf shares her routine before an interview, “I grab a coffee so that I am energized and ready to go. I also listen to the podcast 7 Minute Job Interview to give me the last minute motivation I need to do well.” By having a set morning routine that is done on the day of interviews, it allows for consistency and helps to get your mindset in place.

Visit the Career Center

The Career Center has a number of tools available to help you prepare for an interview. Identify your interview style and get a perspective on how you interview by using InterviewStream, an online video interviewing tool. It provides over 7,000 common interview questions to choose from, practice answering and record to playback how you did afterward. This will help you to observe what improvements you can make to your interviewing technique. In addition, the Career Center has career advisors who are happy to help you review your video or provide a live mock interview and interview tips. Schedule a career advising appointment online using Hire-a-Redbird.

Other thoughts

Jia photo

Heather Jia, associate professor, management and quantitative methods

College of Business Associate Professor Heather Jia, Ph.D., states, “remember that the information provided on your résumé is what got you the interview. Your personality is what will determine if you get the job offer.” So let your personality shine through while speaking with the interviewer. This sets you apart and allows the company to see if you would be a good fit within the culture.

In addition, remember that you’re interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. Make sure you’re asking questions about the culture, opportunities and growth possibilities to see if they’re the right fit for you.

Keep all of this in mind next time you go to your big interview and you’re sure to rock it. Who knows, maybe you’ll go from fearing interviews to acing them every time!

Beth Hrymak is a senior marketing major and a Career Center career ambassador at Illinois State University. Connect with her on LinkedIn.