Lake Land College


The Interview- Career Services - Lake Land College, Mattoon Illinois

The Interview

How well you interview will determine if you get the job. It is essential to know yourself and how your personality, characteristics, qualities and experiences relate to the position you are applying for. Prepare diligently for the interview and know what kinds of questions will be asked of you – in addition to what question you intend to ask of the employer.

You need to do a certain amount of soul-searching in order to prepare for the interview. Think about and write out answers to the following questions, making sure to look at them from your unique perspective.

  • Which achievements did you enjoy most? Which are you proudest of? Be ready to tell the interviewer how these accomplishments relate to the position at hand.
  • What mistakes have you made? Why did they occur? How have you learned from them and what have you done to keep similar things from occurring again?
  • How well do you interact with authority figures – bosses, teachers, parents? How do you prefer to interact with peers and authority figures?
  • What are your favorite games and sports? Think about the way you play these games and what that says about you. Are you overly competitive? Do you give up too easily? Are you a good loser – or a bad winner? Do you rise to a challenge or back away from it?
  • What kinds of people are your friends? Do you associate only with people who are very similar to you? Do you enjoy differences in others – or merely tolerate them? What are some things that have caused you to end friendships? What does this say about you?
  • If you were to ask a group of friends and acquaintances to describe you, what adjectives would they use? List all of them, the good and the bad. Why would people describe you this way? Are there specific behaviors, skills, achievements or failures that seem to identify you in the eyes of others? What are they?

Now look at your answers and determine what will set you apart from other candidates. Relate those qualities and characteristics to the kinds of questions that will be asked in the interview. You can also use mistakes made in the past as examples of self-improvement if you have taken the initiative to improve in those areas.

The most important and useful thing you can do to prepare for an interview is practice. Take the time to do some soul-searching. Research common interview questions and practice answering them. It may even be useful to write out the answers and read them several times – including right before the interview. Practice in mock-interview situations. Practice with your friends and family. Practice, practice and then practice some more.

Finally, don’t forget to ask questions at your interview. Keep them relevant to the position and don’t ask about pay or benefits during the first interview. Books are available that can give you ideas about what is expected and how to hand the “Do you have any questions?” question.


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