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The Purpose of the Interview


A.  The Employer’s Purposes:  

Employers need to know three things about you: 

1.  Can you do the work?  Do you possess the skills and qualifications as reflected in your experience and education. 

2.  Will you do the work?  They need to know, based upon your interests and goals at this stage of your career, if you are motivated. .

3.  Will you fit in?  They want to determine if you are a good fit with co-workers and if your values are in line with the company’s culture and mission.  All other factors being equal, many hiring managers base their decisions on likeability and fit.  

B.  The Candidate’s Purpose:  As a candidate, you need to:

1.   Describe your skills and abilities to show that you can do the work.

2.   Describe your interests and goals at this stage of your career to demonstrate that you are motivated and will do the work.

3.   Learn as much as possible about the position and employer to determine if the job and the company’s culture are a good fit with your skills, values, interests, and goals.


You might be the most highly qualified candidate for a job, but you are not likely to be hired if you cannot articulate your qualifications and how your values, interests, and goals are in line with the priorities of the business.  A Self Assessment Summary Form may help you summarize your skills, values, interests, goals and experience.  Using the information you compile can help you create a “30-second commercial,” which is an integration of one’s skills, values, interests, and goals, with a summary of one’s career progression and strengths.  Click to see examples of commercials.  If you need help assessing these areas or drafting your commercial, feel free to call Counseling and Career Services at (443) 518-1340 to schedule an appointment with a career counselor.


Communicating your knowledge of the company’s line of business, history, financial status, competitors, mission, and values will set you apart from other candidates who do not take time to do any research before they are interviewed.  Knowing about the company will also help you determine if it is the type of place you want to work if you are offered a job.  Information can be obtained from the company’s web page, annual reports, The Encyclopedia of Associations, trade journals, chambers of commerce, current employees, and friends.  Numerous Internet sites also contain company information, including:                                           



If possible, obtain a copy of the job description before the interview so that you can anticipate the questions that might be asked and tailor your responses accordingly.  General information about job duties can be obtained from the Occupational Outlook Handbook (available online at and on O*NET at

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