Interview Skills

What it is:

  • An interview is an opportunity to convince an employer that you have the skills, experience, knowledge, and qualities to do the job in question
  • Explain how you will help the organization and why you specifically want to work there
  • Find out if this organization or job is the right match for you

What an Employer Wants to Know:

  • “Why do you want to work for us?” (Why are you interested in us?)
  • “Why should we hire you?” (What can you do for us? What are your skills?)
  • “What are you like as a person?” (Personal qualities, strengths, weaknesses, cultural competency, motivation)

Prepare for the Interview:


  • Evaluate how your education, skills, experiences, strengths/weaknesses, and past successes/failures will meet the employer’s needs
  • Identify your top 5 skills for the job (What would your boss say are your strengths? What makes you different?)
  • Identify 5 different scenarios that demonstrate those skills (a class project, volunteering, student org, etc.)



  • Make an appointment with a Career Advisor from the Career and Professional Success team for a practice interview, or practice a video interview with InterviewStream, a free interview training service available to all UNH students 24/7!
  • Practice answering questions on your own, out loud
  • Ask a roommate, family member, or friend to perform a practice interview with you. Be sure to choose someone who will take on the interviewer role in a serious fashion

During the Interview:

  • Arrive 5-10 minutes early, have extra copies of your resume and your list of references
  • Make a good first impression
    • Turn off your cell phone
    • Smile, offer a firm handshake, make eye contact and introduce yourself using your first and last name
    • Establish yourself immediately as prepared and confident
  • Keep answers brief and to the point ― If in doubt, you can always ask, “Does that fully answer your question?”
  • If you lack experience in an area the interviewer asks about, say so, but go on to describe similar experiences or examples indicating your willingness and ability to learn new things
  • Never bad-mouth previous employers or co-workers
  • Your interviewer may ask if you have any final questions or comments ― Take that opportunity to ask thoughtful questions or make a final, compelling personal sales pitch. Express confidence in your ability to succeed at the job and your excitement about the opportunity
  • At the close of the interview, get the interviewer’s business card and offer another firm handshake ― Ask about the next steps in the interview process
  • Above all: show interest, be pleasant and enthusiastic

After the Interview:

  • Always send a thank-you note or email within 24 hours
  • Keep it short, thank them for their time, express interest in the position and company, and make or a remake a key point(s)
  • Proofread before sending