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Interviewing Tips

Types of Interviews:

Traditional Interviews

Following are a sample of more traditional or standard interviewing questions that candidates would encounter in a variety of fields. These questions tend to be more subjective in nature, so there is not necessarily one "right" answer. Make sure your responses stay professional in nature and use specific examples when possible.
For example:
  • Tell me a little about yourself.
    Our tip: Employers often ask this question to see if you're the right fit for the job. Avoid generic and personal answers. Be specific and offer examples related to the job or industry that help you stand out.
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    Our tip: Employers look for sincere interest in the industry. Share your interests and skills. Discuss what you hope to learn from potential opportunities with the company.
  • What is your greatest weakness?
    Our tip: Employers check integrity. Be honest, but avoid highlighting a weakness that could affect your ability to do the job. Explain how you are working through the issue and finish with why you are qualified for the position nonetheless.
Other popular questions: 
  • Why did you decide to major in ____________?
  • How did you come to know about this company and what interests you in our work?
  • Tell me about a few of your accomplishments.
  • What makes you stand out from other candidates?

Behavioral Interviewing

The principle behind behavioral interview questions is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation. Employers use this method to obtain an objective set of facts to make employment decisions.

How to Respond: Behavioral interview questions require specific and detailed answers. You should identify a specific situation that relates to the question In a three-step process, (1) addressing the situation, (2) your action and (3) the outcome.

For example:
  • Share a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
  • Describe a time in which you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
  • Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision or responding to a difficult situation.
  • Give me an example of an important goal which you had set in the past, and tell me about your success in reaching it.
  • Describe the most significant or creative presentation which you have had to complete.
  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person who may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
  • How would you resolve a situation in which there was not consensus within a group?

Zingers!

"Zingers" are questions intended to test the applicant's ability to handle stress. They are rarely used in an interview, but a great way to prepare.

  • Who's the toughest employer you've ever had, and why?
  • Tell me about a situation that frustrated you at work.
  • Tell me about one of your projects that failed.
  • Why weren't your grades better?
  • Why weren't you more involved in extracurricular activities at school?
  • What would you do if I told you that I thought you were giving a very poor interview today?
Veruki, Peter. The 250 Job Interview Questions. Avon, MA: Adams Media Corporation, 1999.

Informational Interviews

An informational interview is a brief meeting with someone currently working in your field of interest that offers you an insider's perspective. The purpose of an informational interview is not to get a job. It's to better understand a particular position or industry and make potential connections in that field.

If you request an informational interview with an ASK volunteer, he/she will expect something more structured and focused than an informal chat. Treat the informational interview as a business meeting. Prior to the interview, research the company or career and develop a short list of questions that you would like to have answered. For a sample list of questions, visit Quintessential Careers' Informational Interviewing Tutorial.​​

Evaluation Form

Here's a sample evaluation form that might be used during a practice job interview.
You can review this ahead of time so you know what you might be reviewed on.

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