Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I've Got An Interview!

I received my first request to interview for one of the graduate programs I applied to yesterday! Aside from being completely shocked by their super quick turnaround with my application, I was immediately hit with a wave of nerves.

You would think that as an aspiring HR professional I would be comfortable with interview situations, but interviews always make me nervous. I've had many phone interviews, a skype interview, in person one-on-one interviews, and group interviews; none of them have been particularly comfortable situations. Some have gone well, others I've left wishing I had said or explained something differently.

To turn this post in to more than just a rant about my current grad school progress; here are my top five interview tips.

1. Appearance- Before a word leaves your mouth you will be judged by whether or not your presentation is appropriate. Stand tall, give a firm handshake (weak handshakes are an EXTREME pet peeve of mine), smile, and make eye contact. All of these things, along with appropriate attire, will allow you to exude confidence.

2. Do your homework- Research the company/school/organization you are interviewing with prior to your interview. Be as knowledgable as you possibly can about the position and the company in general.

3. Have an answer for the very simple "Tell us a bit about yourself"- You will inevitably be asked some variation of this vague question towards the beginning of your interview. Don't get stuck on something simple like this. Have an idea of the most important things about yourself that you can easily articulate with out rambling. Make sure you throw in a few details that they would not already know by reading your resume.

4. Use specific examples when answering questions- When asked about your strengths, don't just say "I have strong communication skills." Instead, have a short anecdote in mind to demonstrate your communication skills. In preparation for an interview, I always make lists of different experiences I've had and think through concrete examples which demonstrate skills I could bring to a company.

5. Ask good questions- Every interview will end with time for the interviewee to ask questions; have questions prepared before you enter the interview. Nothing is worse than an interviewee who passes on the opportunity to learn more. It can make you seem uninterested. However, there is also such a thing as a bad question in an interview. Steer clear of questions that you could have easily found the answer to on your own pre-interview. Personally, I like to ask the interviewer about their experiences with a company. I find that it helps to make a more personal connection with the interviewer, plus everyone loves to talk about themselves.

I hope you guys found these tips helpful! If you have any tips of your own leave them below in the comments. Also, if you have been through an interview for grad school (especially if it was for a business school) I would love to talk to you about the experience. Leave a comment, tweet me, or email me at acanfield04@gmail.com.


  1. Good stuff. I used to coach students on interview skills during college and this is more or less what we talked about. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Good luck!

  2. These are fantastic tips. And GOOD LUCK! You'll rock it, girl! So happy for you.

  3. good luck! you got this!

  4. CONGRATS!!! Also I'm so impressed by your tips...I'm definitely going to use them at my next interview :)

  5. I am so excited for you!!!! Congratulations! You'll do an amazing job! Love those five tips by the way, they're so important!

  6. Great interview tips! Thanks for sharing :)


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