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Structure of an Interview

What are the key components of an interview

While each interview will be different, the average is 45 minutes in length with 3 key parts: small talk, down to business and next steps. In each part, the interviewer is getting key information to make a decision about your skills, experience and interest based on the job. Your goal is to be doing 50-70 percent of the talking.

Small Talk

This phase occurs within the first 5 minutes of an interview. The interviewer is noting first impressions about professional presence, likeability, confidence and your comfort in building a relationship.

Non-verbal communications such as a warm smile, handshake, eye contact and posture are all cues in providing a positive impression. Current event topics, weather or navigating to the location may be discussed.

Down to Business

Once the interviewer shifts topics and begins with, "I've reviewed your resume and am interested in learning more about you and talking in detail about this position..." you are moving into the meat of the interview. During this time, you will be:

  • Asked questions about your experience and sharing specific examples

  • Asked questions about personality, style, accomplishments and initiatives

  • Told about the job responsibilities

  • Asked if you have any questions

At the end of this portion of the interview:

  • Add any information you want to share

  • Summarize your understanding of the position

  • Express interest

Next Steps

Make an impression and demonstrate follow up skills by:

  • Asking about next steps and best way to follow up

  • Asking for a business card

  • Sending a thank you letter (see Resume materials)