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SFU Co-op Student

Two men judging the camera
Office Space (1999)
Entering an interview with prior knowledge about the organization and their efforts shows that you are truly interested in the job. What kind of projects has the organization done in the past, and what are they working on right now?

Interviews can be stressful; with one or more people staring at you from across the table and observing your every word and action, it’s hard not to get a bit nervous. However there are some steps that you can take to minimize this anxiety. Hopefully the following tips will help to prepare you so that your mind will be more at ease during your next interview.

two men prepare to interview someone

1. Do not underestimate the importance of a first impression

According to some statistics, up to 33% of managers know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether or not they will hire someone.

 Beyonce struts her stuff

When you are first meeting a hiring manager, some tips to remember are to greet them in a pleasant manner. This might include a handshake and definitely includes being grateful, practicing good posture, and avoiding filler words. Make sure to carefully consider your choice of wardrobe before an interview, because this can also be a contributing factor. Be sure to leave the jeans and mini-skirts at home. Think like a business casual Beyoncé.

2. Be aware of your body language 

Body language is also an important factor in interviews. The biggest non-verbal mistake that people make is avoiding eye contact. This may lead the interviewer to think that you are timid or unconfident in your own abilities.


 Harvey refuses to answer a question

3. Do your best to answer every question

Stumped by a question from the interviewer? There are a few ways you can proceed: 

  1. Stay calm and take your time to carefully think about the question 

  2. Ask the interviewer to rephrase the question 

If you are still unable to answer the question, ask the interviewer if you can come back to that question later in the interview. 

Little girl is confused

If the interviewer asks a behavioral question about how you exhibited a specific quality in your past experience, and you are unable to think of an example (either with work/ volunteer / school), then answer with how you would have handled the situation or challenge if it were presented to you today.


Buddy the Elf says "You live on a throne of lies"

4. Never Lie

You might have the urge to exaggerate or even fabricate previous work, volunteer or school experience so that you are perceived as the most qualified candidate for the position. Avoid lying at all costs, for it can harm your reputation and your chances of success within an entire industry.


Winnie the Pooh thinks

5. Anticipate questions & come prepared

The best thing to alleviate stress about going to an interview is to come prepared with a variety of situations that illustrate your skill set. Job search expert Allison Doyle recommends creating a list beforehand of 7-10 assets that make you a strong candidate for the position you desire. Come up with a story that demonstrates how each asset  has enabled you to be successful in the past.


"This is brand new information"

6. Do your research

Entering an interview with prior knowledge about the organization and their efforts shows that you are truly interested in the job. What kind of projects has the organization done in the past, and what are they working on right now? These are some questions that you might want to know the answer to ahead of time.

Before going to interview there are a few ways you can research an organization:

  1. Look closely through their official Website.

  2. Check out their Social Media Accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr…).

  3. Conduct an Information Interview to learn more about their organization’s culture & philosophy.

Jennifer Lawrence says "Come on, ask questions. This is so awkward."

7. Ask questions

When the hiring manager asks “do you have any questions for us?” at the end of an interview, you will want to respond with “yes”. Preparing questions shows that you are interested in the organization. If possible, think of some questions to ask in advance so that you are not scrambling to come up with something on the spot.

 A man dances in an elevator

The interview is now complete! It’s time for some elevator victory dancing.

Katniss Everdeen says "Thanks for your consideration"

8. Follow up

You can show gratitude towards the employer and excitement toward the job opportunity by sending a follow up email or thank you note.

Hopefully these strategies have helped to shed some light on the secrets to successful interviews. Now that you are equipped with the proper interview knowledge and confidence, it is time to go out and apply for that dream job!

SFU Co-op Student
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Jan 23, 2015

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