A job interview is the result of a combined professional résumé and a successful job-search plan. While your résumé markets your qualifications on paper, the interview provides an excellent opportunity to market your credentials in person. During the interview, the interviewer evaluates your background, skills and potential for success in a limited period of time in order to determine if you would be a good “fit” for the organization. Since it is a two-way channel, the interview also allows you to find out more about the organization and the job, which will help you decide if you are still interested in applying for the position.
Interviewing Preparation Tips
Spend some time assessing your own strengths and weaknesses. For each area of strength, you should be able to demonstrate/give examples on how it was developed and utilized. As for your areas of weakness, you have to know what you are doing to improve in that area. It is advisable to list on a sheet of paper all your skills, abilities, accomplishments and weaknesses; and to prepare examples from your past experience as to how you developed, utilized or improved these qualities. Relating your areas of strength to the required qualifications is a key factor in gaining the interviewer’s attention.
Review details about the type of work/position for which you will be interviewed. If you are interviewing for a marketing position, be aware of the typical job duties/responsibilities for this position as well as the required qualifications to perform the job tasks. If you are not clear about the nature of the position you will be interviewed for, make sure to use your network of contacts to help you develop a better understanding of the job.
You should find out as much as possible about the employer. Learn about the company from its website, annual reports, brochures, and other sources such as LinkedIn. You should be able to know the company’s exact name, history, purpose, services/products, major accomplishments, competitors, the approximate number of employees, where its branches are located, latest market trends and its future prospects.
Practice allows you to perform at your best during the interview. Practicing responses to specific anticipated questions will make you feel comfortable, at ease and confident. The best option is to practice a mock interview with a career professional at the Career Center.
"References furnished upon request" is a statement many of you write at the end of your resume. Interviewers could ask you at the interview about your references. In case this should happen, be ready to submit a list of your references and contact information. Choose professors or business people that know you well and would speak favorably on your behalf. Make sure they agree to act as your reference before the interview. Send a copy of your updated resume along with a cover letter, if any, to your references before you go to the interview.
60% of job applicants are screened out because their appearance does not fit the organizational image. You should dress like other employees in the organization. If you are well-groomed and neatly dressed, your appearance will inspire basic confidence in your work habits.
You need to find out the approximate travel time to the interview location, check out the best route and parking locations. Make sure that you arrive five to 10 minutes before the interview.
There is a two-fold purpose for asking intelligent, meaningful questions during the interview. First, you need to find out additional first-hand information about the organization and the position to which you are applying in order to make a well-informed decision when given a job offer. In addition, the interviewer will be making judgments about your personality, competencies, and interests based in part on the type of questions you ask.
Interview Do's and Don'ts
- Introduce yourself confidently with a smile on your face.
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
- Give nonverbal feedback by nodding or smiling as the interviewer talks.
- Listen carefully to the interviewer's questions. Pause for seconds to think about what you want to say. There is no need to come up with quick responses.
- Tell the truth and give honest answers.
- Support your answers with examples of your accomplishments whenever possible.
- Answer problem questions in a positive way. When asked about your weaknesses, present them positively.
- Use action verbs to describe your skills and experiences. For example say 'I supervised', 'I analyzed', or 'I implemented.'
- Ask relevant questions that will reflect your interest in the organization and the position. Your questions should make the interviewer aware that you have done some research on the company.
- Send a thank-you email after the interview.
- Be gracious and polite in all your dealings with everyone in the company.
- Take other people with you to the interview like a friend or a family member.
- Go late or too early for your appointment.
- Address the interviewer by his/her first name.
- Fiddle with your keys, hair, tie, watch, pen, or any other item.
- Keep your hands in your pockets or fold your arms across your chest.
- Eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum even if the interviewer does so.
- Criticize your previous or current employer.
- Use phrases such as 'I don't know', 'I don't think so', 'Why do you want to know that', or similar statements.
- Contradict yourself in your answers.
- Answer a question if you don't understand it fully. (Ask for further clarification)
- Indicate that you are desperate to get a job.
- Bring up the issue of salary and benefits. You should negotiate the salary and benefits only when asked by the employer about the salary you expect or when you are given an offer.
- Make a decision to accept the job immediately upon getting an offer.
Virtual or online Interviews have been used for quite some years now for many reasons, one of them is the proximity of locations of different parties involved in the interviewing process but as well the rising trend of using virtual interviewing platforms that record interviewer’s answers and provides analytics of test results as well. With the rise of remote work because of the COVID-19 pandemic and safety measures becoming more strict, virtual interviews have become the norm.
During a virtual interview, you can experience any type of interview; it could be a screening interview, a panel interview, a case interview, a presentation. You could be meeting one interviewer or multiple interviewers from different locations.
- You need to be familiar with the virtual platforms you will use whether it is Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or Skype; familiarize yourself with the platform and download needed apps.
- If you are expected to use a video interview software, such as HireVue, you need to access the platform earlier and practice answering the questions. It is not easy to do one-way interviews and you will need to be comfortable with it and adjust the timing of answers.
- Dress up for interviews as if you are going to the company in person. Make sure to have a proper background or use virtual background if it is possible.
- Make sure you are in a quiet environment with no interruption and have a backup network option in case your network connection fails you.
- Have a copy of your resume and other documents that you used in the application handy.
- Try out the device you will connect with whether a laptop or phone and make sure the mic and camera are working well.
Case Interview Preparation
During a business interview, the interviewer will present a challenging problem/case that the interviewee needs to examine and come up with a solution on how to solve the case. A case interview is used to assess many of the same characteristics that interviewers look for in the standard interview. Therefore, it is much more important that you clearly communicate your abilities and fit with the company you are interviewing with, than that you come up with the “correct” answer to the case. In general, the case interview will be used to evaluate you along three primary dimensions: creativity and common sense, analytic ability, and poise and enthusiasm.
To get a sense of your level of creativity and common sense the interviewer will be judging your ability to:
- Conceptualize problems
- Develop innovative solutions to business situations
- Make assumptions, see patterns, generate hypotheses and draw conclusions from only partial information
Your analytic ability will be assessed based on how well you:
- Provide structure to unstructured problems
- Simplify problems into their individual components
- Apply transparent and logical thinking to each component
- Synthesize all of the pieces into a logical solution
And last, but not least, the interviewer will be trying to get a sense of your degree of poise and enthusiasm. To score well in this area it is important that you:
- Seem excited by the case, which is akin to the kinds of
- issues and problems consultants face
- Are not intimidated or daunted by the problem presented in the case
- Assimilate information quickly and effectively
- Ask insightful questions
- Take notes. Be sure to take careful notes on the numbers and facts given.
- Make no assumptions. Your interviewer will inevitably leave things out of the case presented to you.
- Ask questions; ask as many intelligent questions as you need to obtain an accurate picture of the relevant facts in the case .
- Listen to the answers you get.
- Maintain eye contact as it demonstrates confidence and authority.
- Take time to think through your answer. One minute of deep thinking should be fine.
- Layout a road map for your interviewer. Tell the interview which approaches you are going to take.
- Think out loud and explain your reasoning so the interviewer can assess your performance.
- Present your thinking in a clear, logical manner. Use frameworks and business concepts where appropriate to organize your answers.
- Quickly summarize your conclusions.
Meet a Career Advisor
Our career advisors are available to meet with you individually and assist you through interview tips, mock interview or management consulting case interview appointments. Confidentiality of personal information, assessment outcomes, and credentials is guaranteed. You can make use of this service as early as your freshman year.
You can schedule an advising appointment on your CareerWEB account | Counseling Appointment Section.
Attend a Workshop
The Career Center offers the following workshops:
Ace the Interview
So you have landed the interview but there is just one catch: It’s virtual. As the processes of hiring change, many employers will choose to keep their interviews virtual. If virtual interviewing is a new concept or the idea seems daunting to you, this workshop is for you. Learn about the different types of virtual interviews, how to effectively prepare for them, impress your future employer, and stand out on the screen.
Ace the Interview by Professionals
The interview is a valuable opportunity to market your qualifications to an employer. This workshop will equip you with strategies to ace behavioral interviews and anticipate and interpret difficult questions. You will learn how to effectively prepare for interviews and follow-up.
This workshop is for students who are interested in the consulting field and preparing for case interviews. During the workshop students will get more acquainted with what consultants look for during case interviews, how the case interview typically runs, tips on how to crack it, and useful resources that will guide students in their preparation.
For details about the workshops, refer to CareerWEB | Events Section.