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Westcliff University
Alumni Affairs & Career Services


How to Prepare for a Successful Interview

Being prepared for interviews will help you develop confidence to successfully share your achievements, skills, value, and share how you are a fit for your target job and/or company. Employers typically want to know three things: Can you do the job? Will you do the job? Will you fit in with the organization?

See below for 5 steps you can take to be ready for your next interview.

FIRST STEP: Get to Know Yourself – It is important that you understand who you are, what you have done or accomplished, work experiences you have had, and what you can offer.  It is crucial to know the answer to these questions since it pertains to the most common question asked in interviews which is, “Tell me about yourself” along with other interview questions. 

SECOND STEP: Do Company Research – Knowing the company background will help you develop better answers as to why you are good fit for that company.

THIRD STEP:  Review Job Specific Questions – Many questions that you will be asked are role and/or industry specific, and sometimes company specific. Do this research to better prepare yourself.

FOURTH STEP:  Schedule a Mock Interview with a Westcliff Career Services Advisor – We are here for you! We will do our best to personalize the mock interview based on your target role & company. Please note the 1-on-1 Mock Interview with the Career Services Department is by appointment only.

FIFTH STEP:  Final Reminders to note prior to your interview

  • Bring resume copies (3 copies minimum)
  • Review Glassdoor.com and Salary.com for information about compensation and salary/benefits negotiation assistance
  • Prepare your portfolio and references (this is optional, but impressive if you do bring)
  • Avoid smoking prior to your interview, eating strong odor foods (i.e. garlic, onion), and wearing strong perfume
  • DRESS in business professional attire (Avoid: casual wear, flowery or distracting “busy” designs, wrinkled, and/or untucked look)

Now it’s the big day! We suggest the following recommendations for the interview

  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early
  • Breathe slowly to remain calm and remember to practice confident body language  
  • Smile! Engage with any company staff members you meet and your interviewer (These individuals are your potential new colleagues). 
  • Be prepared to answer “Tell me about yourself?” – The #1 most asked question in interviews
  • Familiarize yourself with common behavioral questions for that job. Hiring managers want to learn about your work experiences, but they’re also looking for how those experiences will predict how you’ll behave in the future. Questions usually start with “ “Tell me about a time when you…”
  • Share stories through the S.T.A.R method (Also known as Situation, Task, Action, Result). Storytelling like this can take some practice, but we are here to help!

After the Interview

  • Send a “Thank You” e-mail within 24 Hours.
  • Continue applying & networking

Additional Helpful Resources:

Hudson’s 35 Ways to Master the Art of the Interview

Top Skills Employers Want From Employees

Questions an Employer Cannot Ask You