Five tips and tricks to a successful interview

Recruiter Todd Gorman gives pointers on job interviews
Oracle Senior Technical Recruiter Todd Gorman gives pointers at the career center on how to be successful at a job interview. The Career Center has several services to help students find a job and prepare for a career.

The Career Center at Colorado State offers a variety of resources to assist students and alumni. Programs such as resume rush and mock interviews prepare students for upcoming job applications.

“Last year The Career Center saw 11,938 students and 382 of those were for practice/mock interviews,” Career Center liaison Kara Johnson said in an email to The Collegian.

The Career Center collaborates with the Career Management Center, a resource available to over 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Business.

Together, these on-campus resources provide students with tips and tricks on how to begin preparing for interviews early and answer question effectively so students stand out with an interviewer.


Be Prepared

Johnson recommended to do your homework. Ask yourself, “Why do I want this job” and explore the opportunities that would be available to you in the company.

Junior construction management major Silas Dwyer said that he was able to get a job by preparing for the interview beforehand.

“Studying the company is important – what they require, as well as qualifications,” Dwyer said.

Finding a company and position that fits is also key, according to Jenn Long, career adviser in the Career Management Center. To prepare for an interview, research the company, its mission and other facts to impress interviewers. You will be able to answer their question effectively and efficiently.

Practice, Practice, Practice

According to Long, there are five general questions interviewers ask:

  • Tell me about yourself…
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Why do you want this position/why are interested in the company?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

Long believes the first stop is to think like the recruiter and back to the job description. Practice your responses to these questions out loud. Know your key points for each question and practice speaking with poise and confidence.

Long suggests to “think thematically.” Where are you headed next? What steps do you hope to take in your career?

When you think strategically about this the responses will come from what you truly want. For questions that could be negative, “turn it into a positive” Dwyer said.

Give the interviewer an example of how you are already working on your weakness or something that is holding you back.

Dress Appropriately

Think about the job, position and environment.

“It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed,” Johnson said.

A corporate interview may consist of suit and tie attire, whereas a retail job may call for business casual. It is important to remember that you are presenting yourself, so dress one or two levels more professionally than what the job would entail.

Be Professional

“You should treat the entire day as an interview,” Johnson stated.

Maintaining this mentality will prepare you for the second you walk in the building until the second you leave.

Make sure you arrive early, usually 10 to 15 minutes early, but no more than 20 minutes. Plan for traffic, construction etc. Johnson said some people like to make the trip the day before so they know exactly where they are headed.

Sustaining a positive and enthusiastic mentality will improve non-verbal communication and send off optimistic vibes, according to Johnson.

Follow Up

“Follow up is the key to job search momentum,” according to Career Services.

To follow up after an interview, Johnson recommended sending a “thank you” note within 24 hours. A hand-delivered, sent, or email “thank you” is a polite gesture which shows employers that you’re interested, according to Johnson.

In the note, touch on things that stood out to you during the interview, thank them for taking the time to interview you, show emotion and reiterate your interest and enthusiasm for the position and company.

Of the three methods of delivery Johnson said handwritten is the best, “it sets you apart.”


Collegian Writer Megan Timlin can be reached at news@collegian.com.