It is never too early to start preparing for an interview. They tend to pop up at unexpected times. Review the resources below to learn about your rights, responsibilities, and to gain tips for excelling at your next interview. 

 

The best preparation comes before the interview. Review the Interview Checklist to make sure you are prepared for the interview. 

Create a great first impression: 

Expectations:

 

Phone or Virtual Interviews may be your first and/or second round of interviewing, and these are usually conducted with a recruiter or a human resources professional.  The purpose of the phone interview is to make sure you know what the job entails, to get a sense of your prior experiences, and to determine if you are qualified to move forward in the process. 

In-Person Interviews can take place on-site at the organization's office or on campus (if it is through the On-Campus Interviewing Program).  They can be one-on-one interviews with the hiring manager, panel interviews, or an intensive full-day of interviewing with a variety of people from the organization and can use various formats. 

Online Assessments or Recorded Video Interviews are increasingly becoming the first step in the interview process.  Online assessments ask you a set of questions to determine if you meet certain criteria that the organization is seeking for the position.  Video interviews record your answers virtually to a set number of questions.  Online assessments and video interviews sometimes take the place of the initial phone or virtual interview. 

Review more resources offered by the University Career Center. 

 

Other Interview Formats

 

Behavioral interviews are the most common across all industries, as they give the organizations the opportunity to see how your past behavior can predict your future success. (MOST COMMON)

Case interviews are interviews that assess how you solve problems.  You will be given a case with a problem and it is up to you to walk the interviewer through your methodology to demonstrate your critical thinking skills.

Technical interviews are done if you are applying for a technical position and you may be asked to solve equations on the spot to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. 

Guesstimate questionsHow to Ace ‘Guesstimate’ Interview Questions (used in consulting, finance, etc.)

Interview assessmentsTips for Pass a Pre-Employment Assessment, Career Cloud reviews the top assessments being used before the interview and tips for excelling 

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Overall employers are trying to assess the aspects below during the interview. 

  • Why are you interested in the position and the company?
  • Why should the company be interested in you?
  • How will you fit in with the company and other team members?
  • What is your orientation toward life and work?
  • Do you have the skills, knowledge, and experience to do the job?

Review the tips listed below each sample interview question to identify the motivation behind commonly asked questions. 

Tell me a little about yourself.

Talk about your experience, qualifications, and accomplishments – avoid speaking about your childhood, weaknesses or hobbies. Employers will take note of how you start your response, so consider beginning with your “tagline” and impress them by mentioning the skills/qualities they are requiring.

Why do you want to work as a . . . . . . . . . . ?

Share some of the details of the job and why they interest you, as well as how your interest has developed. 

What qualifications do you have?  What skills can you bring?

Make a list of your top ten skills. You can pull from this list to share a story that demonstrates each. The concrete example will really drive your point home!

Tell me about my company. Why are you interested in this organization? (i.e. Why do you want to work for us?)

Before you go on the interview, visit the organization’s website or use the Terrapins Connect to locate an alum to ask more about the organization. Identify the organization’s size, key products or services, the markets where it competes, and its overall reputation.

How many other positions have you approached?

This question allows the employer to determine if you want a job anywhere or with them and how much time they have before you accept another position. Consider answering with something like… “Several for back-up, but this is where I truly would like to work. Everything we have discussed today is exactly what I have been looking for.”

How long do you plan to work here? What are your plans after this internship?

They are trying to assess your general interest in the field or examine if you are goal oriented. If you have applied to a full-time position, state that you hope to establish a career there. If it is a short term assignment, list a couple of activities you are considering after the internship or fellowship closes (it doesn’t have to be written in stone, just show them you have been considering your options).

Walk me through your resume.

Start with a summary statement- “I have completed two internships and one volunteer position working in the international development area. These experiences allowed me to gain ….. skills. Specifically, as an intern with…”. Selectively mention duties that are relevant to the position, but remember to keep your response to two minutes or less.

What did you like most about that job?

Your answer here will highlight what you value in a work environment/duties/management. Consider sharing some of your work collaboration accomplishments, favored work duties, or the way things were managed.

Tell me about your education or training.

Explain your education path and discuss any classes, projects, and/or research, or internship experiences where you gained skills related to the position at hand.

 

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PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT 

Schedule a mock interview to practice. Tips for preparing for a mock interview

InterviewStream is an easy-to-use online program that uses on-screen, videotaped interview scenarios to allow you to practice your answers to common interview questions.  This is a great option for first-time practice and it can be done from the comfort of your residence hall, home, etc. Create your account. Offered by the University Career Center.

Sample Interview Questions

Behavioral interview Traditional interview Brain teaser and guesstimates

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