How to Prepare for an Interview

From CEOs to interns, everyone must go through an interview process: it can be a lengthy and exhausting process! As I round out my time in graduate school and enter my professional career, I’ve come to realize that there is a lot of information out there about what interviewers are typically looking for, but not how to implement those things into a conversation. Below are a few tips you can take before you enter (and succeed at) your next interview!

Remember: as a general rule of thumb, take the time to learn as much as you can about the company, the job, and the interview process. Your interview preparation will depend on many factors: this can include your career goals, the company you will be working for, and even who will be interviewing you. These are some overarching ideas on how to prepare, however, your needs may be different!

Here are some tips to prepare you for your interview:

  • Get as much information as you can about the job To establish why you’d make a great addition to the team, you must first understand what your interviewer is seeking. In most job postings, organizations specify exactly what they are looking for in applicants, so go back to the description you looked at before you apply.
  • Being the “ideal” Pay attention to what skills and experiences the employer emphasizes, or what problems the job candidate will be required to solve. When you conduct your interview, be sure to highlight these things, as well as your capacity to take on these tasks, to make yourself stand out from other applicants. By proving that you’ve done your homework, you can improve your chances of being considered an “ideal” candidate.
  • Research pay Regardless of whether you are ready to have the money conversation, you may still be asked about your salary or hourly wage expectations. You can prevent giving, or agreeing to, a way-too-low number by doing some financial research beforehand.
  • Have questions During most interviews, the interviewer will ask, “Do you have any questions for me?” and the answer should always be yes! In addition to these interview questions, you should prepare some questions that are specific to the job and company. Preparation is key—do not ask questions that have already been addressed or do not leave yourself without backup options if your first two questions were already addressed.
  • Follow up with a thank you Send a thank-you note or an email after an interview to reiterate your interest. In this thank-you letter, you can reiterate why you want the job, what your qualifications are, and how you could make a significant contribution. As well as thanking your interviewer, this thank- you letter provides the perfect opportunity to discuss any important points you failed to cover in your interview.

Finally, here are some example questions:

  • Why do you enjoy working here? This question is a great way to gauge how current employees view their workplace: some may choose to talk about flexible schedules, how the team is supportive or even the free lunches on However, their responses can be a great way to gain personal insight about the role.
  • What is an initiative that isn’t currently in the works at [the company] and what internal or external resources are needed to carry it out? How could the selected candidate help make it a reality? In my own interview experience, this has been a great way to see how a company currently views prospective projects or changes, as well as what goals they have for the future.

-Sara Hoover, Graduate Student Assistant



Practicing healthy boundary setting 

Did you know that your relationship with your supervisor is one of the most influential factors in job satisfaction? Practicing effective workplace communication and setting healthy boundaries can make a major difference for your career wellness! 

Start by reflecting on your own needs in order to determine what types of boundaries will be most helpful or necessary. You can do this in a variety of contexts including work, school, and in your relationships.  

To reflect on your needs, think about areas of your life in which you need extra help or support. Reflect on what your ideal scenario or outcome would be. Is something missing in an aspect of your life, whether that be professional or personal? Do you have wants or needs that are currently unfulfilled?  

Think about if you have any commitments, responsibilities, or roles in which you feel overextended, overwhelmed, or unbalanced. What would help improve the situation? It may also be helpful to define your priorities and determine where you can take a step back or decrease your level of commitment. What is required of you and what can you change? 

Try to make this self-reflection on-going. Your wants and needs may change over time, and it is important to check in with yourself. 

While boundaries will look different for everyone, some examples may include: 

  • Setting boundaries around not being contacted or not responding during non-business hours and time off. 
  • Ex: Not checking email or responding to messages after 5:00pm on weekdays or on the weekends and holidays. 
  • Setting boundaries around work hours. 
  • Ex: Creating a hard stop for yourself at 5:00pm. 
  • Setting reasonable expectations surrounding response times to communication. 
  • Ex: Set an expectation to respond to emails within 48 hours during business hours (unless there are extenuating circumstances). 
  • Setting limits for how much work you will take on or how involved you will be. 
  • Setting expectations for workplace behavior and communication. 
  • Setting expectations for how much time you can spend with a partner, friend, or loved one. 
  • Ex: Every Friday night is family game night, or every Saturday is date night. 
  • Once you have identified boundaries, the next step is to clearly communicate them. If this step sounds scary, start out by practicing! If you find it helpful to document your boundaries to practice, you can always create a list for yourself. Reminder: it is okay to ask for what you need! 

One potential strategy for communicating your boundaries is to frame this as a collaborative process. This can take place during an open conversation with your supervisor and coworkers, friends, family members, classmates, and partners and gives each person an opportunity to define expectations. However, this does not mean that you need to compromise or be less assertive with your own boundaries. 

Finally, it can be helpful to develop a strategy for communicating effectively when boundary violations occur. For example, if a supervisor reaches out to you with a meeting request on your day off, be prepared for how you will respond and navigate the situation. This may look like respectfully yet firmly declining the request and explaining that you had previously discussed taking the day off and will not be available. You do not need to apologize or over-explain.  

If you are struggling to set boundaries or figure out what your personal needs are, contact the Student Wellness Center’s Wellness Coaching program to schedule a free one-on-one session for support.  


 -Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant 


Learning How to Effectively Say No to Opportunities

Reminder: No is a complete sentence. 

Although practicing and learning how to say no is relevant and necessary in all aspects of our lives, this example will focus primarily on professional and academic settings.  

Let’s say one day you are at work, and you receive an email from your supervisor with an optional request that exceeds what you are able or willing to contribute at the time. For example, the request could be something like serving on an additional committee, picking up an extra shift, or attending an optional event or training. Maybe a classmate wants you to take on some additional components of a group project beyond what you had initially agreed upon.  

First evaluate the request. Are you interested in exploring the possibility of supporting or engaging in the opportunity in a smaller, or different, capacity? If you are, you can suggest this and work on a compromise. However, if you cannot – or are not interested – in being involved, that is completely valid. 

Once you have determined that you cannot take on the additional opportunity, it is important to effectively communicate this. Just like with boundary-setting, it can be helpful to practice saying no! 

If it feels comfortable for you, you can begin your response by acknowledging the positive aspects of the request. For example, “This sounds like a great opportunity!” or “Thank you for thinking of me!” 

Next, provide a brief – yet direct – explanation for turning down the request. Here’s a possible example (keeping in mind that this may look different depending on your own personal preference, communication style, and reason for saying no): “Unfortunately, I am currently at capacity with my workload, and I am unable to take on any additional projects at this time.” If you are interested in providing support in another capacity or smaller role, you can always offer that as well. Additionally, if you know of someone else who may be interested in the opportunity, you could refer or recommend them.  

Altogether, saying no can look something like this: “Thank you for thinking of me! This sounds like a great opportunity. Unfortunately, I am currently at capacity with my workload, and I am unable to take on any additional projects at this time.” 

If saying no and setting boundaries is new to you, you can always practice and start out small! Check out these articles for more tips and strategies: 


-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant  

The Importance of Mentorship

Do you currently have a mentor in your life who you look up to? Maybe you are giving back by serving as a mentor yourself! Mentorship is a great way to prioritize both your social and career wellness by building authentic and supportive relationships.  

A mentor can be described as, “Someone who might help you work through challenges or help you to make a decision through conversation, sharing experiences, and dedicated time building a relationship. A mentor can help you advance your career goals by tapping into someone who has more knowledge, experience, and/or lived perspective of that particular area than you possess yourself,” (Brine, 2020). 

Having a mentor can also help you expand your network, navigate a new experience, boost your confidence, and potentially open up new opportunities. Mentorship can be formal or informal. Additionally, mentorship is mutually beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee. In other words, you both gain something from the mentoring relationship and you both make meaningful contributions! 

If you don’t currently have a mentor, the first step is to identify someone – and then ask them! There are plenty of resources, templates, and examples (like this one) to help guide this conversation. Once you do have a mentor, it can be helpful to define expectations and maintain consistent communication. There are also many opportunities available to get involved in mentorship here at Ohio State!

If you are interested in learning more or getting involved in mentorship, be sure to check out the following resources, opportunities, and student organizations: 

Additional opportunities in Columbus: 


Brine, C. (2020, March 13). Mentorship & sponsorship: Why you need both. LinkedIn. 
Ceniza-Levine, C. (2019, January 10). Ten tips for a successful mentorship. Forbes.
Landry, A., & Lewiss, R. E. (2020, August 25). What efficient mentorship looks like. Harvard Business Review.
Oshinkale, Y. (2019, September 18). Definition of mentorship: What is a mentor and do you need one? World Education Services (WES) Advisor Blog.
University of Southampton. (n.d.). The benefits of a mentoring relationship. 

Managing Your Time When Transitioning to College 

When you went off to college for the first time, you probably faced a number of opportunities and responsibilities that you didn’t experience at home: parties, new friends, new relationships, extracurriculars, and of course the workload of classes. As exciting as the change can be, it is not uncommon for students to struggle with time management. Piedmont Technical College published an article in which Psychologist William Knause estimates that 90% of college students procrastinate. Procrastination not only leads to increased stress, but it makes it difficult for you to prioritize and balance your daily life.   

If you often find yourself procrastinating, here are some tips you can implement into your life, helping you to better manage your time. These techniques include following a routine, planning ahead, prioritizing, balancing your commitments, and blocking your classes. If implemented, these tips will not only help you succeed in your classes, but all areas of your life.    

Follow a Routine: In high school, you probably had a clear cut schedule: seven hours of classes, followed by any sports or extracurriculars. In college, you probably only have a few classes a day, and your class schedule probably alternates everyday. Your classes might start late, or you might be finished early in the day. Compared to high school, you have more time for yourself, but it is important that you use this time wisely. Developing a routine early on will help you stay organized and fit everything into your day.   

Plan Ahead: Read every syllabus and keep track of the dates of upcoming exams and projects. If you anticipate a busy week, start accomplishing tasks for that week sooner than later. This will decrease stress and help you focus on the big exams and projects when the time comes. Further, if you pay attention to the dates of upcoming exams, this will allow you to start studying early. According to the American Psychological Association, spreading out studying leads to greater success than cramming studying. I think everyone can agree that going into exams with a feeling of confidence about the material is a lot less stressful than going into exams feeling unprepared.  

Prioritize: Make a list of tasks that you need to accomplish everyday. Rank how important each task is, and start by working on the most important tasks. Even on busy days, having a list of tasks in front of you helps you realize that the workload is doable. An article by Webster University recommends setting priorities for the week and month in addition to the day.  

Learning to manage your time effectively will not only relieve stress, but can help lead you to a successful college career. Implementing these tips won’t happen overnight, but with continuous practice, they can become habits. 

Balancing Your Commitments: Obviously, it is important to get involved in college. There are countless benefits to getting involved, including meeting new people, making connections, and preparing for the professional world. Ohio State has an incredible number of student organizations and clubs to join. There is probably a club for anything you are interested in! However, many students end up spreading themselves too thin, and stress about wanting to build their resumes. This makes it hard to be fully involved in any one commitment. If you pick a few commitments, you have a better chance of obtaining leadership roles within those organizations, which ultimately looks better on a resume.  

Blocking Your Classes: In college, you have a lot more freedom when scheduling classes. Many students are drawn to the idea of having extensive breaks in between their classes. However, this can result in lower productivity; if you take into account the time it takes to walk to and from class, you might not have as much time as you think. If you schedule your classes with the intent of having the most time after your classes, and minimal time in between, you will be able to use the time more effectively. 


 – Sophie Hippenmeyer, Stress Wellness Ambassador 

Working from Home:  A Checklist to Support Your Mental Health

Create a space dedicated ONLY for work  

Avoid working in your bedroom if possible. Doing work in your bedroom can interfere with sleep, as your body will learn to associate that space with being alert, awake and switched on. If your workspace is limited to your bedroom, create a cue to yourself indicating when it’s time to work and when it’s not. For example, using a desk lamp cue, only turn the lamp on when it’s time to work, and anytime the lamp is off, no work is allowed. 

Create boundaries between ‘work time’ and ‘home time’ 

Recognize and avoid the pressure to work 24/7. Set a routine as if you are going into an office for a day job, with a regular start time, finish time, and structure for your day, making sure that breaks and exercise are scheduled in. This will help you maintain a strong boundary between work and home life, minimizing the chances of work intruding into personal time. This can also help you switch off from work at the end of the day. Creating cues, such as changing into your work clothes at the start of the day and changing back at the end of the day can help with this.  

Try a digital detox in the evenings 

Technology makes it easier to stay connected, but the downside is that it can make it difficult to switch off and separate work and home life. A full workday in front of computer screen is more than enough screen time for one day. In the evenings, try picking up a downtime activity that doesn’t involve screens, like reading a book, playing a board game with family, or practicing a new craft.   

 Get Outside! 

Try to get outside at least once a day. Go for a walk, ride a bike, jog; anything to expose yourself to some fresh air and sunshine. Expert tip: call a friend when going on your walk, even schedule it so that you both go on a walk at the same time every day! 

-Joseph Doherty, Wellness Coaching Coordinator

The Job/Internship Search During COVID-19

COVID-19 has brought major interruptions to life, including the search for jobs and internships. Many inperson recruiting events have been canceled and this may have you wondering how do I meet employers?! Take a deep breath and fear not! There are still many ways to get in touch with employers this spring semester and land that dream position. 

Tip 1: Set UYour Handshake 

Handshake is Ohio State’s new university-wide position posting system where students have access to search and apply for part-time and full-time jobs, internships, and co-ops! Companies will post jobs that are available, and you will either apply directly on the Handshake site or it may direct you to the company’s website in an external link. You can even set up alerts on companies or position titles, so you don’t have to stress about missing out on your dream position! 

Tip 2: Attend Online Career Fairs and Info Sessions 

Just because employers can’t hold on-campus events doesn’t mean they aren’t hosting events at all. Similar to many other things this year, employer events have gone virtual. On your Handshake account, you can search for events such as career fairs, company meet and greets, and even one-on-one sessions. Keep an eye out on clubs that match your interests as well. Many clubs that typically invite companies to come and give talks are still hosting events  they’ve just moved into the CarmenZoom world! 

Tip 3: Don’t Read Too Much into the Title 

Does the job description sound perfect for you? Yes, you’re creative, enthusiastic, and a great team player! But maybe the actual job title is a little off from your major. suggests not reading too much into the job title. Employers will look at the skills that you possess, not just your major when filling the position. 

Tip 4: Become Comfortable with Online Interviewing 

You landed an interview with your dream company – congrats! Interviews can be stressful, and that’s perfectly OK; everyone gets nervous for interviews. However, it could be even more stressful if you’re not comfortable with online interviewing. A great tip is just to practice in front of the camera you’ll be using. Ohio State has sample interview questions on the Career Counseling and Support Services website  ( Even sites like LinkedIn have videos you can watch to practice as well. The great thing about it is, you’ll know exactly what it’s like because you’ll being doing it virtually too!

Tip 5: Practice Destressing Before Any Big Events 

Remember: you got this! But if you need some tips to destress before any big events you can find resources through the Ohio State Wellness app! Some easy tips, such as breathing exercises, can help you relax a little more on the big day! 


Taylor Sienerth, Stress Wellness Ambassador