Master your job interview.
Before the interview
A job interview is like a first date; you want to be well-prepared and ready to impress. Research the company and the group you will be interviewing with. In addition to what you can find on the internet, the best way to research the company is through informational interviews. For more information, refer to the Networking section.
Prepare for common interview questions. Refer to the Question Bank in this section for industry-specific and behavioral questions as well as questions that you may want to ask during an interview (plus a few to avoid). Study the job description to anticipate questions related to the role.
Print out a few copies of your resume, and have a notepad ready. Prepare your professional attire. Put them on and make sure they fit you well.
During the interview
Your goal is to find out if you have “chemistry” to possibly be in a long-term relationship, and both parties want to find out if you are a good fit for each other.
Think of the ideal interview as an engaging conversation. Your role is to articulate how your skills, strengths, and experience can bring value to the organization. Ask the interviewers if you can take notes.
Watch your body language to show interest in the conversation and convey confidence. Be ready to back up your resume with further detail, and speak concisely.
After the interview
Write thank-you note to each interviewer within 2 days. Hand-written notes leave stronger impression. Customize your notes to relate to your conversation at the interview.
Reflect on your interview performance for opportunities to improve.
Types of interviews
Interview season is in full swing, and if you are new to the art of interviewing, you might not know about the different types of interviews—each one requiring a different approach.
Below, we examine the various types of interviews you may encounter while on the job hunt.
Whatever type of interview you encounter, the Career Development Office can help you prepare by discussing interview strategy and conducting practice interviews. Contact the CDO to perfect your interviewing techniques by scheduling an appointment through Handshake.
Phone, Skype and videoconference interviews
A growing contingent of top employers has cut costs by avoiding campus visits and candidate travel expenses. As a result, phone, Skype, and videoconference interviews have become common practice for the first round.
- Phone: On a phone interview you are unable to see and adjust to visual cues, so be sure to pay close attention to the interviewer’s tone and the substance of their questions.
- Skype: When answering a question, look into the webcam as if that were your interviewer's eye. Use a headset to ensure that your answers are heard as clearly as possible. You may find a short delay in Skype or videoconferencing, but do not let this distract you; remain polished and articulate.
In some instances, you will be interviewed by more than one person at the same time. In most cases group interviews have no more than four interviewers. Be sure to make eye contact with each interviewer and address each interviewer’s questions; additionally, be careful not to focus on just one interviewer.
The theory behind behavioral interviews is that past performance in a similar situation is the best predictor of future performance. Questions in this interview format are most likely influenced by important, sought-after competencies such as leadership, teamwork, and creativity. Think of specific examples that demonstrate your hard and soft skills to prepare for this interview.
Case method interviews
This type of interviewing is typically found in consulting companies, but it is now spreading into financial services and banking. Initially, you are presented with a hypothetical industry-related problem. There is no right answer; instead, the interviewer is evaluating your problem solving, analytical reasoning, and interpersonal skills. This type of interviewing can be daunting and intense, but with preparation you can participate in a case method interview with the utmost confidence. Refer to the Case Interviewing Guide for more information.
Task/testing method interviews
Some employers may give you a task or test to evaluate your skills during an interview. For example, a task may be giving a live presentation during your interview so your employer can gauge your communication skills. A test may be quantitative in nature such as completing a set of accounting problems so the interviewer can assess your accounting abilities.
Resources for download: S.T.A.R Guide to Interviewing
While you cannot know exactly what you will be asked in an interview, you be very thorough in your preparation by studying and anticipating questions based on the job description and company/industry research. Below are sample questions to help you prepare for your interviews.
Schedule an appointment in Handshake to conduct a mock interview and discuss interview strategies with a Career Coach.