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During the Interview

boston college career center

An interview is an opportunity to sell yourself. Enter the interview with a clear idea of your key selling points and how to get those points across, no matter what questions your interviewer asks. Your attitude and your level of preparation have a significant impact on the success of the interview.

Know your audience

Prepare for your interview by doing careful research on the company that is interviewing you.

Be on time

Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview to make sure you get there on time and reduce your stress level.

Take a professional approach

Greet your interviewer by name, with a firm handshake and a smile. Unless your interviewer tells you otherwise, use your interviewer’s last name (“Mr. Smith” or “Ms. Johnson”). Also:

  • Wait for the interviewer to sit down or invite you to sit down before seating yourself.
  • Don’t chew gum.
  • Maintain good eye contact.

Show enthusiasm

Demonstrate your interest in the job and in the company. Enthusiasm works best when it is sincere and based on your deep interests.

Listen carefully

A failure to listen well during an interview signals that you might not listen well to your coworkers and managers. And don't be afraid of a little silence; it's better to take a moment to think about a question than to jump in with an answer that's off target.

Set yourself apart

A lot of candidates speak in the same general terms about their qualifications: “I’m a diligent worker, I’m a team player, I’m a quick learner.” Set yourself apart by describing, in detail, situations in which you demonstrated those qualities. See Questions to Expect & to Answer for more tips.

Engage your interviewer

Vary the tone and tempo of your voice, translate your nervous energy into enthusiasm, and maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Where appropriate, ask questions about the job and the interviewer. And try to match the interviewer's energy level.

Don’t badmouth your former employers

Find something positive to say about former supervisors. If you can’t find anything good to say, focus as much as possible on your successes in that job and not on the conflicts.

Close the interview on a positive note

Emphasize your continued interest in the position, ask when you can expect to hear from the company again, and thank the interviewer. Be sure you have the interviewer's business card.


Questions about interviews? Schedule an appointment with a career counselor, or stop by during drop-in hours.