Tips to nail a job interview

Students face many challenges in the transition between attending school to joining the workforce. One of those challenges is having success in job interviews.

The job market is very competitive right now, which means that the opportunity to stand out among other applicants often comes during the interview process. Duane Williams, a specialist at Washburn Career Services, said the best way to nail a job interview is to prepare ahead of time.

“Prior to the interview, make sure you are very familiar with the job description, what they are looking for and what your strengths are for that job,” said Williams.

Where people go wrong in interviews often occurs in the details. Abigail McCrory, freshman majoring in business, struggles with getting too caught up in the small things during her interviews.

“I tend to not want to come off as over-confident,” said McCrory. “Sometimes I underplay my best qualities instead of answering [the question] honestly.”

To ensure that you are not seen as overly confident while still demonstrating your worthiness, it’s recommended to provide information that backs up what you are saying. Williams explains this is where a lot of interviewees fall short of expectations.

“Give examples, that’s one of the things people don’t do enough of in an interview,” said Williams.

The Washburn Career Services website states the interview starts before you even begin conversation. What seem to be insignificant details can actually demonstrate professionalism and a strong desire for the job you’re interviewing for, which can give you a leg up over your competition. Interview etiquette includes being early for the interview, dressing professionally and carrying yourself with pride.

Katrina Hinojosa, freshman nursing major, believes that the best way to make a good first impression is to look professional and appropriate for the job.

“Wear attire similar to what an employee there would wear, so that they automatically associate you with their company,” said Hinojosa.

She added that although she is always good about looking put together, her biggest struggle with job interviews is not knowing how much she should say.

“I have trouble gauging when to start and stop talking,” said Hinojosa. “Sometimes I’ll give to short an answer or get stressed out and babble a little bit.”

The best tip for any interview is to be prepared, which includes knowing the job’s expectations. It is also important to know what you can offer the company. Answer practice questions and make sure to know your strengths and weaknesses prior to the interview. Some basic questions asked in interviews are: “How would you handle a stressful situation or an angry customer?”, “Tell us about yourself,” or, “Why do you want this job?”

Anxiety and stress both play big roles in bad job interviews. “To relieve stress, that’s probably the biggest thing a person can do, is know themselves and know the job,” said Williams. Thus, calming your nerves ahead of time is also crucial.

Walk into the interview prepared for questions they may ask, be passionate about the job and show them why they need you on their team. What makes YOU special and different from others? 

Washburn Career Services have two main focuses: career counseling and job search preparation and execution. To help with these, they host mock interviews and you can even set up an appointment with one of their career specialists for one-on-one attention.

For more job interview tips, ways to prepare for dreaded interview questions and more, go to the Career Services homepage on the Washburn University Website.

Career Services is located in Morgan 205 or visit their website at