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Interviewing Preparation and Presentation

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Preparation: Interviewing is a skill and it takes time to build up your proficiency. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll be when it’s time to shine. Begin your preparation by focusing on these areas.

  • Research the organization and the role, reflect on their needs, how your background fits and what you can contribute to the organization and the position.
  • Reflect on your skills relevant to the role and prepare thoughtful answers and examples you can use to answer questions on your qualifications.
  • Practice general and behavioral interview questions.
  • Prepare and practice telling your story.
  • Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Prepare questions for the interviewer.

Tip: Use the mock interview tool in the Yale Career Link, powered by Symplicity to customize a practice interview.

Professional Presentation: Both your verbal and non-verbal messages matter to an interviewer. The tips below will help you make that positive first impression.

  • You only have one chance to make a first impression; make sure your attire sends the right message and is appropriate for the field in which you’re interviewing.
  • Turn your phone off before the interview.
  • Bring extra copies of your résumé, along with your questions for the interviewer(s), in a professional portfolio.
  • Practice your handshake to make sure you’re comfortable and confident when engaging in this common greeting.
  • Eye contact and posture play an important part in interviewing. Make sure you sit up straight, make regular eye contact with all interviewers, and avoiding wild gestures.
  • Avoid filler words such as “um,” “like,” and “you know” which take away from the confident, polished communication skills you’re trying to demonstrate.
  • Avoid chewing gum during an interview.

Follow-Up: Just as important as what you do during an interview is what you do afterwards. 

  • Send a thank you note to everyone you speak with during the process. Failure to do so indicates disinterest and may be viewed as a lack of professional courtesy.
  • At the end of the interview, ask about the hiring timeline and next steps.
  • After the interview, reflect on what went well, and on any questions you should practice more for the future.

Link: Online Interviewing Skills Workshops