Anatomy of an Interview

Most interviews consist of three parts:

  • Opening (5-10 minutes)
  • Information Exchange (questions and answers, 20 minutes)
  • Closing (2-3 minutes)


During the opening minutes try to "size up the employer" so you can tailor your performance to his/her style and expectations.  Observe the nonverbal habits.  The opening sets the stage of the exchange of information in the next few minutes.  The first impression is often critical.  You should make eye contact, smile and appear eager, and gave the interviewer a firm handshake.

Information Exchange

During the information exchange, be ready to answer questions about your education, work experience, related activities, your interest in the organization, and the type of work you are seeking, present and future goals.

The employer will be looking for answers that meet his/her self interest.  He/she will also be observing your personality, your communication skills, and your nonverbal signals.  During the information exchange, you should also ask any questions you have about the organization.  Try to ask questions that indicate you know something about the organization and want to work there.


This is a very important step in the interview.  This is the time for the interviewer to be sure that a climate of goodwill is established, especially for candidates who may not be selected.  Further steps in the interview process are outlined.  A check is made to be sure that the candidate has supplied required forms (transcripts, application forms, references, etc.). The interviewer needs to make a statement about any further action the organization will take and must make a statement about the time of notification of decisions. A cordial farewell is a must!


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