By Anna Kenney, Assistant Director, Internships

Over the last few weeks, your trusty Toppel staff have been interviewing candidates for some of our vacancies. As luck would have it, we have interviewed a ton of truly qualified people. This has proved to make our job that much harder in trying to identify the best candidate to join our staff.

It got me thinking about the nature of interviewing and the fact that it is a learned skill. It takes a lot practice to get to the point that you are comfortable talking about your skills, accolades and yes, even your weaknesses.

You may be thinking, but Anna, I do not need to worry about this now, I already know what I am doing this summer. However, you would be incorrect, you should worry about it now, before the pressure of a potential interview for a job or internship hits you.

As I reflect on individuals I have interviewed over my career, I wanted to share with you the top traits that I feel you should work to master.

  • Being well prepared: It is so important to do your research on an organization before you speak with them. Take the time to read over their mission, goals and/or strategic plan. If possible, learn more about the people who will be interviewing you. Also, make sure you have an understanding of the position you are applying for. An informational interview with a current employee there can never hurt!


  • Dressing for the role you want: Please show up for your interview dressed appropriately. Find out what works for your specific industry. For many roles, a full business suit is the most appropriate, however for others it may not. If you are unsure of the “dress code”, PLEASE ASK! We advisors at Toppel are always here to offer you a second opinion if you are not sure. Sometimes students will come in or will email us a photo of what they plan to wear, and we are more than happy to provide feedback. The best rule of thumb however is, do not wear something for the first time on an interview! The last thing you want to do is stress over ill-fitting clothing a few hours before an interview. For inspiration, check out our Pinterest boards with suggestions or come in and see what is available in Sebastian’s Closet.


  • Concise in presenting answers: It is pivotal that you prepare ahead of time to how you might answer questions in an interview. You do not want to ramble your way through and then realize you never actually answered the question. While you may not be able to anticipate every question that could be asked of you, you can prepare by knowing what types of questions will be asked of you. Generally, in interviews, you will be asked resume-related questions or behavioral based questions. The goals of these types of questions are to learn more about your experience or how you would handle things. Variations of behavioral based questions could be things relating to culture/fit, situational scenarios and/or case studies. Depending on the field, you may get questions that are more technical. There are two main ways to practice this. #1: Schedule an appointment with a Toppel advisor for a Practice Interview #2: Utilize Big Interview as a way to practice online whenever you would like.


Do not forget that Toppel is still open over the summer. We are here Monday – Thursday from 8:30am-5pm. All our services are available just as they are during the academic year. For those of you that may not be physically on campus or in Miami, do not fret, you can schedule phone or Skype appointments as well. Our staff is committed to serving you, so please keep in touch and reach out over the course of the summer. August will be here before you know it!