Career advisor shares tips for successful job interviews


Krittika Grau, senior career advisor at the Career Exploration and Development Center

Seventy percent of college students are part of the workforce while enrolled at university, according to a study done by Georgetown University in 2015. However, when faced with a job interview, some students may find they do not know how to be successful. 

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” said Krittika Grau, senior career advisor at the Career Exploration and Development Center, quoting Benjamin Franklin to explain the importance of preparing for a job interview.

Grau said the most important job interview tip for applicants is to get the facts surrounding oneself and the job one is applying for. An applicant who knows their strengths and weaknesses, the mission of the company and how they would fit into that company will be more successful in their interviews. 

Grau also shared many tips on preparing for job interviews before, during and after they begin. 

Before an interview, Grau recommends an applicant be aware of the logistics of the interview. An applicant should know who they are being interviewed by, where they are being interviewed, when they are being interviewed and what documents are needed for the interview. 

The interview itself is about listening and having confidence, Grau said. Actively listening to the interviewer helps an applicant be more at ease and assures they answer every question that is asked of them. 

“You should think of [the interviewer] as peers who share similar interests, not in terms of this hierarchy where they have all the power and you are powerless,” she said. 

Following an interview, displaying gratitude to the interviewer is crucial. Grau recommended that an applicant send a hand-written ‘thank you’ note to stand out in their gratitude and keep themselves fresh in the employer’s mind. 

“You could be the best candidate. After the interview if you don’t say thank you, you could lose a job over it,” she said. 

Grau also highlighted the most common mistakes applicants make that cause them to lose out on job opportunities. A lack of knowledge about the company and position, a demonstrable lack of career goals, a lack of enthusiasm and a poor appearance are all common mistakes applicants make. 

Contrasting those, Grau cited the eight core career competencies found to be most valued by employers. The creation of these competencies resulted from research done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Among these competencies are critical thinking, professionalism and leadership. 

The Career Exploration and Development Center offers drop-in sessions where students can gain help with their resumes and cover letters. Students can also engage in mock interviews to practice their interviewing skills. 

“When you don’t prepare, you’re less likely to get that job, so really, if you want that position you want to be the best candidate for it,” Grau said. “And the best way to be the best candidate is to know what you’re getting into and how to sell yourself when you’re in that situation.”

Michael Reed is a general assignment reporter. Contact him at [email protected]