An interview is (should be!) a two-way exchange of information. The interviewer is interested in learning more about what you have to offer. The interviewee (you!) should be interested in learning more about the organization and the position for which you are interviewing.
If you are prepared to answer the following four questions, you should be able to ace any interview:
Why do you want the job?
You have to be able to explain and defend your reasoning for wanting the job for which you are interviewing. ”Needing a job” is not a sufficient response. You have to explain how you think this job fits you.
You are not the only candidate, so why should they select you over the others? Again, “needing a job” is not a sufficient response. You have to explain how your combination of experience, education, skills and qualities/characteristics match up with the experience, education, skills and qualities/characteristics they are seeking in candidates. You have to explain how you think you fit the job.
Why do you want to work for this organization?
You must demonstrate that you have done your homework. When you say – “I’d love to work for your company!” – you have to be able to back it up. What is it about the company that you find appealing/ You have to be able to explain how and why you think you will fit in their culture.
You must demonstrate that you have some knowledge about the profession/industry. They aren’t going to just take your word for it. Just as every company’s culture is unique, every industry and profession has its own unique features and characteristics; features and characteristics that – depending upon what you are seeking out of your career – can be viewed as advantages or disadvantages. You have to be able to explain that you understand and will be able to fit in their world.
One Caveat! Employers do not expect college students or recent graduates to be able to answer these four questions with the same depth and detail as would an experienced candidate. They are realistic, but you still need to be able to answer them based on your knowledge, experience and research.