How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Applied Academics
Ms. Dittmann
Spring 2014

There are different types of interviews.  

  • - Phone interview
  • - Face-to-face interview
  • - Panel interview

No matter what type of interview you have, preparing is crucial.

1. Research

2. Read the job description

3. Salary research

4. Practice

5. Professional dress and conduct

6. What to bring to the interview

7. How to follow up after an interview


Research what the company does, the size of the company, and any recent changes to the company.  Start on the company's website.  Search for recent news stories about the company.  Researching the company demonstrates your initiative and enthusiasm.

Review the Job Description

Read the job description several times, making sure to note how your experience and skills will meet the qualifications.  

Salary Research

You may be asked what salary you are seeking during the interview.  Never bring this question up unless it is asked of you.  To determine appropriate salary range, consider what you have earned in the past as well as the range typically paid to this type of position.  

These websites can help you find information about salaries: here and here.


Most interviews ask some form of the following questions.  Write down your answers to the questions and practice giving them.  Also answer these questions in regards to your professional life, not personal life.

How not to answer questions:

1. Tell me about yourself

2. Why should I hire you?

3. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

4. Tell me about a difficult decision you made.

5. What did you like most about your last job?

6. Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to accomplish it.

7. Describe a time when you encountered a work or school-related problem and how you solved it.

8. Tell me about a time when you worked as part of a team.

Also, prepare questions to ask the interviewer about the company.  


- What are some of the skills necessary for success in this job?

- What is the policy regarding additional training for employees?

- What kind of advancement opportunities are there?

Professional Dress and Conduct

Remember, the entire process can be considered part of the interview, from emails and phone calls to set the time, to shaking each person's hand and the actual interview itself.  

Dress professionally and conduct yourself professionally.  Be sure to keep cell phones silent and out of site.  Allow plenty of time to get to your interview early.  Be aware of your body language, posture and eye contact.  

Don't exaggerate your skills, but sell yourself.  Be honest and positive in what you say.

What to Bring

Bring copies of your resume and references as well as a notepad and pen.  If appropriate, bring samples of your work in a portfolio and a list of questions to ask. 

After the Interview

Be sure to thank the interviewer after the interview.  In addition, send a thank you note.  A handwritten note is most effective, though an email is also acceptable.  


"Job Hunting in Maine: Putting the Pieces Together." Career Center. Maine Department of Labor, Web. July 2013.