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Interview Strategies and Techniques

Preparation

Learn as much information about the agency as possible through their website before you interview. -Whether through email, phone, or an in-person contact, your interview begins during your first contact with the agency. Even if you are not speaking with the person who will be interviewing or hiring you, your conduct will be communicated to the employer. Be sure to contact your references prior to the interview/submission of your resume, so they know what you are applying for. It is useful to provide your references with:

  • The name of the agency and individual who will be contacting them
  • The job posting
  • Any skills, accomplishments, or experiences you would like them to highlight in their conversation with the employer

Review the list on our website that lists common questions that employers ask during interviews, and consider your responses to these questions. It can be helpful to even practice your responses to these questions. Be prepared to answer questions that ask you to give examples of times when you have demonstrated key skills pertinent to the position. Conceptualize how you hope the interviewer to view you.

Tips:

  • If asked a question you didn't prepare an answer for you can ask clarifying questions and think about the question before answering. Think of how you can use the question to demonstrate a certain skill or quality that you know to be a good fit for the position.
  • Remember to keep good posture and avoid nervous habits. Preparing beforehand by practicing these behaviors will help you execute this well in an interview.
  • Prepare a list of questions that you have for the employer about the agency and position.
  • Have a practice interview with a friend, but do not memorize your answers. Instead, come up with short bulleted lists about potential examples and strengths you want to highlight according to the questions you might be asked.
  • Always send a thank you note after the interview. The purpose of a post-interview thank you is to show appreciation for the opportunity to interview for the position, as well as remind the employer why you are a good candidate for the job. Email is fine but of time allows, a handwritten note stands out.

The University of Michigan Career Center offers students access to Big Interview. This tool is now available to all U-M students.

Big Interview is an online tool to help students prepare for interviews. There are three ways for students to get started:

  • Fast Track- Learn the basics of interviewing, how to prepare for common questions, and start practicing in this quick guide
  • Mastery Track- Get a comprehensive guide to all things interviewing or pick and choose which lessons you need
  • Launch right into practice- Get started quickly by jumping straight into practicing interview questions. Answer general questions or dive into interviews by industry, skillset, and more

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