Cornell University

Interview Practice

Analyze and Improve Your Communication Skills

  • Use proper language, grammar, and diction. Avoid pauses using “um” and “uh,” and filler words such as “you know,” “like,” or “okay.”
  • Eliminate nervous mannerisms.
  • Be aware of what your posture, gestures, and facial expressions are communicating. For example, poor posture may be viewed as lack of self-confidence.

Become Comfortable Talking About Yourself

  • Familiarize yourself with the types of questions inter­viewers ask and practice well-thought-out answers in front of a mirror, with a friend, or using a tape recorder.
  •  Rehearse responses, but don’t memorize them.
  • Develop your ability to speak confidently about your strengths.
  • Be prepared to acknowledge your weaknesses, but don’t dwell on them. Try to focus your weak­nesses on job inexperience rather than on personal limitations. Explain what actions you are taking to correct the weaknesses.
  • Schedule a practice interview with a career advisor. Simulating the interview can help you develop responses to questions and heighten awareness of your body language.
  • Use our online mock interview system Optimal Interview, a tool within OptimalResume to practice, practice, practice.

Practice Interviewing Techniques

  • Be sure you understand a long or complex question before you answer. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.
  • Take time to think about your answer before you begin; short pauses are acceptable.
  • Learn to generate answers that are neither too long (over two minutes) nor too short (under twenty seconds).
  • Frame your answer with introductory words when appropriate, for example, “I see three main points that relate to this issue. First, ...”