Before the Interview

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Interviewing can seem like an overwhelming and daunting process. Don’t fret! The UVA Career Center offers a wide variety of resources, programs, and services to aid students in gaining confidence and building skills for job or internship interviews.

Career Center counselors are available to help you prepare for interviews. Call 434-924-8900 or come by the Career Center to schedule an appointment.


Thoroughly research the organization and industry to demonstrate your knowledge and interest, and to allow more time to discuss specifics of the position. For example, look at the organization’s webpage and printed literature. Check recent news headlines about the company. Review industry trade publications to learn more about recent trends, issues and news. If provided, familiarize yourself with the key information (name and role) on your interviewers via LinkedIn. You can also follow the company’s social media presence across different platforms. Demonstrating knowledge about the employer and industry is an excellent way to communicate your interest, which is almost as important as your ability to do the job. Lack of research is consistently cited by employers as a reason candidates do not advance in interviews, so make the time for it.

Know Yourself

  • Identify several key strengths, with examples from your past experience, to help the employer visualize you as a strong candidate. Ask about our self-assessment resources for help.
  • Evaluate problem areas in your record and be prepared to offer a strong explanation for these during the interview, if necessary. Do not volunteer negative information about yourself or a former employment situation and try to balance anything negative with a positive outcome.
  • Be aware of cultural differences in communicating, especially if you are looking for international jobs. See the book Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands, available in the UVA Career Center library.
  • Review the job description and take note of any specific skills, characteristics or experiences mentioned. Be prepared to discuss specific examples of your experiences that match those qualifications.
  • Consider taking one of the Career Center's Self-Assessments to gain insight on your interests skills and values.

Practice Your Interviewing Skills

Prepare yourself through:

  • Meet with a career counselor for a mock interview. 
  • Know exactly how to get to the organization and be prepared to arrive early and stay late. Aim to arrive at least 10 minutes early to the interview.
  • Dress to project the image of confidence, success, and respect; your total appearance should be appropriate to the job.
  • Prepare to bring additional materials to the interview such as copies of your resume, a list of references, samples of your work, or transcripts.
  • Plan ahead by thinking about what you want the employer to know about you. Prepare key points you want to communicate about yourself and how you plan to make them. This will help tremendously when you are asked open-ended questions such as, “Tell me about yourself,” or “What do you think makes you a strong candidate for our position?”
  • At the end of an interview, candidates are usually given time to ask their own questions. Formulate questions in advance to fall back on in case you do not think of any additional questions during the interview.  Not having questions to ask is also another consistently cited reason why candidates don’t advance in the interview process.

Mock Interviews

Mock interviews through the UVA Career Center are a great way to gain experience and confidence with interviewing, as they provide students the opportunity for a formal “dry-run” of an upcoming interview. By scheduling a mock interview, you provide your career counselor with information about you, your career field(s) of interest, and the specific company/organization and type of position for which you will be interviewing.

Please complete the following steps to set up your mock interview.  

  1. Research the Employer & What You Need to Communicate. Identify an employer and job of interest to you. For the purposes of your mock interview, the position may or may not be open currently, but you must find an actual job description.
  2. Log into Handshake and select "General Mock Interview" under the "UVA Career Center - General Appointments" menu. 
  3. Select your preferred time slot and counselor, and fill in the information requested. 
  4. Practice your interview skills with a UVA Career Center career counselor. Please dress as if this were a real interview. By doing this, you can become comfortable with being in an interview situation dressed in professional attire and the Career Center staff can provide feedback as to appropriate interview attire. If you do not have interview attire at this time, please dress in the most appropriate outfit you have available. 

PLEASE NOTE: If you are interested in a Pre-Health mock, you must follow these instructions. 

Next Step: Check out the Sample Interview Questions

More to Explore

Mock interviews are a great way to gain experience and confidence with interviewing, as they provide the opportunity for a formal “dry-run” of an upcoming interview.

Handshake: Select “General Mock Interview” under the “...

Networking is one of the most successful ways to develop your career path. 

Schedule an appointment through Handshake, or by calling the UVA Career Center at 434-924-8900 M-F from 8 am-5 pm.