During an interview, the interviewer's task is to explore whether your qualifications will meet the employer's needs. To be successful, you need to create a good first impression and demonstrate your education, skills, and experiences.
Research the Organization
Learn as much as you can about the employer's mission, services, products, and future prospects.
Know What Employers Want
Employers are looking for "career ready" students and particularly value these eight competencies. As you prepare for your interview, think about how you can demonstrate these competencies in your responses.
Attend an Interviewing Workshop
View our calendar for workshop dates.
View our Interviewing Webshop
View the Prepare for Your Interview online resource tutorial to learn about interviewing.
Plan the Details
Print copies of your resume and a list of references to take with you. Make sure you know how to get to the location, taking into account the time of day and potential traffic.
Practice your answers to common interviewing questions as well as your delivery. Parents, professionals and friends are all good people to practice with. Virtual or in-person practice interview options are available through University Career Services.
Arrive five to 10 minutes early for your interview. If you are going to be late, make sure to call your interviewer.
Give a firm handshake, make eye contact, and be an attentive listener.
Use Specific Examples
This adds credibility to statements you make about your qualifications. It is better to make a few strong points than many brief, unrelated points. Go for quality over quantity.
Be prepared to talk about your career goals and how they relate to the job. Do you know what your weaknesses are? Can you talk about your strengths?
Prepare questions to ask ahead of time. Most interviewers will ask if you have any questions for them at the end of your interview. See the "More Resources" section on this page for sample questions.
Send a thank you email or hand written note within 24 hours of your interview to the primary interviewer and Cc or send copies to others you met with throughout the day.
If more than a week passes beyond the date that you were told you would hear back from the employer, call or email to politely inquire about the status.
Types of Interviews
Below are a few common types of interviews and tips for maximizing your chances of success in each!
Behavioral interviewing is based on the logic that past performance best predicts future performance. It is helpful to remember the STAR-F formula when answering behavior based questions:
S - Situation you were in
T - Task you faced
A - Action and role you took to respond to or solve the task
R - Result that occurred based on your action
F - Feeling you had about the accomplishment
When the interviewer asks, "Tell me about a time when you ..." or a similar question, begin by explaining the situation you were in and then elaborate on the situation by going through each part of the STAR-F formula.
Case interviews are often used by management consulting and investment banking interviewers to observe your analytical ability and problem solving skills. Visit McKinsey & Company's Interview Prep page for practice cases and problem solving tests.
With the hectic schedule that many employers keep and the high cost of travel, do not be surprised if your initial interview is over the phone. If so, here are a few tips:
- Find a quiet place to talk.
- Speak clearly so that you are easy to hear and understand.
- Do not over talk or under talk.
- Do not be afraid to take a few seconds to think about a question before answering.
- Smile while you speak. It actually makes you sound more personable!
- If you miss the call, return it immediately.
- Be mindful of your voicemail message.
Like a phone interview, Skype or other forms of virtual interviewing allow employers to save on time and travel expenses. Below are a few tips on this type of interviewing:
- Choose a well-lit, clean, and organized location.
- Ensure the light is hitting your face not your back. Having your back to the sun will make it difficult to see you.
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer(s) by looking into the camera not at the picture on the screen.
- Dress professionally. Yes, even for a virtual interview!
- Make sure you have a strong internet connection and a fully charged battery. If an error occurs, you can seriously impress the interviewer by being prepared for the situation.
- Do not open a browser window to your favorite website. It might be a habit, but you need to stay focused.
What to Wear to Your Interview
Studies show that 65% of communication is visual. Be sure to dress professionally so you can make the best-possible impression. Unless the interviewer explicitly says otherwise, you should always wear a suit to each of your interviews.
Wearing professional attire to your interview isn't just about looking good. It shows your interviewer that you care about the interview and took the time to look your best.
- Wear a suit! Choose conservative colors: blue, brown, black, or gray. No one will judge you for showing up in a suit, but it may not look good if you are the only one who is not wearing one. And don't forget to get it dry-cleaned a few days before the interview to get wrinkles out.
- Skirts should at least reach the knee.
- Wear closed toed shoes, even in the summer.
- Keep the jewelry minimal.
- Travel light! Do not carry a lot of items with you. Just bring a portfolio, business cards, notepad, pen, and anything else the interviewer requested.
Schedule a Practice Interview
Schedule a practice interview with your Industry Advisor by calling our office, or sign up for one with an employer during Practice Interview Day by checking our calendar for dates or logging into HireMason and checking “Campus Interviews I Qualify for."
Use Interview Stream and your webcam to practice pre-made interviews or customize your own.
Sample Interview Questions
Rehearse the answers to these common interview questions below on your own or with family or friends:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What is one of your weaknesses?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Why should I hire you?
- Where do you want to be 10 years from now?
- What are your salary requirements?
- What do you consider to be one of your strengths?
- How do your qualifications relate to our position?
- What specific skills and experiences do you ideally look for in the person filling this position?
- How would you describe a typical day in this job?
- What qualities and characteristics does it take to be successful in this position?
- What needs to be accomplished in this position in the next 6 to 12 months?
- What significant changes do you foresee in the future for this position and the company?
- How does one advance in the organization?
- What kind of training do new hires receive?
- How much travel is normally expected?
- What kind of support does this position receive from coworkers, supervisors, and management?
- What kinds of programs are offered for professional development?
- What is the work environment like?
- What else can I tell you about my qualifications?
- When can I expect to hear from you?