Interviewing Resources

Interviews are a way for organizations or graduate schools to learn about your qualifications and an opportunity for you to share your experiences, strengths, and why you would be a good fit for the position or program. Interviewing is not just your time in the interview, there are things that you need to do before and after to be successful.

Ask for help - at any stage, whether you are preparing for an interview and researching the company or you are needing help with following up after an interview. Career Development is here to help you! Call (507-933-7575) or stop in to schedule an appointment or drop in during the academic year to meet with a Peer Career Advisor.

Gustavus Resources

Interviewing Booklet

Phase One: Preparing for the Interview

It is expected to research the company before you go into the interview. Research is for your personal benefit and to aide you in the interview process. Interviewers commonly ask questions like “What do you know about our organization?” and “Why do you want to work here?” or “How does this program fit in your career goals?”

Research the organization’s website or for graduate school look at both the program and the larger school. Use Glassdoor and Hoonuit, provided by Gustavus Career Development, and your personal network to learn more about the organization and its culture. Connect with current graduate students or alumni of graduate programs, to find out more about the student experience. If the organization or program has an online social presence, make sure that you are following them through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

There are many ways that organizations structure interviews. It is good to know about the different types of interviews to be best prepared for meeting with prospective organizations, graduate and professional schools, and service programs. You may experience multiple rounds of interviews with different or similar structures for the same position.

Gustavus Resources

Interviewing Questions

Practice Interviewing

Big Interview Videos on preparing for interviews AND to record practice interviews. See Student Guide to learn more!

Phase Two: Making a Good Impression

What to Wear

What to Wear for an Interview


Interview Etiquette

  • Leave early for the interview. Be prepared for potential traffic and plan for parking. Wait to enter the interview location if you arrive more than 15 minutes early. Allow time to review your notes, practice what you plan to say and straighten your clothing or hair.
  • As interviewers introduce themselves, when possible write down names and titles or ask for business cards at the conclusion of the interview. This will make following up with thank you notes easier.
  • Focus not only on what you will say, but also be aware of your nonverbal communication. Pay attention to your posture. Be sure to make eye contact with those interviewing you. If you are not sure who to look at, make eye contact with the person asking you the question, trying to stay engaged with the rest of the group.
  • Show enthusiasm for the organization and the position. If your nervousness shows in your voice try to control your breathing and tone.

Prepare Your Own Questions

Even if you think the position is a perfect fit, you will want to ask questions to make sure that your perception of the position and organization match the reality. So, what should you ask? Prior to the interview conduct research. From this research you will have a basic understanding of the organization, so think about what else you would want to know.

Interviewing Booklet - Section Two

Phase Three: After the Interview

Always follow-up with a thank you message after an interview, networking meeting, or informational interview. Traditional guidance has been that thank you messages should be handwritten cards mailed within two days. While handwritten cards are nice, email is appropriate and preferred for quick timelines or for organizations that are high technology. Unless initiated by the other party, thank you messages are not appropriate via text or social media. If you are in an interview process with multiple rounds of interviews, thank you messages can be sent after each round, but will be different (e.g. a brief email thank you after a phone screen followed by a more detailed thank you after an in-person interview).

Interviewing Booklet - Section Four

Additional Resources


Big Interview

Updated JR 7/30/19