Interview Preparation

The interview process can be very intimidating. Knowing how to answer the interview questions in a manner that is professional and that highlights your qualifications, experience and accomplishments can sometimes be difficult. Behavioral interviews are very probing in nature and are based on the concept of "predictable future behavior." In other words, what you have done in the past strongly suggests what you will do in the future.

Behavioral-based questions find out "who you are."

Interview Etiquette

  • Be on time. Or arrive five minutes early. Being late says you are disorganized and not very good at time management.
  • Turn off your cell phone. And leave it in your car. You do not want to be distracted as you offer your expertise to an employer.
  • Respect those already employed. It does not matter whether you are interviewing to be an entry-level employee or the next CEO of an organization. Be polite to everyone you meet.
  • Dress like you mean it. Dress in business attire, even if you are interviewing in a business-casual office.
  • Be handy with your handshake. Hand out. Clasp the extended hand firmly, but gently. Pump once. Release.
  • Have a presence. Speak well, make eye contact, sit up straight.
  • Say thank you, twice. Thank the interviewers when you meet them in person. Then, thank them after the interview with a hand-written or appropriately formatted email.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Answering Interview Questions

  • Prepare for the interview:
    • Before going to an interview, look at the job description and think of some of your most important milestones and use these as examples while answering questions.
  • During the interview:
    • The interviewer says: "Tell me about a time when you were a part of a difficult team and what you did to get the team back on track." Include the following in your answer:
      • Situation
      • Action
      • Outcome
      • Learning
  • Additional interview advice:
    • Make sure your response is clear and concise.
    • If you cannot think of an answer, say so. Do not try to bluff your way through the question, the interviewer will know.
    • The best candidates are able to speak to everything on their resume.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Conducting the Successful Phone Interview

  • Turn off distractions. Take your phone into a quiet room.
  • Have all of your tools in one place:
    • resume
    • pen and paper to jot the interview(s) name(s) down immediately and to take notes during the interview
    • company research (with relevant information highlighted)
    • questions to ask about the company and position
    • a loosely written outline of points to make or items to cover as you discuss the position
    • a glass of water.
  • Dress the part for the interview. Experts say if you are dressed in a professional manner, you will speak that way.
  • If an employer calls and wants to do the interview right away (instead of setting up an appointment), excuse yourself politely and offer to call back in five minutes. This will give you time to make the psychological switch from whatever you are doing to your professional demeanor.
  • Stand up to talk. Your position affects the quality of your voice. If you are sitting down or relaxing, you do not project the same readiness and intensity as when you stand up.
  • Talk only when necessary. Since you lack the visual cues of body language to assess whether you have said enough, mark the end of your response with a question, such as "Would you like more details of my experience as an intern with {insert} Company?"
  • Let the employer end the interview. Then you should say "Thank you for your time," and reiterate your interest in the position.
  • Write a thank-you note to anyone who participated in the phone interview.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Preparing for Video Interviews

  • Understand the technology and be comfortable with it.
  • Consider the image and the interview environment.
  • Test all settings and connections beforehand.
  • Be prepared for a system hiccup.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.


Connect with Career Services!