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Interview Preparation

Step 1 - Do Your Research
Know as much as you can about the company you are interviewing with. Go beyond the “basics” by researching:

  • future projects
  • trends
  • clients
  • mission
  • culture

Step 2 - Practice, Practice, Practice
Just because you are a “people person” doesn’t mean you’ll automatically ace the interview. Be familiar with talking about yourself, your goals, activities, projects, employment, etc., through a practice interview - an important step in preparing yourself for the real thing. You are encouraged to use InterviewStream, available in BentleyLink, to practice your interviewing online. Follow up by practicing out loud with a roommate or friend. Taking notes and thinking about your answers is great; but, you may find it differs from actually speaking your answers.  

Step 3 - Be on Time and be Polite
Better yet, be a few minutes early! Make sure you know where the interview is taking place in advance. Plan your route and  method of travel early and keep things like traffic and delays in mind. Remember that everyone you meet on the day of the interview -- from the secretary to the first year associate to the partner -- is involved in evaluating you, even if it is informally.

Step 4 - Dress and Act Appropriately
Wear a suit; first impressions last! Make sure you maintain a neat, clean, professional appearance. High profile industries, especially, will expect a polished presentation that includes a suit even though you’re still a student. Have a firm hand shake, and maintain eye contact and a straight posture and SMILE. Avoid perfume and cologne and wear simple jewelry. Keep a formal tone - address the interviewer as Mr. or Ms. unless directed otherwise. Avoid slang and overly familiar language. Avoid “filler language” such as “like” or “ummm.” Keep everything positive. Speak about yourself, even your weaknesses, in a positive light of growth and curiosity. SELL yourself and your skills!

Women: Dress for Success
Men: Dress for Success

Step 5 - Organize your Thoughts
Your answers should be concise but also complete. Make sure you begin with the answer to their question and then follow up with examples and additional information. The more you practice and become familiar with questions that could potentially be asked, the more comfortable and organized you will be.

Step 6 - Be Specific
This is one of the most important points. Don’t just tell an interviewer that you’re great – tell them WHY you are great for them! In other words, “sell, don’t tell.” Not only what did you do, but why is that significant? What are your top three strengths? How have you proven that throughout your college experience (an internship, project, activity, leadership position etc.)?  If you cannot back something up do not talk about it in an interview. These things are what make you memorable. Set yourself apart from the other candidates interviewing for the same position.

Step 7 - Make a Bridge Between you and the Employer
Again, this is one of the most important points. What are they looking for and how do YOU CONNECT with that? What types of things are mentioned in their job description? How do have you demonstrated those skills? Those are huge indicators in terms of the things you want to highlight in the interview.

Step 8 - Ask Questions
Prove that you have been thoughtful about the process of interviewing by asking questions that reflect your knowledge of the field and/or position. Do NOT ask questions that raise “red flags” such as salary, vacation etc. The company should bring up salary first. Also avoid questions that can be easily answered by the organization’s webpage.

Step 9 - Send a Thank You Note
Send either a typed or emailed thank you note to all individuals you interviewed with. Ask for business cards while at the interview. Whether you type and mail your thank you note or email it is up to you but sending it immediately is imperative. Mention something that struck you from the interview (i.e., that was particularly interesting or that you learned). Personalizing thank you notes goes a long way. Feel free to follow up with any questions or information you did not feel you answered sufficiently.

Step 10- Evaluate
Is this a place you think you would enjoy working? Do you feel comfortable in the environment? Remember, part of an interview is also deciding if this is the type of position you would accept.

Prove that you have been thoughtful about the process of interviewing by asking questions that reflect your knowledge of the field and position.