The Key to Successful Interviewing

The Key to any Successful Interview is Being Prepared!
There is a great deal you can do to prepare for an interview. Your agenda is to be able to describe your abilities as they relate to the position, and to determine if the company or opportunity is indeed something that you would like to be involved with. Use the following guidelines to help you prepare for your interview:

Know yourself!

  • Know what you are marketing! The focus of the interview is on you, so be ready to articulate your interests, skills, and abilities. Be able to expand on any item on your resume.
  • Review the job description and create your own list of skills. You may find it helpful to conduct an informational interview with someone who is currently working at or who has knowledge of the position. Use Hartwick's alumni connections, this is a great resource for this type of information.
  • Once you have determined a list of appropriate skills, use your resume as a guide and check off things that you believe prepared you for the position. Employers like to see concrete examples that show transferable skills. You should be able to relay examples from your course work, extracurricular activities, and/or work experiences (paid or volunteer).
  • If possible, prepare a portfolio of your best projects. This is especially valuable for those seeking a career in the visual arts or a writing career; examples of work are often requested. Computer Science students also may find it helpful to prepare an online portfolio of programming projects which show a degree of proficiency with different languages. A word of caution though, use visual aids only as a supplement to your explanations, and only when it seems appropriate.

Know the Organization!

  • Your preparation shouldn't focus only on you; thoroughly research the organization. Be familiar with the company's history, products, geographic locations and plans for growth. Learn if the company is a parent company of any subsidiaries. Much of this information can be gleaned by reviewing recruitment literature or corporate literature such as annual reports. You can also research many company home pages on the Internet. If the information is not readily available, don't feel that you have to be a sleuth to obtain it. It is appropriate for you to call and ask for materials to be sent to you (e.g., brochures, job descriptions, and recruitment literature). Don't hesitate to call the company and request information. However, don't limit yourself to company glitter; go to your library and check other sources, periodicals, etc. Alumni networks can again play an important role, particularly if an alumna/us is working for the company.
  • Once your research is finished, draw up a list of four or five questions about the company or position that are not immediately addressed in the company's literature.

Practice!

  • The list of questions found on this site (Traditional Interview Questions) are frequently asked in an interview; review them and spend time thinking and even vocalizing your responses. Schedule a time with Career Services for a mock interview so that you can get an objective opinion on your performance.