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Impactful Job Interviews: Prepare!

Priya Patel
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Pfizer, Inc.
Adjunct Faculty
Rutgers University


fter months or even years of strenuous and diligent work, you are finally granted a job interview for a position at a coveted company. You take a moment to celebrate and reflect on your journey – the hard work, long hours, unexpected hurdles, missed opportunities, and sleepless nights. You now have one chance to make a positive and impactful first impression, and suddenly, feelings of joy and pride are replaced by fear and trepidation. You ask yourself, “How can I impress the interviewers in a short amount of time?”

My interview experience for a post-doctoral pharmacy fellowship was similar. I was invited for an on-site interview at a pharmaceutical company that I had only dreamed of working for. When the call came to invite me, I was elated, grinning from ear to ear, and overcome with gratitude. I tried to hide the extreme excitement for which I am known. But after hanging up the phone, I realized I would have to condense four years of experience into a 30-minute (or less) interview that also allowed adequate time to ask and answer questions. I discussed these concerns with an advisor who shared these helpful tips on how to effectively prepare for a job interview.

Do Your Research

As the job market becomes more competitive, being called in for an interview presents a challenge. While a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) outlines your achievements, it does not showcase your enthusiasm for a position or company. Before your interview, developing thorough knowledge of your prospective employer is a great way to demonstrate your passion and show initiative. A number of platforms can be used to research an organization, including the company’s website, social media, LinkedIn, or a simple Google search. While investigating an organization’s products, services, and clients is a priority, it is also important to know its values, culture, and mission. The goal of this proactive research is to determine if your professional goals align with the company’s goals. From personal experience, conducting this research helped me identify which companies I wanted to interview with and allowed me to tailor questions I asked during the interview.

Emphasize Your Skill Set

Conveying how your strong set of qualifications can support achieving that company’s goals is the foundation of a successful interview. One of the driving forces for companies to hire candidates is the need to increase revenue and profit. For example, a company may be hiring to address growing business needs and reduce overall expenditures. In most cases, a short interview does not allow for a full representation of how your experiences and capabilities can contribute to achieving this complex company goal. Therefore, when I interviewed, I focused on constructing a concise description of my unique skill sets and how they could add value to the company.

Adding value to a company does not necessarily mean that you must have immense experience in the position you are interviewing for. I worried about my lack of professional involvement in a pharmaceutical company prior to my interview, and questioned whether this would affect my credibility for the position. I soon realized that the skills I had developed in my prior experiences were transferable and positioned me to be a great candidate for the job. During my interview, I highlighted the hard and soft skills that I could contribute to the company, and focused on how I could implement and integrate the core principles and expertise I developed through past accomplishments to be successful in this new position.

Be Yourself

Amidst the hustle and bustle of preparing for an interview, it is easy to over practice responses and rehearse what you believe employers want to hear. I am guilty of this. This may stem from fear that your qualifications are not robust enough. It is important to realize that, if you have been called for an interview, the employer has most likely reviewed your CV or resume before they called, and your professional accomplishments qualified you for a face-to-face interview. The interview is your chance to emphasize your key successes and ask questions to ensure you are a perfect fit for the company.

To ensure this fit is mutually satisfactory, you evaluating the company is just as important as their evaluation of you. Make sure you convey the excitement you had when you learned of the job interview to your interviewers. While passion cannot be measured, it can be conveyed in the way you present yourself as a dedicated and committed candidate. Make sure this shines through.


  • While the interview process may seem daunting, preparation can provide the confidence you need to succeed.
  • Practice emphasizing your accomplishments within the interview time frame, while also focusing on how your skills can benefit the company.
  • Exude passion for the position for which you are interviewing.