During the Interview

Do: 

  • Draw from your experience, skills and motivations
  • Demonstrate sincere interest; project energy and enthusiasm
  • Ask for clarification if unsure of the question
  • Pay attention to body language - use good posture, smile and relax to show confidence and maintain good eye contact
  • Find out the hiring timeline without pressing for an early decision

Don't:

  • NEVER criticize previous employers or colleagues; it reflects badly on you
  • Don't give repetitive or generalized examples
  • Don't compare yourself to other candidates

Answering Common Interview Questions 

  • Tell me about yourself.
    • Purpose: Allows you to introduce yourself as a professional and share key traits you want an employer to know
    • Answer: Craft a professional synopsis that will serve as a launching pad for the interview 
      • First, talk about the Present - share the major and degree you are seeking; your GPA; what job/assistantship you are 
      • transitioning out of; etc. 
      • Then, talk about the Past – mention previous experiences, volunteering, activities, and internships that emphasize 2-3 skills/strengths that make you a competitive candidate
      • Lastly, talk about the Future – focus on how your goals align with the company and how you will further the work of the organization
  • Why this company/why this position?
    • Purpose: To identify a candidate whose passions, interests and strengths will benefit the company
    • Answer: Communicate your interest and ability by demonstrating what you know of the organization/role and how you envision stepping into that position/organization and advancing the work of the company
    • Avoid: Generalizations that could be broadly applied to multiple organizations
  • What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
    • Purpose: To understand the positive and/or negative impact you may have on an organization
    • Answer - Strengths:  Choose the right strength that is most relevant and draw from experience, talents, soft skills, education/training & personality. Only focus on 1 or 2 strengths and have examples to show how you employed those strengths in action
    • Answer - Weaknesses: Provide one thoughtful answer that highlights an area you are improving and would have no impact on the work you are doing at an organization
  • Behavior Based Interview Questions 
    • Purpose: To learn more about your past experiences which are good indicators of how you will likely perform in the future
    • Answer: Think P.A.R.   A complete answer to a behavior-based question must explain the task or problem for which you were responsible, the specific action you took, and the results of your actions. Your answer must contain all of these components to be a PAR answer. Tell the interviewer a "story" (with a beginning, a middle, and an end) about how you used a practical skill.
  • Technical Questions
    • Purpose: Assessing that you have the skillset to do the needed responsibilities
    • Answer: Listen carefully to understand if they are asking for a specific answer or to better understand how you can demonstrate that skill in action and answer appropriately 
    • Tips: If you don't know the answer to a question, let them know how you would acquire the needed information to 
  • Do you have any questions for us?
    • Purpose: Allows you to determine if the organization is the right fit for you. This also allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and your interest in understanding the position
    • Answer: Brainstorm questions that either ask about the recruiter, position, division, company or industry and that would help in determining your interest in the company
    • Avoid: Questions about salary, vacation, benefits, evaluations of your interview performance, or that could easily be found in the job description or online.