Did you just get an email in your inbox inviting you to interview for that job or internship you applied for? Great! Scoring an interview is an accomplishment — someone singled you out in a pool of other applicants.

Take a minute.

Give yourself a pat on the back.

Now start preparing. Here’s how.


1. Schedule your interview

Usually someone will email you about finding a mutually convenient date and time to have your interview. Make sure you reply promptly and take the company’s lead on how formal your written response should be.

MPOWER Pro-tip 1

1. If someone addresses you with “Hi [ your name]!” and ends with “Thanks! [their first name],” it’s a sign that they are ok with casual communication. You may follow suit when replying.

Conversely, if someone addresses an email with a “Dear Ms./Mr. [your last name]” and ends with a “Best Regards, [their name],” this communication is formal in nature. Again, follow the company’s lead, and don’t reply with an informal tone.

Express your enthusiasm and try to be as flexible as possible when finding a convenient time. Once a time is decided, take the initiative to reconfirm your understanding of scheduling details, including location or dial-in number. You don’t want to realize half an hour before you’re supposed to meet someone that you don’t know what building their office is in or that they don’t know how to reach you on the phone.

2. Refresh your knowledge

Once you have a time for your interview, it’s time to prepare. You probably have a good idea about what the role you’re interviewing for entails and what that organization does.

However, refresh yourself on the job description. Be familiar with the organization’s website, mission, and type of work. Google the organization and see if it has been in the news recently. Give yourself enough time to review all of this information so you can digest it all and reflect. This way you’ll give yourself the space to think of questions you can ask the interviewer as well.

MPOWER Pro-tips 2, 3, & 4

2. Go over some common interview questions to prepare yourself, but remember not to sound like a robot with memorized responses. At the end of the day, an interview is just a conversation and you want to come across as likeable and competent.

3. Make sure you come up with thoughtful questions for the interviewer. You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. You want to make sure that they will be a good fit for what you are looking for as well.

4. Look up your interviewers on LinkedIn. This can give you a sense of who they are and where they came from, which could humanize them and make you less nervous.

3. Prepare for a phone interview

It’s not uncommon to have multiple interviews over the phone. Usually these calls last 20 to 30 minutes and are with one to two people.

Before your interview, have your resume and other application materials handy (either on your computer or on paper). This is important in case you need to reference something you mentioned in your application. Also make sure that you are in a quiet area with good reception and your phone is charged.

MPOWER Pro-tips 5 & 6

5. Smile while you’re speaking. Your interviewer will be able to hear your enthusiasm through your voice.

6. Be comfortable. Some people might find it easier to pace lightly around the room while they are speaking, while others might be more at ease in a comfy seat.

4. Prepare for an in-person interview

If you have an in-person interview, make sure you dress presentably and are well groomed. You wouldn’t want the way you look to distract the interviewer away from assessing you on your abilities. Make sure you arrive five to ten minutes before your scheduled interview time. That way, you’re not so early that you’re inconveniencing anyone, yet you’re still early enough to give yourself time to gather your thoughts and relax. Bring a printed copy of your resume and cover letter and remember the names of the people you are meeting with. Make eye contact and smile.

MPOWER Pro-tips 7 & 8

7. Confused about what you should wear? Read about how you should dress at your next interview.

8. Make sure you save any business cards that your interviewers give you. You’ll need their contact information when you thank them after your interview (see the next section for more information).

5. Follow up after your interview

Within 24 to 48 hours after your interview, make sure to email your interviewers, thanking them for their time and re-expressing your interest in the position. If there is anything you forgot to mention during your interview, you can use your thank you note as an opportunity to highlight it. You can also consider a handwritten thank you note, mailed to the interviewer’s office. In this digital age, sometimes a written note sets you apart.

MPOWER Pro-tip 9

9. Take a look at this article if you need some help writing a thank you letter.

Usually you will hear back from your potential employer within one to two weeks of the interview. If you haven’t, feel free to follow-up with one additional email. Sometimes that friendly persistence puts you ahead of your competition.

Did you land a great internship or job recently? Let us know. We’d love to hear about it.

© MPOWER Financing, Public Benefit Corporation

DISCLAIMER - Subject to credit approval, loans are made by Bank of Lake Mills. Bank of Lake Mills does not have an ownership interest in MPOWER Financing. Neither MPOWER Financing nor Bank of Lake Mills is affiliated with the school you attended or are attending. Bank of Lake Mills is Member FDIC. None of the information contained in this website constitutes a recommendation, solicitation or offer by MPOWER Financing or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or other assets or provide any investment advice or service.