Before the Interview

Prepare yourself physically and mentally. First, determine what you will wear and what your appearance will say about you. Second, research the organization, reflect on your accomplishments and qualities, and think about what makes you a great candidate for the position.

Physical Appearance

  • Dress appropriately, which means you should dress professionally in most cases. A business suit will be your best bet. Make sure it is tailored to fit. If you know that the interview will be a business casual occasion, then you may wear dress pants or a skirt with a blouse or a sweater set. Keep in mind that skirts should be no more than an inch or two above the knee.  Need something to wear?  Check out the CDC's Suit Yourself program!
  • Keep it simple! Stick with dark colors such as black, gray, dark brown and navy blue. Accessorize with plain jewelry if you wish, such as small earrings or a simple necklace. If you use make-up, do so conservatively.
  • Look clean and polished. Take care of all the details! You might want to trim your hair, clip your fingernails, polish your shoes, and iron your clothing. If you wear pantyhose, keep an extra pair in your purse or briefcase in case you get a run on your way to the interview!

Mental Preparation

  • Do more self-assessment. Why are you the best candidate for the job? What skills and qualities can you offer the organization? What experiences do you want to address in the interview?
  • Be prepared to qualify and quantify your accomplishments using specific examples. What have you accomplished? How did you do it? Who did it benefit? 
  • Know the organization and position for which you are interviewing. What skills are required? What technical competencies are required? What is the organization’s philosophy? How does your position tie into that mission? What is the corporate culture like? Does the organization own you 60+ hours per week? Can you live with that? What is the professional track? Where do you want to be in five years?
  • Familiarize yourself with current events. Be knowledgeable about the news, particularly about events associated with your intended field! Read the Wall Street Journal or New York Times for several weeks prior to the interview. Many interviewers throw in questions about a current financial question or a suit recently brought against the company. They may also ask if you have seen their new ad campaign. Pay special attention to the marketing pages of the above papers.