Interviewing

Interviewing is your opportunity to shine.It gives you a chance to clarify information on your resume, display your intelligence, talent and enthusiasm.You are there to convince the employer that you have something special to offer the company.

Are you ready to interview?Take this quiz to find out. (Courtesy of Thomas More College)


Interview Preparation

Know yourself

  • Establish your career goals and define your job interests.What job do you really want?

  • Identify your abilities and strengths.What skills do you have?What skills will you need for your ideal job?

  • Review your resume.

Know the employer

  • Research the organization.

  • What is the companies history?What are their products or services?Company philosophy? Standing in their industry?

  • Several websites may be of help in your research (See our Resources page for examples)

  • Log in to Lightning JobSource for employer information.

  • Some facts to gather before interviewing

    • Key people in the organization

    • Major products and/or services

    • Size--in terms of sales and employees

    • Other office locations

    • Organizational structure

    • Competitors

    • Company's view by clients, suppliers, competitors

    • Latest news

  • See Common Questions to Ask the Interviewer

Know the position

Learn the duties and responsibilities, types of training provided, location, travel requirements and career progression

Prepare your questions for the interview

  • Be sure you ask questions!

  • This shows your interest and your knowledge about the company.

Prepare your responses to anticipated questions

  • See some common questions below.

  • Answer the questions clearly--do not assume you know what the interviewer wants.

  • If asked to city an example or experience, think of an event and cite it.Examples are invaluable.

Dress in business attire

Wear business suit with appropriate accessories, conservative make-up and jewelry, and avoid cologne or perfume.

Be on time

  • Or better yet, be 10-15 minutes early.

  • Be sure you know where you are going and where you are able to park before the interview day.

Use proper business etiquette

  • Maintain direct eye contact.

  • Be aware of body language.

  • Introduce yourself and shake hands firmly.

  • Remember interviewer's name and use it.

  • Use correct grammar and speak in complete sentences.

  • Maintain erect posture and avoid distracting mannerisms.

  • Speak distinctly.

  • Demonstrate confidence and comfort level by smiling.

  • Present your qualifications in an organized manner.

  • Emphasize your work experience and academic achievements.

  • Be honest, self-confident, positive, enthusiastic and energetic.

  • Be a good listener.

  • Do not dominate the interview.

  • Be yourself.

Follow-up after the interview

  • Review the hard-to-answer questions and plan better answers for the next interview.

  • Write a thank you letter to the interviewer.

  • Follow-up again in writing or by telephone to keep your name before the employer.

Common Interview Questions & Styles

In answering all questions, try to utilize the "STAR" method, describe a s ituation that includes a t ask that needs to be accomplished, the a ction that was taken to accomplish the task, and the r esult of that action

Traditional (information gathering)

  • Tell me about yourself. Your professional self; focus on your academics and experience.Think about the top 5 things that you want the interviewer to know about you.

  • Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?Why did you choose this university?

  • What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction?Why?

  • What are your long term and short term career objectives?

  • What do you consider your greatest strengths and weaknesses? Don't just tell your strengths, related them to the position.Don't just tell your weaknesses, explain how you are working to improve.

  • How do you make yourself indispensable to a company? Interviewer is looking for both technical and interpersonal competence.

  • What do you know about our company and why did you decide to seek a position with this company?How did you prepare for this interview?

  • How would you describe yourself?How would a friend/professor/employer who knows you well describe you?

  • Describe your organizational techniques.How do you prioritize your schedule?

  • What are your salary requirements?Why should we hire you?

  • What are some examples of activities and surroundings that motivate you?

Behavior Based (based on previous experiences)

  • Describe a project you were involved in that required analytical/problem-solving skills.What was your role?Were you able to influence/negotiate others?

  • Describe a situation where you had difficulty relating to another person in a group that may have resulted in confrontation.How did you handle it? The interviewer is looking for the candidate's ability to be sensitive of the needs of others but can still influence them.

  • What major academic/work problems have you encountered and how did you deal with them?

  • Tell me about a time your course load was heavy.How did you complete all of your work? Employers are looking for a plan-ahead type of individual, relate explanation to a situation.

  • Describe a mistake/failure that resulted in real personal growth for you.

  • What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction?Why?

  • How do you accept direction and, at the same time, maintain a critical stance regarding your ideas and values?

  • Tell me how you handled an ethical dilemma.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a problem with no rules or guidelines in place.

Situational (future-oriented questions)

  • If you were a supervisor, how would you respond to a client that complained your employee misrepresented your company's product?

  • Our company policy states that the email may only be used for work-related business.What would you do if your top producing team member were using his/her email for personal business?

Common questions to ask the interviewer

  • What is the principal function of this department?

  • Describe the duties and responsibilities in this job.

  • What are you looking for in a successful candidate?What capabilities do you feel are most important?

  • How do the people in the job allocate their time?

  • What are the means/steps of promotions from this position?

  • What are the main problem areas that need attention in this position?What role would you like me to play in solving any problems?

  • To whom would I report? What is his/her management style?

  • What objectives would I be expected to meet or surpass?Where can this position lead?How would I best learn the policies and procedures that will enable me to function effectively?

  • Which are the job holder's most important relationships: clients, customers, employees, others?

  • What is this company's five year/ten year plan?

  • What learning opportunities (training, education, professional development) are there?

If you have further questions regarding interviewing, please contact the Career Center.