Career & Leadership Development

Interviewing

An interview is a screening process in which you have the opportunity to learn more about an organization while, at the same time, the organization has the opportunity to evaluate you as a prospective employee. The interview is an exchange of information between you and the interviewer to determine whether there is a match between your interests and qualifications and their job requirements and needs. 

Stage 1: Before the Interview

Review your resume as well as your interests, strengths, weaknesses, and values. Think about what you've learned through your academic, employment, and co-curricular involvements, and identify examples of how you've developed skills in leadership, communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and problem solving.


Learn as much as you can about the organization. Review the company website, third-party websites, and career fair handouts.  


Review the job description, and think about how the position relates to your past experiences as well as your future goals. 


Figure out logistics such as location and parking. Ask your hiring contact about the format of the interview and with whom you'll be interviewing if they don't give you this information already. 


Think about the qualifications and requirements of the job. Use InterviewStream to find sample questions and practice interviewing. 


The questions you will ask will give the employer a sense of your interest in their organization and your preparedness for the interview. Develop questions that will demonstrate a genuine interest in and knowledge of the company and position. Write out more questions than you think you will need as some of them may be answered throughout the interview. You must ask questions! 


When you decide to apply for a job, contact your references to let them know about the organization and position to which you're applying. Send them a copy of your resume. This helps prepare your references for being contacted by an employer.  


Set up a mock interview with your designated career advisor/counselor to practice your interview skills and receive constructive feedback.


Let the employer know when you've received correspondence, and make sure you understand details (date, time, location, individuals conducting the interview, itinerary, and meal and lodging costs if any). 


First impressions are important, so look professional. If you're unsure what to wear, it is better to play it safe and dress more professionally.


Arrive about 15 minutes early.


Nonverbal communication makes up a significant part of all communication. How you dress, stand, sit, use your hands, move your head and eyes, and how you listen all work together to provide your interviewer with information about you.


Maintain good posture, have a firm handshake, use eye contact, show enthusiasm, and control any nervous mannerisms. Smile, be friendly, and maintain your composure throughout the interview. Be polite and respectful to everyone you come in contact with.


The interview is an exchange of information, so always ask questions at the end of the interview. Prepare more than you think you will need as some may be answered during the interview. Ask the interviewer about their hiring timeline.


Don't simply give yes and no answers. Use specific examples whenever possible to illustrate your skills and accomplishments. Show your enthusiasm about the position and the organization.


What did you learn? How would you handle the next interview differently? What was your impression of the organization? Will employment with this organization meet your professional and personal needs? If not, what are your concerns?


Thank the individuals involved, and reaffirm your interest in the position by sending a separate thank you note to each individual you met. Notes may be emailed or handwritten, but be cognizant of the timeline and the time it takes to receive an email or handwritten note.


If the employer does not contact you by the date they stated, call the organization and ask about the current status of your candidacy.


This is often the first round of a hiring process and serves as an initial screening.

Speak with a self-confident and enthusiastic tone of voice. People can hear you 'smile over the phone'.

Find a private and quiet place to conduct the interview. Speak directly into the phone, and do not use speakerphone.

Take notes to reference at the end of the interview or after the interview.

Treat this as if this is an in-person interview in terms of attire, posture, and preparation. If you look and feel the part, the employer will be able to sense your confidence over the phone.


Virtual interviews are real-time conversations with an employer through a computer, phone, or other device, whereas video interviews are recorded but not done in real time. An employer watches video interviews at a later date and time. Video interviews are gaining in popularity, and some organizations use them in place of a phone screen.

Look at the camera - not at your face on the screen.

Dress the part, and think about your surroundings.

Be aware of your body language and posture. Smile!


Confirm logistics - more than one office location, potential challenges in getting to the location (construction, traffic, etc.).

The entire visit is part of the interview, so be professional at all times including lunch or dinner with representatives or time spent in a waiting area prior to an interview.


These interview questions are based on the belief that past behavior and performance predicts future behavior and performance. Interviewers seek specific examples to gain an in-depth understanding of the way candidates have responded to similar situations and challenges. When replying to behavioral questions, you may use work experience, clubs and activities, volunteer work, class projects, and other experiences that will provide examples of your past behavior.

One strategy for answering behavior-based questions is the use of the STAR method (sharing your example by covering the following: Situation, Task, Action, Result). Using STAR enables you to give a complete and succinct answer. Some examples of behavior-based interview questions include:

Give me an example of a project you worked on with little or no guidance.

Tell me about a time you had a conflict with someone at work and how you resolved it.

Describe a time when you worked on many different projects at the same time. How did you manage your time?

What accomplishment has given you the greatest satisfaction?

Tell me about a time you were part of a great team. What was your part in making the team effective?

Tell me about a goal you set for yourself that you were not able to accomplish.

Can you describe the most challenging customer service situation you have encountered?

Tell me about a time when you made sure a customer was pleased with your service.

Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client's expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?

Describe an experience you've had working in a fast-paced environment.