Main Content

Interview Preparation

Company Research

Before any interview it is crucial that you research the company. An interviewer will want to see that you have taken the initiative to learn more about the company’s product, mission, history and financials. Below is a list of suggestions on how to conduct your research.

  • Company’s website – By visiting their website, you can often access annual reports, press releases, the mission statement, and overall strategies they use to promote their products or services. While you are there, confirm the location of the office so that you can plan accordingly and allow for travel and preparation time before arriving for the actual interview.
  • Network – Talk with any contacts you have at the company and ask questions about the department you are interviewing with and the company itself. Join LinkedIn and connect with a professional network online. LinkedIn has a great advanced search option which lets you search by company to find people you may know who are affiliated with the organization.
  • Google – Use an Internet browser to search for any articles, blogs, Facebook pages or postings about the company.

Salary Research

It is important to know what salaries are common for positions in your career field. You will need to research to see how much people with similar experience and education in the same industry are earning. The goal is for you to have a salary range that you can use during negotiations. Below are a few resources.

  • Industry Associations – Visit the website or contact professional associations in your industry to see if they have any salary data they can share with you. For a directory of professional associations, visit www.weddles.com.
  • Salary Websites – There are a variety of websites that allow you to research salary ranges based on industry and experience. Visit the Know Your Worth section on our Career Tools section of our website you can visit.

Practice Interviews

The best way to get ready for an interview is to practice! We can help you fine-tune your skills.

  • Mock Interview with your Career Consultant – During a mock interview, a Consultant will interview you as if you were applying for an actual job, internship, or graduate school interview. Specific questions are asked that relate to your field. There is an option to have the interview videotaped, which will allow the advisor to review the interview with you and point out highlights and areas for improvement. If you bring your own CD, a copy can be made of the videotaped interview for your further evaluation later on. To schedule a mock interview, make an appointment with your Career Consultant.

What to Wear

It is very important that you dress professionally for the interview. Remember first impressions count and what you wear is a big part of that first impression. There are a few industries that do maintain a more business casual dress; however, you will never be penalized for wearing a suit to an interview. Remember to keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum, and be careful when putting on aftershave or perfume; you don’t want to overdo it.

Body Language

Your body language can say a lot about you during an interview. You do not want to unintentionally communicate negative messages during your interview. Remember that appropriate body language, can reinforce your statements and show confidence. Below are a few tips to consider before the interview.

  • Handshake – A handshake is more than just a greeting; it conveys a message about your personality and confidence. When you meet someone, always introduce yourself and extend your hand to shake. The handshake should be brief and to the point; do not hold on more than three to four seconds. The grip should be firm and friendly, not an example of your physical strength. Imagine you are opening a door handle and use the same level of grip in your handshake. Lastly, when shaking hands extend your entire hand; do not offer “lady fingers.” Women and men are equal. By not giving a full handshake, you could offend someone and leave a negative impression.
  • Choosing Your Seat – If you have a choice when sitting down for an interview, choose the seat that is directly across from the interviewer. Be sure to maintain good posture; and if your chair swivels, keep both feet on the floor so you won’t unconsciously move the chair from side to side.
  • Hands – In an interview, do not cross your arms across your chest because it can be interpreted as being negative or closed off. Instead, let your hands lie loosely on your lap or place your arms on the armrests.
  • Fidgeting – If you have any nervous habits like playing with a pen when talking or twirling your hair, work on these before the interview. Nervous habits can be very distracting to an interviewer. If this is an issue, you could cross your hands loosely in your lap or intertwine your fingers and place them in your lap to help control the habit. If fidgeting with jewelry or other accessories is a problem, be sure to leave rings and bracelets at home.
  • Facial Signals – You want to maintain eye contact with your interviewer without constantly staring. It is appropriate to look off very briefly now and then when contemplating or answering a question. Avoid frowning or pursed lips. When nodding your head in agreement, do so slowly. If you nod too quickly or excessively, the interviewer might take that as a sign of impatience and an over eagerness to add something to the conversation.
  • If possible, conduct an online practice interview or a mock interview through Career Services to see if you have any body language issues to correct. See the Practice Interviews section for more details on these options.

What to Bring

Before your interview, be sure to combine all your materials together in a padfolio. You can buy a professional padfolio anywhere office supplies are sold. Below is a list of items you should bring to any interview.

  • Résumé – Bring at least three copies of your résumé to an interview. You never know with whom you may be meeting, and you want to be prepared in case copies of your résumé have not been distributed before the interview.
  • Company Paperwork – Many organizations will send you paperwork to complete before the interview. If this is the case, be sure you fill the forms out completely and professionally.
  • Blank Paper and a Pen – The padfolio will come with a blank pad of paper. Go ahead and write down the name, address, and phone number of the people that you meet before you leave for the interview. You can also write down the list of questions that you want to ask at the end of the interview.
  • Sample Work – If you are in a career field where you can bring examples of your past work, do so. Interviewers will be impressed that you have brought samples, and they will get an understanding of the quality of your work. If your samples are large and you have many items, consider bringing them in a separate portfolio, which is a larger case that allows you to have examples in plastic sleeves. These can also be purchased at Office Supply stores. When preparing for the interview, make sure you practice incorporating your portfolio. You should be familiar with its layout, and use it to seamlessly support your strengths during the interview process.
  • Business Cards – Having business cards to distribute is very professional and can make you stand out from the rest of the candidates. If you are working at a company, you can use the business cards you have. If you are a student, you can order business cards through TCU Printing Services. Call Printing Services at 817-257-7838 for more information. Also always get the business card of each person you interview with. This will ensure you have their contact information to use in your follow up.