Interviewing Presentation

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” — Unknown

Presenting yourself professionally will come more naturally if you have done your due diligence to prepare for the interview. After you thoroughly research the employer, the role, and yourself, you will be ready to focus on your presentation skills. These skills are essential to demonstrate from the time you respond to an invitation for an interview to the time you send thank you notes to the interviewers. Aim to be your most genuine, positive, polite self. As much as you possibly can, try to view the interview process as a learning experience and enjoy it!


Know Pertinent Details in Advance of the Interview

What to Bring

  • Padfolio or simple folder with several copies of your resume, paper, and pen
  • Names and titles of those you will meet
  • Directions and phone numbers to call if you have an unforeseen transportation difficulty

Allow plenty of extra travel time so that you can arrive 15 minutes early, it is difficult to recover from being late. Communicate with the recruiting contact as soon as possible to alert the interviewer if you will not be on time. Interview formats may vary. Therefore, make sure you are clear on schedule, format, and logistics. It is acceptable to clarify the details with your contact in advance.  

What to Wear

Dress appropriately, and find ways to be true to your own style and culture. When in doubt, err on the formal side. You want to be remembered for what you say, not what you wear. Firms with a strong culture will tell you what to wear. Otherwise, here are some general suggestions on what to wear to an interview:

  • Dark suit, pants or skirt
  • Pressed and clean blouse
  • Closed-toe shoes
  • Minimal jewelry
  • Beware overdone makeup or perfume
  • Dress pants
  • Pressed and clean blouse or turtleneck
  • Blazer, jacket, or dressy cardigan

If you need a suit for an interview, the Career Education Suite Program is free and easy to use.

Reduce Stress

  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Speak positively to yourself as you head to the interview, and take a few deep breaths before entering the building. As much as you can, try to enjoy the conversation!   

Be Mindful of How You Present Yourself at the Interview

  • Treat everyone you meet with kindness and professionalism.
  • Smile and offer a firm handshake at the beginning and end.
  • Maintain eye contact most of the time and have good posture.
  • Eliminate filler words such as “like,” “you know,” “sort of,” “kind of,” and “um.”
  • Listen carefully to the questions, and be thoughtful with your answers. Be observant of group dynamics while you meet with staff. Enthusiasm is as important as having the skills to do the job. If you need a little time to think about what you will say, it is okay to indicate that.
  • Focus on making a case for a strong fit between you and the role/organization. Do not simply recite your accomplishments.
  • Have a written list of 10 questions you would like to ask the interviewer, but be mindful of time. You may not have sufficient time to ask all of your questions; therefore, prioritize asking your top questions if time is short. Be ready with a “closing” statement that reiterates your interest in case you are asked if you have anything else to add. You may bring up a some important information that you would like the interviewer to know or simply reiterate your growing interest in the role.

Following Up After the Interview

  • Record and reflect upon what you learned, impressions, concerns, information that resonated with you, interesting notes about your interviewer. This information will help you prepare for additional interviews.
  • Send a brief thank you email within 24-48 hours, usually later the same day. Express appreciation for the interviewer’s time, underscore your interest and enthusiasm, and reiterate any important points from the conversation.
  • Write a different thank you note to each interviewer if you met with different people. The exception would be if two people interviewed you together and one did all or most of the talking. Use your note to reaffirm your excitement about the position. Try to mention something unique about each conversation you had. You also could use your note to bring up something that didn’t come up but you would like the interviewer to know.

Think about what you did well and what you would like to improve. Each interview adds to your experience and enables you to be even more effective the next time! Consider each interview you have to be valuable experience. If you receive a job offer, great! If you do not, you may politely request feedback from your interviewer. Stay positive, stay professional: you never know when the person you met may have the occasion to recommend you or invite you in again.

If you have questions or concerns about norms of an interview process, discuss them with your ACE or an Industry Advisor.