8 Tips to Nail a Job Interview

When I was working as a Leisure Services Supervisor, we interviewed over 200 candidates to fill 150 counselor positions each summer.  It was a difficult job because we only had a 20-30 minute meeting with each candidate to decide whether or not they would be right for the position.  Because most candidates’ education, experience and activities were so similar, performance in the interview was often the deciding factor for whether or not they were selected.  Because interviewing skills can be critical in getting the job, I want to share with you 8 Tips to Nail the Job Interview from my perspective as a supervisor.

  1. Apply Early!  For example, for summer jobs, most park districts begin recruiting staff in December and start interviews in January. Many times we had outstanding candidates apply in June, but could not offer them a position because we already had filled all of the positions by May.
  2. Come Prepared. Before your interview, spend some time thinking about why you’re      qualified and why you’re interested in the position.  Have a friend or parent practice possible interview questions with you.
  3. Research the position ahead of time.  So many candidates had no idea what the position they were interviewing for actually entailed.  Talk with others who used to work there or research the program online ahead of time.  This will help you know if you really want to work there and show the search committee that you’re excited about the position.
  4. Dress Appropriately.  Wear formal clothes to the interview and leave your jeans and cut off shorts at home.  By dressing well, you will feel more confident during the interview and will leave a better impression on the search committee.
  5. Take a deep breath.  Being interviewed can be a nerve wracking experience. Taking a moment to breath can calm you and ease anxiety and gives you a moment to remember – “You can do it”.
  6. Don’t Chew Gum during the Interview.  It seems like common sense, and yet so many people chomped away on their gum throughout their entire interview.
  7. Smile!  Show enthusiasm for the position you’re applying for.  A smile and positive body language can go a long way.  Candidates who sat slouched over in the chair with their arms crossed looking sullen were rarely chosen.  If someone looked that angry in their interview, it is hard to imagine how they would look after the first week of work.
  8. Write a thank you note.  Immediately after the interview (as soon as you get home), send the search committee a “thank you” email.  Express how you’re grateful for their time and the opportunity for the interview.  You may also consider sending a handwritten thank you note.  This shows your interest in the position and sets you apart from other candidates.


About Dina Izenstark

Dina Izenstark is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) and a Doctoral student in the Department of Human and Community Development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at UIUC.  Prior to returning to graduate school, she worked as a Leisure Services Supervisor at a park district in the Chicago suburbs.  In this position, she gained valuable experience hiring, supervising and leading a team of adolescents and young adult staff.  Today, Dina’s primary research interests are exploring how adolescents develop in leisure activity contexts as well as examining how families’ utilization of natural environments impacts their health and well-being.

, , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply


Career Skillet is an online educational resource designed to help students with skills that will help them successfully transition from student to career roles. Please review this Privacy Policy and Disclaimers periodically as we may make changes and updates without prior notice. We will post a date at the bottom of the page, so our audiences can see when the page was most recently updated.

Privacy Policy

We may use information from the Career Skillet site for program improvement or educational purposes (for example, presentations at conferences or publications in journals). Information that we may obtain from the site about you include:

  • -Manage your participation in events, promotions, or research you sign up for on the Career Skillet site.
  • -Analyze trends and statistics regarding visitors’ use of the Career Skillet website (for example, the pages visited, the most popular content, the types of information that our visitors share with others, how long visitors spend on the website, the types of questions visitors ask).
  • -To comply with legal policies and industry standards


To ensure that Career Skillet visitors receive reliable and accurate information, part of our model is to include comments, authored articles, summaries, and other types of content from contributing authors. Career Skillet assumes no responsibility for documents posted by users or contributing authors although we will make every attempt to block or delete offensive material or any information that conflicts with the goals and mission of Career Skillet.

Contributing authors come from various backgrounds and were invited to contribute to the Career Skillet websites because of their expertise. The contributing authors are not responsible for the information posted by other authors.

Career Skillet will link to other websites. These links are provided as a convenience to visitors. Therefore, these links should not be considered an endorsement of the other website, and Career Skillet is not responsible for the content on the third-party websites. Although we are selective and only generally reference articles, infographics, or other materials on third-party websites that we believe is of quality, when you link to third-party websites, you do so at your own risk. If Career Skillet links to information on your website and you would like it removed, or you believe that Career Skillet is violating your website’s copyright policies, we ask that you notify Career Skillet in writing of a copyright infringement click here. If we remove or disable access to content in response to a copyright infringement notice you sent, we will make every attempt to notify you.

If you wish to use the content on the Career Skillet website for another website or online resource of similar nature, we ask that you do not duplicate our original content and that you list the Career Skillet name and provide a direct link back to the Career Skillet website. Please notify us and tell us how you are using our content.

For Questions, comments, or Advertising inquires please submit the following form and we will contact you back as soon as possible.

Your Name: *
E-mail Address: *
Subject: *
Message Details:  

*=required field
[php] include('mathcaptcha.php');[/php]