Can you do the job? Will you do the job? Will you fit in?

Preparation

Before spending hours searching the internet for questions and “right” answers, read the job description and research the company. Consider how your skills, knowledge, and personality fit with the company. 

Types of Interviews

Screening Interview

Usually conducted over the phone, you will be asked general questions and specific questions aimed at assessing your ability to do the job and fit with the organization. These are generally short interviews, 10-20 minutes.

Behavioral and Situational Interview

The purpose is to see how you have handled work related situations in the past. The premise is that your past behavior will determine your future behavior. These kinds of interviews are common. You will be asked general and specific questions aimed at assessing your ability to do the job and fit for the organization or company. 

The Panel Interview 

This kind of interview can be intimidating. Think of it as a way to connect with several people at once and improve your chances for success. Even if you are not connecting with one person, chances are you will connect with others. Shake each person’s hand as they are being introduced. Make pleasant eye contact. Look at each person as you respond to questions. Start your response by looking at the person who asked the question, then look at the other members of the panel. No one likes to feel left out.

Points to Remember

Internet Connection

It is common to conduct an interview using the internet. Programs such as Skype, GChat, and Slack allow employers to interview candidates from afar. Make sure you have the appropriate technology and internet connection. You should pick a quiet room away from roommates, barking dogs and other distractions. The screen should be level with your eyes not up your nose. Look at the camera not the screen, so it appears you are looking at the employers. Remove any inappropriate items from view of employers. Also, check your lighting so your face isn’t shadowed.

Dress appropriately

Although many employers are becoming more liberal in their standard of dress and appearance, let basic good taste be your guide. Research the company and dress expectations for the field of work. 

Watch your body language and tone of voice

Crossing your arms in front of you might mean you are feeling defensive. Good eye contact is important. Don’t scratch that itch under your arm, play with your hair, or fidget. Be aware of your posture—sit up straight with your shoulders back—it will make you look and feel more confident.

Dreaded Interview Questions

Tell me about yourself  

Keep it brief—two minutes. Write it down and practice. Include information such as, your leadership and interpersonal skills, dependability, and your inspiration to get into the field. Tie it all in to how these qualities align with the job description and what the specific company will value.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

When preparing for your interviews, start by doing some solid, honest self-assessment. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses related to the job, your background, academic performance, vocational interests, career aspirations, and values. When asked about your weaknesses do not feel compelled to share personal information such as going through a divorce, family problems, or illness. These are not supposed to be used against you, but can influence how an employer may “feel” about you. Always provide evidence of strengths, awards given, or promotions. See Common Questions on the back for examples regarding how to answer the “Strengths and Weaknesses” question.

What are your major strengths?

Think about what the company needs. Is it an ability to work with a wide range of people? Communication skills? Attention to detail? Persistence? Provide evidence of your skills. Did you receive a promotion, supervise employees, awards or recognition that your references can further explain?

What is your major weakness?

Possibly the most dreaded interview question.  Keep it short. Do not try to explain it away. Are there relevant skills that you feel are a weakness? Is there something you are proactively working to improve? 

  • “I tend to take work home with me. I’m learning to make my work time more productive and efficient.” 
  • “I’m learning how to be a better listener. I tend to want to jump in and express my opinion.” 
  • “I have a tendency to be over-organized. I’m learning how to let some things go and concentrate on the more important aspects of my job by prioritizing my assignments.” 

How do you deal with conflict?

“I have confidence in my ability to handle conflict. If I have a problem with a coworker, I‘ll do everything I can to work it out with that person. Conflict with customers can usually be easily resolved. I‘m an excellent communicator; I listen to what the customer is saying and acknowledge his/her concern. I paraphrase back to the customer what s/he said to make sure I understand the situation. I explain what I can do to help—if I am unable to help, I will find someone who can.”

Common Interview Questions

Personal

1

Tell me about yourself.

2

What do you know about our organization (products or services)?

3

Why did you choose to interview with our organization?

4

What do you consider your greatest strengths?

5

Have you ever had any failures? What did you learn from them?

6

Of what accomplishments are you most proud?

7

Who are your role models?  Why?

8

What motivates you most in a job?

9

Have you ever had difficulty getting along with a former professor/ supervisor/ co-worker and how did you handle it?

10

Why should we hire you rather than another candidate?

11

Where do you want to be in five years? Ten years?

Education

1

Why did you choose your major?

2

Why did you choose to attend your college or university?

3

In which campus activities did you participate?

4

Which classes in your major did you like the best?

5

Do your grades accurately reflect your ability? Why or why not?

6

What job-related skills have you developed?

Experience

1

 Did you work while going to school?

2 What did you learn from these work experiences?

3

 What did you enjoy most about your last employment? Least?

4

 Have you ever quit a job? Why?

5

Give an example of a situation in which you provided a solution to an employer.

6

Give an example of a time in which you worked under deadline pressure.

7 Have you ever done any volunteer work? What kind?
8 How do you think a former supervisor would describe your work?


1

Do you prefer to work under supervision or on your own?

2

What kind of supervisor do you prefer?

3

Would you be successful working with a team?

4

Do you prefer large or small organizations? Why?

5

How do you feel about working in a structured environment?

6

Are you able to work on several assignments at once?

7

How do you feel about working overtime?

8

How do you feel about travel?

9

How do you feel about the possibility of relocating?

10

Are you willing to work flextime?

STARR Method of Answering Behavior Questions

S - Situation and/or
T - Task

Explain the specific situation you were involved in and/or task you were completing. This should typically be the shortest part of your response. Provide enough detail so the interviewer will have a solid understanding of your situation, but not so much that the interviewer is distracted by the details

A - Action

In this part of the response, talk about what you did in response to your situation. How did you react? What did you do to solve a potential problem? Be Specific about skills/abilities you used.

R - Result

Tell the interviewer about how the situation was resolved. What happened as a result of your action/response to the situation?

R - Relate

Tell the interviewer about how this experience will benefit you and the employer in the position for which you are applying. What did you learn that could be applied?

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