Congratulations! You’ve put in the leg work that comes with applying for a new job and have landed an interview. Unfortunately, you aren’t off the hook yet. Now, you have to wow your potential employers.

Yeah, yeah, easier said than done – we know. But if you effectively prepare, you will be on your way to updating your LinkedIn profile with a new title. Here are Computer Systems Institute’s (CSI) top tips for acing your upcoming interview:

Do your Due Diligence

By the time your interview rolls around, you should be very familiar with the following:

  1. The role you’re interviewing for. Double and triple check the job description, and be prepared to explain how your education or past work experiences have given you the skills to complete the responsibilities listed. Don’t forget to think about the soft skills the company is looking for as well, such as teamwork, leadership, organization, etc.

  2. The company you’re interviewing at. Do. Your. Research. You should know as much as you can about the company before your interview, including its mission, values, history, and products/services. You can glean this information from the company’s website, social media channels, newsletters, recent news coverage, and even friends familiar with the business. This preparation will be a measure of how committed you are to landing the job, and your interviewers will most definitely take note.

  3. Who your interviewers are. If names are provided ahead of time, you should familiarize yourself with your interviewers. This allows you to get a sense of their current roles and experience, and will help you anticipate potential questions they might ask you. It also gives you an opportunity to formulate personalized questions for each interviewer.

Review Sample Interview Questions

While you won’t be able to accurately anticipate every question that comes your way during the interview, you can review and practice responding to commonly asked sample questions. Here are some of the most popular (a quick Google search will surface hundreds more):

  • What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your professional goals?
  • What is your greatest professional achievement?
  • How have you overcome a challenge in the workplace?
  • What is your ideal work environment?
  • What are your salary expectations?

We recommend holding mock interviews with friends, family, or a mentor, so you can get comfortable with your responses.

Practice Your Elevator Pitch

During an interview you can be sure the following request will come your way: “Tell me about yourself.” This is an invitation to share your elevator pitch. It should include who you are, what you do, and what you want to achieve – all in relation to the job you are interviewing for. When it comes to creating an effective elevator pitch CSI recommends:

  • Speaking slow, clear, and concise 
  • Using simple language
  • Exuding enthusiasm
  • Practicing!

Prepare your Documents

We don’t recommend arriving at your interview empty handed. Bring copies of your resume and your portfolio. As a CSI student, you should have many worthy work samples to choose from upon graduation.

If your interview is taking place via phone or video, you can skip this step.

Dress for Success!

You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, which is why it’s important to dress professionally. A button-down shirt, tie, and nice pants tend to be a safe bet for men. Women can choose from a nice dress, or blouse with a skirt or slacks. Regardless of the outfit you choose, ensure it is pressed and ready to impress.

Learn More

If you still have the pre-interview jitters, don’t hesitate to reach out to CSI’s Career Services team for assistance. We can help you with all of the above and more. Email and we’ll be in touch.