WHPDA Tips for Preparing for an Interview

When invited to an interview, you may want to write down the following important information:

  • Name of the person who contacted you
  • Title of the job for which you are being considered
  • Time and exact location/address to appear for the interview
  • Name of the person to whom you should report
  • How long the interview is scheduled to last
  • Telephone number to call if you will be delayed or need to cancel
  • Anything you have been asked to bring

If you need a reasonable accommodation at the interview, request it at the time you are invited to the interview.

Candidates may be asked to bring references interview. Candidates also may be administered an exercise in which a job-related skill is demonstrated (e.g., written or in-basket exercise, typing, proofreading, software proficiency, tool/equipment identification, mock presentation, etc.).

The more prepared you are for your interview, the more confident you will be during the interview. 

Therefore, to prepare for the interview:

  • Review your copies of the application materials you submitted, the job announcement, etc.
  • Research the organization to gain a general understanding of its mission, functions, services, etc. 
  • Think of questions you may be asked and develop responses. Research generic interview questions from web sites, books, and other sources, and develop responses to these as well.
  • Practice your responses and general interviewing skills with family, friends, and/or colleagues.

On the day of the interview:

  • Be well rested.  Consider having a meal close enough to your interview time to avoid being hungry at the interview. Being tired, hungry, or uncomfortable in other ways will interfere with your ability to concentrate at the interview.
  • Be well groomed and neat in appearance, and wear attire that is consistent with the work and environment of the position.
  • If you wear a uniform to work, change into attire that is appropriate for an interview. This will help you to make the best impression.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to the interview. Consider the distance from your home to the interview location, potential traffic, where you’ll park, and the time needed to walk from your vehicle to the interview site.
  • Arrive at the interview location according to the instructions you may have been given or at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time. Don’t forget to take with you whatever may have been requested (e.g., references, work samples, etc.).
  • Immediately prior to the interview, read any material you may have been given upon your arrival, and review once more your application materials and any other materials that may have been mailed to you or that you brought to the interview. Then try to relax.

When you are escorted into the interview room, go in with the knowledge that:

  • You belong at the interview and were invited because your education, training, and/or experience appears to be a good match for the job.
  • The panel wants everyone to interview well and will make a fair, objective recommendation to the hiring department.

During the interview:

  • Be prepared to discuss your education, training, and/or work experience, and how they relate to the job for which you are interviewing.  Don’t forget to mention certifications, licenses, organizations, etc., if applicable.
  • Listen carefully to the questions, and give balanced responses, i.e., not too little, not too much. If need be, take a moment to think before responding. If a question has multiple parts, be sure to address all parts.  Ask to have the question repeated if necessary.  For all questions, give concise, yet complete responses in a logical and organized manner.  When possible, give examples to support your responses. Avoid giving personal information (e.g., age, national origin, marital/parental status, religion, hobbies, etc.) that is irrelevant to the selection process.
  • Speak clearly and loud enough to be heard.  
  • Be sure to address all panel members and make eye contact with each of them.  
  • Be aware of your body language.  
  • Be confident and enthusiastic!
  • Don’t be modest, but don’t be arrogant either. Remember, you are trying to convince the panel that you are the best person for the job, so sell yourself accordingly.
  • Manage your time. Know what time your interview begins and what time it is scheduled to end, and know the number of questions to be asked and how much time you can afford to spend on each.
  • At the end of the interview, if you have questions and time permits, feel free to ask. 
  • You also are welcome to give a closing statement if time permits. Some candidates like to give closing statements because it gives them the opportunity to provide additional information, reiterate why they believe they should be selected, and convey excitement and enthusiasm for the job. Be sure to keep your closing statement brief, and don’t forget to specifically tell the panel that you want the job.

Finally, if you are unable to attend the interview:

If you are unable to attend your interview, contact the hiring department as far in advance of the interview as possible. Failure to do so may be viewed as unprofessional and cause hiring supervisors to limit their consideration of you for other positions.