Before the Interview

How to Ace Your Face-to-Face

Preparing for an upcoming in-person interview? Learn the do’s and don’t’s of interviewing.

How to Ace a Behaviorial Interview

The behavioral interview is designed to measure your emotional intelligence based on how you  have acted or reacted in the past.


What is the purpose of an interview?

A job interview is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your professional skills and knowledge for a potential position in a company or institution. It is a two-way exchange, a conversation, in which both participants have their own goals.

The interviewer wants to determine:

  • Can the candidate do the job?
  • Will the candidate fit in?
  • Is this the best candidate for the position?

The interviewee wants to determine:

  • Do I want this job?
  • Can I do this job?
  • Does this job offer me the opportunities I want for advancement or experience?

Use resources to learn as much about the employer as possible such as:

  • Research the employer online. (Be sure to also review any "news" results)
  • Investigate their products, services, stock performance, company history and future direction.
  • Talk to professors who may have knowledge about the company.
  • Conduct an informational interview.

How to Determine Appropriate Salary Range

Prior to the interview, research ranges of salary for the position, years of experience, and geographic location. The following can assist you in your search:

When evaluating your potential salary, also consider benefits such as health insurance, wellness, paid time off, bonuses, professional development training/continuing education, tuition reimbursement, child care and relocation expenses.


Common Interview Questions and Answers

Interviewers want to learn more about you than just what is on your application or resume. They selected you for the interview because they believe you are a strong candidate that may help their team and company succeed.

Be prepared to answer their questions fully, concisely, and honestly. They also want a team member who is authentic. Be YOURSELF!

Do not make up an answer if you do not have the knowledge or experience. Instead, take an experience of your own that may demonstrate a comparable skill to answer the question. For example, the interviewer asks, “Tell me about your experience leading a team an supervising others.” If you do not have any professional work experience where you were responsible for leading a team or supervising others, feel free to use examples from a time when you held a leadership position in club or organization or a class project which you lead and saw through to completion.

Interview Questions

Most interviews include some the following “traditional” questions:

EXAMPLES OF TRADITIONAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

ANSWER STRATEGIES
Tell me about yourself. This is your opportunity to summarize your major skills and experiences as they relate to the job. This is NOT your life story, family information, or a repeat of your resume.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? It is helpful to include an example of when you have used your strengths as they might relate to the position. When you identify a weakness, you should include how you have improved or learned from it. Try not to use a weakness that directly relates to the position.
Why should we hire you? Share unique qualities or experiences that you bring to the position. Share how your experiences and qualities make you the best fit.
What interests you about our company? Research the company before the interview. Be specific about why you want to work for them based on your research.
What questions do you have for me? Be prepared with questions based on your research of the company and the position. Your questions should show that you have a clear interest in the company, that you have done your research and have follow-up questions. Do not discuss salary or benefits unless offered the job!

 

 

Some other types of interview questions could be based on your past behaviors. Employers realize that past behaviors are often a predictor of future success.

EXAMPLES OF BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

ANSWER STRATEGIES

Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a customer, co-worker or employer.

Use the S.T.A.R. Technique to answer:

S/T – Situation/Task: describe a specific situation

A – Action: describe the specific action that you took

R – Result: explain the result of your action

Don’t forget to provide clear examples of how the lessons you learned from the experience.

 

Give me an example of a tense situation at work or school and how you resolved it. Looking back, what could you have done differently? What did you learn?

Describe a time when you completed a specific task which you did not find interesting or perhaps even resented doing. How did you proceed? What was the outcome?
Tell me about a time when you missed a deadline.

 

The Importance of Company Culture

Employers share tips on asking questions about the company culture during your job interview.

The Importance of Nonverbal Communication

You've probably heard of nonverbal communication; things like eye contact and body posture. But were you aware of the effects it can have on your chances of landing a job or moving up in a company?

The Reverse Interview

Asking your own questions to the interviewer is vital to being hired. Get tips on what type of questions you should ask.


Practice Interview

You can make an appointment for a practice interview with the Career Center staff. On some campuses, group interview sessions are offered. Contact your Campus Career Center for more information.

Suit & Tie

  • Dark colored, conservative pant or skirt suit
  • Stick with colors like blue, black or gray
  • Tie should be solid or have a subtle, non-distracting pattern
  • Pants or skirt should be appropriate length
    • Skirt should hit at or slightly below the knee
    • No more than three inches above the knee when sitting
  • No capris

The Shirt

  • Light colored dress shirt with undershirt or light colored blouse
  • No distracting patterns, ruffles, lace, sequins or shiny fabrics
  • Shirts and blouses should be conservative and provide ample coverage
Dress for Success Infographic

Dress for Success Infographic
Click image to enlarge.

The Shoes

  • Polished dress shoes with matching dark socks
  • Closed-toe shoes with a conservative heel (1-2 inches)
  • Shoes and belt should be the same color
  • No platforms, stilettos, flip flops, sneakers, or wedges

Finishing Touches

  • Well-groomed hairstyle
  • Subtle make-up and jewelry
  • Avoid perfumes or colognes
  • Tattoos should be covered and piercings removed

During the Interview

Tips to Make a Good First Impression

Plan to arrive early, but no more than 10 minutes before your schedules appointment. “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you are late, forget about the job!”

  • Shut off your mobile device.
  • If the interviewer extends his/her hand, then shake hands with a firm handshake.
  • Maintain good eye contact.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Be engaged.
  • Listen carefully to the interviewer’s questions.
  • Avoid interrupting the interviewer.
  • Be honest and give complete answers.
  • Answer the question directly.
  • Do not use jargon or slang in your answers or questions such as: like; get what I’m saying; um; uh; etc.
  • Keep all of your answers POSITIVE.
  • Prepare to ask the interviewer questions when prompted.
  • Have a current copy of your resume and bring several copies printed on resume paper.
  • Pay attention to your body language, and that of the interviewers.
  • Do not accidentally send negative messages with your body language, i.e. rolling your eyes, crossing your arms, frowning, etc.
  • Be mindful that involuntary movements such as flipping your hair, clicking your tongue, tapping your fingers or pen, etc. could be distracting to the interviewers