UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School


How to develop a job interview agenda


Have you ever walked out of an interview with any of these thoughts running through your head?

  • Why did I use that story as an example of my leadership ability? I have lots of better examples I could have used to demonstrate leadership. What was I thinking?
  • I was able to discuss several of my key skills and attributes in my answers to the questions I received, but several of my most relevant skills and experiences never came up. I wish I had been able to communicate them as well.
  • I prepared several questions to ask my interviewers, but I was given more opportunity to ask questions than I thought I would have. I ran out of questions to ask and the interview ended early. That can’t be a good sign…

While every candidate prepares for an interview to some extent, very few are ready to be proactive in emphasizing the skills and attributes they can bring to the job and how they can add value in the role. Here is a suggestion that can help you avoid leaving an interview with the above thoughts.

Develop an interview agenda. This agenda can consist of four or five key skills or attributes that you want to make sure your interviewer learns about you. Prepare a very brief story that will demonstrate each one and make them “come alive.” This agenda should include your most relevant or transferable skills along with examples of how you can add value in this role.

As your interview progresses, you may find that some of the items on your agenda surface naturally as you answer the questions you receive. You also may notice that several important items on your agenda are not being addressed. As your interview draws to a close, your interviewer will likely say something like “Well, I’ve asked all the questions I have for you. Do you have any questions for me?” At this point, rather than begin asking some of the questions you’ve prepared, you may want to say something like “I do have several questions and I hope to be able to ask a few of them but, if you don’t mind, I’d like to mention a couple of things about me that I think are important for you to know that have yet to come up in our conversation.”

In a very concise manner, take one or two minutes to mention one or two skills, attributes or experiences you want to emphasize. In the worst case scenario, your interviewer now knows some additional information about you. In the best case scenario, your interviewer may be quite interested in what you just shared and want to know more. This extra information could result in your being called back for further interviews. That’s a very good thing!

I hope these suggestions have been helpful. Please contact me at john_worth@unc.edu if you have any questions or would like to arrange an appointment.