Eight Tips for a Successful Job Interview

Career advice

Eight Tips for a Successful Job Interview

Do your research, arrive early, and be your authentic self

Let’s not sugarcoat things—interviews can be uncomfortable. Finding that perfect balance of showing off your skills while remaining true to yourself is a lot of pressure. Here are eight tips to make the experience successful for both you and your potential employer.

Create your elevator pitch

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Often the first prompt you’ll get at an interview is: “Walk me through your résumé” or “Tell me about yourself.” Make sure to dedicate some time to figuring out how you want to portray yourself in that first moment. Don’t just read your résumé—talk about the passions and motivations that drove you to do those things. After all, it’s always more fun talking about what you care about.

Develop your power stories

Everyone has a story to tell. An interview is your chance to tell the stories of your most valuable experiences that make you the best applicant for the job. Develop about four or five power stories with a centralized theme that explains the situation or task you were faced with and what you learned from the experience.

Be authentic

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Your interviewer is just another person who’s trying to get to know you. Treat the interview as such. Approach your interview as a conversation rather than an exam. Keep in mind that an interview is an opportunity for you to learn more about your fit in the organization and that if you need to be a fake version of yourself to fit the mold, you might not enjoy the actual work.

Be prepared with good questions

A great way to make the interview more conversational is to ask interesting questions. If you know your interviewer’s name beforehand, look them up on Google or LinkedIn and ask them about something you find interesting. People love talking about themselves. Asking questions is a great way to learn more details about the job you’re applying for or the organization’s culture.

Pro tip: ask questions that you can’t find the answers to on the internet.

Arrive early

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Keep in mind one of the oldest sayings: “To be early is to be on time, and to be on time is to be late, and to be late is unacceptable.” Landing an interview is hard enough, therefore, you don’t want tardiness to taint your potential employer’s impression of your work ethic and affect your ability to get the job. Being early allows you to go over your power stories, de-stress, and get a feel for the workplace.

Relax your body language

Before the interview starts, take a few deep breaths. Do a power stance. Or even listen to your favorite song. Do whatever you need to do to relax your body, as your body language helps communicate your strengths without any words being said.

Do your research

As Neil Armstrong said, “Research is creating new knowledge.” Doing research before a job interview gives you the advantage of gaining valuable information about the job, the workplace, the industry, etc. This allows you to better communicate how your skills and power stories align with the company’s goals. More important, the more you know, the more comfort and confidence you will feel going into the interview. 

Study your résumé

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Be ready to answer follow-up questions about every item on your résumé. If you aren’t sure you can justify the presence of a bullet point, don’t include it.

As corny as it sounds, be yourself! Your interviewer will understand that you might be a bit nervous, but just know that they were in your shoes not so long ago.

Never written a résumé? Need to punch up your cover letter? Unsure about your interview outfit? Check out the Center for Career Development for online resources, workshops, and more.

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Eight Tips for a Successful Job Interview

  • Jada Warmington (Questrom’23)

    Jada Warmington (Questrom’23) is a social media intern with BU Public Relations. She can be reached at jadawarm@bu.edu Profile

  • Justin Tang (Questrom’23)

    Justin Tang (Questrom’23) is a student at BU's Questrom School of Business. He can be reached at jqytang@bu.edu. Profile

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