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Career Services interview

Introductions

  • Smile and relax!
  • Offer a firm handshake, matching the interviewer's grip, pressing palm-to-palm
  • Make eye contact and repeat each person's name (it will help you to remember)
  • Sit where instructed, maintaining good posture and keeping your feet on the floor

Types of Questions

Traditional

Traditional interview questions involve information contained on your resume, your interest in the position, and basic information on your background, strengths, and weaknesses. Examples include:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why are you interested in this position? company/organization?
  • Which classes do you like best/least and why?
  • Tell me about your internship experience.
  • What is your greatest strength?/weakness?

Behavioral

Behavioral interview questions are open-ended questions which require you to provide a specific example of a situation, how you handled it, and what ultimately resulted from your actions.  The focus is on your behavior in a specific role or situation - avoid speaking in generalities or speaking about what your co-workers or classmates did.  This information does not help the employer to know about your competencies for the position. 

Many students fret over choosing exactly the right example, and, while it is advisable to choose an example as relevant to the job/career area as possible, the most important thing to do is convey how your actions demonstrated the skill set or experience sought by the employer.  Using the following STAR guidelines can help you to remember to include all necessary information in your response:

STAR Guidelines

  • Situation - Choose a specific situation which demonstrates the competency desired by the employer.
  • Task - What task did you need to perform in this situation?
  • Action - What action did you take? What did you do and how did you go about doing it?
  • Result- What happened? What was the ultimate result of your performance in this situation?
View sample behavioral questions (pdf).

Questions for the Employer

  • Prepare five or six questions to ask the employer.  Most interviewers will offer you time at the end of the interview to ask your questions; some may prefer to answer your questions when pertinent throughout the interview.
  • You may refer to your written list of questions at this point.
  • Candidates typically inquire about the culture of the organization, management style, environment/atmosphere, duties involved, work schedule, evaluation methods, and professional development (training) opportunities.
  • View sample questions to ask the employer (pdf).

Etiquette

  • Be aware of any nervous habits you may have and avoid using fillers (um, like, so, well)
  • Refrain from taking notes, or referring to any notes you may have, during the interview (except as noted above)
  • Do not remove your suit coat (even if it is hot and the interviewer tells you it is okay)
  • Do not bring any type of food/beverage to the interview, including gum or mints
  • Never ask about salary or benefits (sick/vacation time, retirement, healthcare); wait for the employer to broach the topic first

Closing

  • If not already offered, be sure to ask for business cards (contact information for thank-you letters).
  • Follow the interviewer's lead to stand up and end the interview; thank everyone and shake hands.
  • After leaving the premises, take a few moments to write down your thoughts and anything that stood out for you about the position - this will be helpful in writing your thank-you letter.