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UMGC Career Connection

How To Ace Your Next Interview

Raelynn Grasso
By Raelynn Grasso

Some people may be able to go into an interview without preparation, but often times it’s a good idea to take a moment to prepare yourself. UMGC Career Services offers several online resources available 24/7 in CareerQuest to assist you with interview preparation. Specifically, Vmock’s tool - Elevator Pitch provides feedback on your interviewing skills based off your body language, gestures, enunciations, and content. Additionally, you can utilize Candid Career to watch videos that will assist you with Virtual, Phone, or In-person interview preparation along with assistance preparing answers to behavioral-type questions and standing out in an interview.

Interview Preparation

Research the company’s website and any press releases to stay current with the company’s initiatives.

Re-read the job description and make a list of 10 qualities that you possess that are related to the job description. Then write out your answer to the following questions: “Tell us a little about yourself” or “Why did you apply for this job?”

Key points to include in your response:

  • Education and why you specifically chose your major
  • Related and relevant work experience
  • Any certifications, if applicable
  • How hiring you will benefit the company

Once you write out your answer, practice speaking your answer out loud. This will help you increase your confidence and sound more natural when responding. Be prepared to address questions from any portion of your resume.

Day of the Interview

If your interview is being conducted in-person, be sure to allow yourself enough travel time to safely arrive at your destination. Do not be late, but it’s important to not be too early either. It is appropriate to enter the interview site no more than 10 minutes before your scheduled interview.

If your interview is scheduled on-line, double-check your technology’s audio and visual components, and create a professional background behind you (e.g., blank wall, non-cluttered space). Sit in your quiet interview space 10-15 minutes prior to the start of your interview. This allows you to calm yourself and focus on any notes that you made.

Regardless of the interview format, dress professionally from your head to your feet and turn off all ringers or alarms on your phone.

During the Interview

It’s important to be yourself during the interview. Don’t worry about what you think is the right answer, rather promote your skills and qualifications and how you can specifically benefit the company.

Keep a smile on your face and take your time when answering the questions – it’s okay to pause and think for just a moment. If necessary, ask them to repeat or clarify a question if you don’t understand what is being asked, this is better than assuming you think you know what they are asking and providing the wrong information.

At the End of the Interview

ALWAYS ask at least one follow-up question. They will invariably ask you if you have any questions for them about the job – here are some good questions to ask:

  • What would a normal day’s activities look like in this role?
  • What are/is your favorite part of this project or company?
  • What is the biggest need or challenge that you are currently facing?

As the interview is closing – thank them for their time with the interview process and let them know that you would love to join their team.

Raelynn F. Grasso is a Career Advising Specialist at the University of Maryland Global Campus. She has experience leading and providing individual, group, and career counseling, as well as executing and developing programs to enhance college student enrichment. Ms. Grasso’s area of research includes career decision-making, epistemic cognition, self-efficacy, and college student development. She holds a B.S., Psychology from the University of Utah, an M.S., Education Psychology, and a PhD in Educational Psychology, both from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.