While the purpose of the resume is to get the interview, the purpose of the interview is to get the job. It may take more than one interview and those interviews may be conducted in various ways BUT you do not get the job without conveying clearly why the employer should hire you. There are some key things you need to do BEFORE the interview:

• Read and understand the job description or candidate profile
• Research the company/school in detail
• Predict questions you are likely to be asked
• Formulate the answers you want to give
• Go the extra mile in your preparation; be the best candidate no matter how many competitors you have

Preparation

Preparation is the absolute key. Organize your main ideas in advance. You need to identify the most compelling reasons and stories from your background that prove you are the best candidate and be able to relate them in a compelling way to the interviewer. Do not re-hash information in your resume-they already have that information. They know what you have done; now they want to know how you did it.

Focus on the Employer’s Needs

It is important that you focus on the relevant traits attributes, experience, and qualifications that relate to the position. Keep focused on what you can do for them rather than what they can do for you. Keep in mind the specific needs, interests, concerns, and culture of the interviewer, speaking his/her language. Be sure all your statements answer the underlying question: "Why should I hire or admit you? "

Telling relevant and targeted stories will increase your chances of getting picked. Don’t just say I can do it, show them that you have done it before.

To ensure your stories are concise and on-target, follow the STAR technique:

Situation (briefly frame the situation)
Task (tell the tasks involved)
Action (describe what actions you took to resolve the situational problem)
Result (tell the result or ultimate outcome)

Ex: The project was… some of the challenges I faced were…what I did was…the result was…

You are trying to get the interviewer to re-live situations and experiences with you. The more memorable the story, the more likely your story will have the desired effect.

Bring along a portfolio containing impressive examples of your work, letters of reference, and awards. Bring extra copies of your resume.

Prepare appropriate questions that reflect your professional attitude and motivation. Don't ask about salary and benefits until you have the offer.

Close the Deal

At the end of the interview, ask for the job/spot in the class. Indicate how your qualifications match the interviewer’s needs. Assert confidently that you can make a worthwhile contribution. Be sure to clarify next steps, timelines and process. Practice your closing statements in advance.

Examples include:

1. I believe my abilities in match where the company is going and am eager to be a part of the team.
2. Your emphasis on is very interesting and matches well with my ability to or my interest in. I want to be a part of a team such as this.

After the Interview

1. After you leave the interview, record the most relevant points, which will help in targeting the thank you letter to their needs and in future discussions.
2. Always send a follow-up letter or email afterwards as a way of thanking the employer. Be sure to re-iterate your interest and suitability in the job/spot in the class