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College of Education and Human Development Internship
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College of Education and Human Development
104 Burton Hall
178 Pillsbury Dr. S.E
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Voice:  612-626-9252

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Interviewing

Prepare

Know the Employer

One of the biggest mistakes interviewers make is failing to research the employer. Comprehensive research on the employer is an essential step in preparing for an interview.

Know the position

Interview questions are many times developed around the skills and qualities listed in the job posting. By knowing the position you can anticipate potential interview questions.

  • Carefully review the job description and create a list of skills and qualities required.
  • Anticipate questions the interviewer may ask given the list of skills and qualities you created.
  • Talk to professionals in similar types of positions in different organizations.

Develop Your Interview Strategy

  • Create a list of your “rock star moments” – the times you did outstanding work in a paid, volunteer, or involvement experience. Be prepared to talk about the qualities and skills you showed during these moments.
  • Identify your top 3-5 skills and qualities for the position and consider how you will communicate these skills and qualities in the interview.
  • What are your transferable skills and how can you use them for this position?
  • What content (your field of study) knowledge do you have that relates to this position? Think about what you have learned from your coursework, internships, paid or volunteer experiences and use jargon and language associated with your field of study.
  • What makes you different or unique compared to other candidates with similar experiences?
  • Be prepared to clearly communicate why this specific position with this specific organization is a good fit for your career goals. Employers want to know why you are interested in working for their organization.

Prepare Questions for the Interviewer

  • Have at least 2-3 questions prepared. Avoid simple yes/no questions.
  • Demonstrate interest in the position you are interviewing for by asking questions.
  • Ask questions you really care about, demonstrate your knowledge, and show interest in the company/organization.
  • Don’t ask a question if it has already been answered – consider asking the interviewer(s) to elaborate.

Practice!

  • Prepare answers to interview questions focusing on your “rock star moments”, skills, and qualities.
  • Rehearse and practice potential interview questions out loud
  • Schedule a practice interview with a career counselor
  • Do an online practice interview with InterviewStream  

During the Interview

First impression

First impressions are very important during an interview. Consider the following to ensure you make a great first impression.

  • Arrive 10 minutes early, never arrive late.
  • Do a test run to the interview location prior to the actual interview.
  • Be kind and considerate to all staff you interact with including administrative assistants and receptionists.
  • Greet the interviewer with enthusiasm using appropriate eye contact and smile.
  • Show confidence by standing and shaking the interviewer’s hand. Use a medium to firm handshake.
  • Introduce yourself using both your first and last name.

Be professional

It is not only the content of your answers to interview questions, but how you present yourself during the interview that are critical.

  • Dress appropriately for the interview.
  • Be mindful of nonverbal communication and body language.
  • Avoid “ums” and “like”.
  • Don’t fidget with your hair, accessories, or pen.
  • Speak slowly and clearly. We speak more quickly when nervous.
  • Don’t’ ramble or tell your interviewer more than they need to know. Focus on answering the specific question.

Concluding the Interview

Have a prepared closing statement that reiterates your skills and qualifications along with your interest in the position for the end of the interview.

  • Thank the interviewer(s) for their time.
  • Ask for next steps and timeline for the hiring process.
  • Ask for the business cards of all interviewers.

Follow-up

Following-up after an interview is an excellent way to show you are on top of things and really interested in the position.

  • Send a thank you letter to everyone who interviewed you within 48 hours of the interview.
  • Respect the hiring timeline outlined during the interview. Don’t call too early or too often.
  • Call the employer in the appropriate timeframe to inquire about the status of the hiring process.


College of Education and Human Development | Student Services
|  612-625-3339
360 Education Sciences Building, 56 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455

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The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Revised April 23, 2012