General Interview Tips

Before the Interview

  • Learn as much as possible about the Institution / department / office for which you are interviewing. If you know the names of individuals who will conduct the interview, find out as much as possible about their positions, research interests, etc. Often the campus website is a great place to start as it can give a broad overview of the institution and an idea of the campus culture. Another way to become familiarized with the institution is to talk to family and friends who attended the institution. This connection can be helpful to understand the campus climate and what advising style(s) the institution uses.
  • Give some thought to possible questions you may be asked and consider what your answers might be. Review those suggested on by NACADA on this webpage. There are also many websites available that offer sample interview questions, such as this one offered by Alison Doyle
  • If possible, have a practice interview.  Many campuses have resources to allow students to have mock interviews.
  • Write out a list of any questions about the position and its requirements that you want to be sure to have answered during the interview process.
  • Make sure you know where the interview will be conducted and give yourself plenty of time to be certain you will arrive on time.
  • Know how to get to the interview. Have a planned route that will ensure you arrive about 10 minutes early.
  • Knowing that you have done everything possible to prepare will boost your confidence!

How to Dress for an Interview

  • Remember that a first impression is a lasting impression!  Find out as much as possible about the culture of the environment you hope to join and select your attire with that culture in mind.
  • A general rule is to always dress at least a bit more formally for the interview than you would expect to dress when working on the job.  If you are unsure, it is usually better to be overdressed than under dressed; stay on the conservative side.  Very tight or revealing clothing is never appropriate for an interview.
  • A business suit is generally the best choice, but there may be situations in which a slightly less formal option is appropriate.
  • In most situations, it is best to avoid bulky jewelry, heavy makeup, heavy aftershave or perfume. Covering piercings and tattoos, if possible, may be the wisest choice. 

During the Interview

  • Be enthusiastic!
  • Keep good eye contact.
  • Keep initial responses short, but be able to provide more detail when prompted.
  • LISTEN. If you are not certain you understand a question, ask that it be restated.
  • Give specific examples.
  • Relate experiences back to previous positions, jobs that you highlighted in your cover letter.
  • Ask questions at the end of the interview.
  • Make sure to thank the interviewer(s) for their time.
  • Ask how to expect contact on the position.

After the Interview

  • Follow up after the interview with a thank you letter. There are many websites available that offer sample letters, such as these offered by Alison Doyle.
  • Watch for information in your email, phone, or mail depending on how they say they will contact you.
  • Be prepared for a follow up interview if necessary.