Preparation is the most important part of your job or internship interview. Maximize your interview success with advance planning, self-assessment, and interview practice by incorporating these key steps into your preparation process.

Conducting thorough research on the organization and industry is vital to an effective interview. Employers view knowledge of their organization as a critical factor in applicant evaluation because it demonstrates the candidate’s interest, enthusiasm and seriousness about the position. Know the employer’s website thoroughly, but your research must go beyond this.  The Center for Career Development has developed the following “Interview Checklists” based on the type of employer with whom you are interviewing.  However, your research should not be limited to these questions; they are just a starting point.

For Profit

  • Organization Knowledge
    • Annual Report, especially the Letter to Shareholders
    • Company history
    • Company mission statement
    • Company leaders (CEO, etc.)
    • Organizational structure
    • Principle products/line of business
    • Primary locations
    • Stock price/trends; PE ratio
    • Annual revenue
    • Capitalization
  • Industry Knowledge
    • Industry background/general information
    • Competitors
    • Relative size in industry/market share
    • Industry trends and facts
    • Industry jargon
  • Current Events
    • New products/lines of business
    • Recent news articles about company



Nonprofit Organization

  • Organization Knowledge
    • Mission and services
    • Population(s) served
    • How the organization refers to its constituents—clients, guests, patrons, members
    • Executive Director, CEO or President of local, regional, national and/or international levels
    • Income and assets; sources of funding and percentage of each to overall funds
    • Local, regional, national and world aspects of the organization
    • Size of local and/or national organization
    • Volunteer structure and size
    • Board of Directors
    • Partnerships with community, other agencies and organizations, corporations
    • Initiatives, achievements, and impact measures from the Annual Report
  • Sector Knowledge
    • Current size, numbers served, number or employees within the nonprofit sector
    • Sector trends and current economic state
  • Current Events
    • Recent news articles about organization
    • Recent articles about topics of concern to the organization 

Government Agency

  • Organization Knowledge
    • Public service mission
    • Top position titles and names in agency
    • Level of government at which the agency functions (city, state, federal)
    • Branch of government
    • Size and jurisdiction of office with whom you are interviewing 
    • Recruiting terminology
    • Political appointments, elected, and hired positions within the agency
    • Partnerships with nonprofit organizations
    • Contracts and business relationships with for-profit organizations
    • Relationship of government agency with which you are interviewing to other departments or agencies; differences and similarities between focus of public services
  • Industry Knowledge
    • Sector trends and current economic state
  • Current Events
    • Recent news articles about agency
    • Recent articles about topics relevant to the agency’s focus and services

Where to Find This Information