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Thorough preparation

Research the position. Find out as much as you can about the organization, its mission, and its needs so you can demonstrate how your background meets those needs.

Know yourself. Be prepared to speak in-depth about your accomplishments, strengths, and weaknesses. How can you add value to the position?

Review the common interview questions. You can expect to be asked "Tell me about yourself." Ask yourself, "If I were hiring someone for this position, what would I want to know?" Then answer those questions. Be ready for tough ones. Think of the worst questions you could be asked about your experience and abilities, then prepare positive responses.

Prepare questions of your own. Interviewers are as interested in your questions as they are in your answers.

  • What are the responsibilities of the position?
  • What kind of projects would I be working on?
  • What are the greatest challenges of this job or position?
  • What qualifications are you looking for?
  • Practice. Practice with your family or in front of a mirror.

A good first impression

Be punctual. Do whatever it takes to arrive a few minutes early.

Dress appropriately. Your clothing should be appropriate for the position you're seeking.

Offer a firm handshake. Make eye contact when you shake hands and give the appearance of confidence as you enter.

Use positive body language. Send the right message by being confident.

During the interview

Ask questions. Try to have the interviewer describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so you can relate your background, skills, and accomplishments to the position.

Project enthusiasm and eye contact.

Listen carefully and ask questions to probe deeper into what the interviewer is telling you.

Use correct grammar and articulate speech. If this is a weak area for you, work on it in advance.

Avoid negativity. Don’t say negative things about previous jobs or employers. Emphasize the positive if asked.

Closing the interview

Clarify. Ask if you should clarify any points or information.

Say thanks. Always thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration.

Common interview questions

What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives? When and why did you establish these goals and how are you preparing yourself to achieve them?

What specific goals, other than those related to you occupation, have you established for yourself for the next 10 years?

What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now?

How do you plan to achieve your career goals?

What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?

What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

How would you describe yourself?

What motivates you to put forth your greatest efforts?

Why should I hire you?

What qualifications do you have that makes you think you will be successful in your career or in this position?

How do you determine or evaluate success?

What do you think it takes to be successful in an organization like ours?

In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our organization?

What qualities should a successful manager possess?

Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and those reporting to him or her.

What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?

Do you have plans for continued study? An advanced degree?

In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?

How do you work under pressure?

Why did you decide to seek a position with Department of the Navy?

What do you know about the Department of the Navy?

What two or three things are most important to you in your job?

What criteria are you using to evaluate the organization for which you hope to work?

Do you have a geographic preference? Why?

Will you relocate? Does relocation bother you?

Are you interested in travel?

Common questions for recent graduates

How would a friend or professor who knows you describe you?

Describe your most rewarding college experience.

If you were hiring a recent graduate for this position, what qualities would you look for?

How has your college experience prepared you for a business/technical career?

Why did you select your college or university?

What led you to choose your field of major study?

What college subjects did you like least? Why?

If you could do so, how would you plan your academic study differently? Why?

What changes would you make in your college or university? Why?

In what part-time or summer jobs have you been most interested? Why?

How would you describe the ideal job for you?

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