An interview allows a company to see if you’re a good candidate for the position and lets you determine whether you’d like to work with that organization or company. Your goal is to highlight your skills and experience in ways that demonstrate your ability to do the job for which you’re applying.
Follow these steps whether you’re doing an in-person interview or a phone/video interview.
1. Read through the position description, and familiarize yourself with the list of desired qualifications.
2. If you haven’t done so already, contact three to five people and ask if they’d be willing to provide a positive reference for you. If they accept, make a list containing their full names, titles, and contact information.
3. Read through your cover letter, resume, and anything else you’ve sent the interviewer (writing sample, etc.).
4. Make a list of questions they might ask, and outline possible answers.
In general, there are two types of questions:
Informational/opinion questions: These questions ask you to explain your knowledge, experience, and motivation. Whenever possible, provide a concrete example, but stick with a short description of your character or philosophy about the question if an example isn’t appropriate. Limit your answers to work-related experiences or relevant experiences from hobbies or extra-curricular activities.
Some of the questions you may be asked . . .
Why do you feel you’re qualified for this position?
Why do you want to do this type of work?
What do you know about this company?
Tell me about yourself.
What are some of your weaknesses?
What motivates your work?
Why did you leave your last job?
What are your career goals?
Situation-based questions: These questions ask you to explain one specific example from your past or describe how you would respond in a particular situation. Answer the questions honestly without insulting or naming the people you’re using in your examples. When describing your actions in a hypothetical situation, include a brief example from your previous experiences whenever possible.
“Tell me about a time when . . .”
You’ve disagreed with your supervisor.
You’ve had to act as a representative outside the company.
You’ve had to work with a team.
A suggestion of yours was implemented in your company or workplace.
You’ve responded to negative feedback from a supervisor or client.
“What would you do if . . .”
You saw a colleague behaving unethically?
You thought there was a better way to accomplish a goal or carry out a task?
A colleague wasn’t pulling their weight on a group project?
Make a list of questions to ask the interviewer.
Plan enough questions to last half the interview time. The interviewer might not leave this much time for you to ask questions, but always fill the whole appointment time. Never have no questions – it shows that you are not enthusiastic about or interested in the job. If you truly have no new questions, re-ask old ones. The interviewer doesn’t know what you’ve asked other people, and you might get a different response.
How many people work in the department, and what are some of their roles?
How does this department fit into the company or organization?
What might a typical day look like?
What would be my main duties?
Who would I report to?
What to Bring
- Copy of your resume and cover letter on resume-quality paper
- List of references on resume-quality paper
- List of questions to ask the interviewer
- Copy of the writing sample you provided (if applicable)