Interviewing

"Tell me about yourself"

Many interviews begin with some version of this prompt: “Tell me about yourself.” This means you can practice responding to this question before the interview and be ready to talk about yourself in a polished, concise way. One easy way to structure this response is by talking about your past, present, and future.

  • When did your interest in this work begin?
  • What experiences in this area of work have you had?

  • What are you currently doing related to this work?
  • Why are you excited to continue this work?

  • What are your future professional or educational goals?
  • How do your goals involve you obtaining this position?
  • Why are you excited about this position being a part of your future?

Using this formula, try to create a response that is around 60 seconds, and continue practicing so you can respond easily and naturally.

Types of interview questions

  • What interested you in this position?
  • What is one thing in the job description that you will excel at?
  • What is one thing in the job description that will be a challenge for you?
  • How does this job complement your academics?

  • Describe a time when you made a mistake and how you handled it.
  • Talk about a time when you worked on a team. Describe your role and the outcome.
  • Give an example of a time you experienced a conflict and how you resolved it.

  • How would you handle a disgruntled customer?
  • What would you do if you were given a project, but were unsure how to complete it?
  • What would you do if you had a meeting in five minutes, but were distracted by other company-related responsibilities?

Some job opportunities may require you to take assessments before moving forward in the interview process. Remember:

  • Be honest.
  • Know the job qualifications beforehand.
  • Tie skills and personality traits with situational and behavioral questions.

STAR method

SDefine the situation you will use as your example.

TOutline the task that was involved in the example.

ADetail the action you chose to take.

RDescribe the result of this example.

Assess the level of business attire required so you can avoid being overdressed or underdressed.

 

Wear clean clothes and shoes. Make sure clothing is wrinkle-free. Suits, jackets, slacks, shirts, blouses, and professional dresses are encouraged.

 

Before, during, and after the interview process

  • Review the job description and the company website; create questions pertaining to the position. You want to have two to four prepared questions.
  • Track date and time of scheduled interviews with potential employers.
  • Prepare a final resume and reference list for your interview day. Bring extra copies with you for those interviewing you.
  • Touch base with references about a possible contact from the company or organization. Consider sending them a copy of the job description and letting them know why you are interested in this position.
  • Determine how long it will take you to get to your interview location and ensure you reserve enough time beforehand to travel.

  • Arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early.
  • Maintain eye contact with a relaxed smile, using specific examples and experiences to answer questions.
  • Take notes, including the names of those who interview you.
  • Be sure to ask the questions you prepared.
  • Thank the interviewer(s), and ask about the timeline for filling the position.

  • Send a thank-you email or letter to the employer as soon as possible.
  • Follow up according to the timeline mentioned during the interview.
  • Keep searching, applying, and interviewing for other opportunities.
  • Reflect on answers you provided during the interview and keep practicing using different questions.

Other types of interview formats

A group interview might be used for efficiency or to determine how well candidates interact with one another. Prepare for this as any other interview. When you arrive, be sure to be yourself, involve the other candidates, and be confident in your abilities.

It is important to provide a phone number at a place where you can be alone and without distractions. Having your documents on hand is also a good way to be prepared.

A job fair is like interviewing with a bunch of people all at once. Make sure to bring a lot of resumes, and dress for success! If there is a list of employers, make sure to look for your top picks and go to them first.

It is important to dress business casual from head to toe. Also, use a quiet space where you will be uninterrupted with a good internet connection. Become familiar with technology before the interview.