Congrats! You have landed an interview with an organization of interest! The content below can help you prepare to present your best self during the interview.
Online Assessments and Recorded Video Interviews are increasingly becoming the first step in interview processes. Online assessments ask a set of questions to determine if you meet certain criteria that the organization is seeking for the position. Candidates generally cannot prepare for these assessments.
Video interviews allow candidates to record answers to a set of questions that allow an organization to screen candidates en masse in ways that may have proven difficult to do in-person. Online assessments and video interviews are increasingly taking the place of an initial phone or virtual interview.
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/virtual interview is gauge your understanding of the role, assess 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.
TYPES OF INTERVIEWS:
Behavioral interviews are the most common across all industries, as they give an organization the opportunity to see how your past behavior can predict your future success. They tend to focus on situational questions such as “Describe a time when you encountered a conflict at work?” or “Can you tell me how you’ve dealt with competing deadlines in the past?” Success answers to these types of questions typically follow the STAR method.
Case interviews assess analytical thinking and problem-solving skills and are frequently associated with consulting type roles. Cases present a business problem that the candidate must answer by leading the interviewer through your methodology to demonstrate your critical thinking skills. This video provides a brief overview of case interviews, although it is important to note the format may differ between employers. There is also a general video on case interviewing that may be helpful.
Technical interviews ask candidates to solve equations on the spot and/or coding questions to demonstrate your technical skills, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. This Indeed.com “Guide to Understanding the Technical Interview” gives an outline of technical interviewing, while this University Career Center workshop provides an in-depth guide to mastering a technical interview. You may also like to check out this general guide to the job search process (including the interview) for IT-related roles.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR INTERVIEWS:
Research the organization to showcase your knowledge of the company during the interview and tailor your interview answers to fit what they are looking for.
Research the organization's mission, vision, values, history, current events, company culture, products and services, and more.
Use the organization's website, Glassdoor.com, Vault, LinkedIn, newspapers, journal articles, professional associations, social media, and conversations with current or former employees!
Prepare answers to common interview questions, such as “Tell me about yourself”, “Why do you want to work for _____organization?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” This LinkedIn Learning video gives 10 common interview questions with sample answers, while this page lists 125 interview questions and answers (with tips).
Use LinkedIn Learning to find helpful videos on interviewing, such as the Interview Master Class module. Remember, you can use LinkedIn to not only research an organization / interviewer (if you know who’ll be interviewing you) but also to access interview guides:
Click on the “Jobs” tab at the top of your LinkedIn page
Click on “Interview Prep”
Practice articulating your skills and experiences by first writing out and then practicing verbally why you are the best candidate for the job. Connect your skills and experiences to the job description in your answers to questions. Try to anticipate the interviewer's questions and prepare strong responses. Check out this tip sheet on how to emphasize your personal strengths in an interview.
Prepare questions to ask the interviewer that demonstrate to the interviewer that you are thoughtful, have a strong desire to learn more, and to show that you are a good fit for the organization. This page gives a selection of questions you may wish to consider asking. Try to limit the number of questions to 3 at most. While you want to show you have a genuine interest in the company, remember that the interviewer probably has a finite amount of time to conduct each interview!
As part of your prepared questions, you may want to assess the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) has prepared this Assessing Employers’ commitment to DEI guide with sample questions you might consider.
Be present for the interview (at the physical location, or, if a virtual interview, in a quiet space with your laptop/desktop set up) at least 10-15 minutes early. If the interview is an in-person interview, it is a good idea to have: copies of your resume and cover letter, directions to the interview, a printed interview schedule, parking info, pen, and paper.
For virtual interviews, you should consider the following:
Test your technology beforehand, including your WiFi connection, audio and microphone.
It is highly recommended that you turn your camera on during the interview to help build a rapport with your interviewer(s).
Try to choose a background with no distracting images/colors and hold the interview in a quiet space where you will not be disturbed. Try to make sure direct light is not focusing on your screen (sunlight or artificial light) or that you are not in shadow.
For a list of tips for virtual interviews, please see this page.
Wear attire that you feel is appropriate for a professional interview. If you are not sure, reach out to the employer to inquire about the dress code for interviews.
Use professional body language. Sit up straight, try to avoid moving around too much in front of the camera, use non-verbal active listening (nodding, smiling etc) and look into the camera.
Use the power of storytelling and the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to answer interview questions. When you are providing specific examples during your answers, always provide context for your interviewer, focus on what you did, and highlight the outcome or results of what happened. This website page gives an example of the STAR method in action.
Follow up after the interview with a thank-you note either via email and/or a handwritten note. Be clear and concise as you reiterate why you are the best candidate for the position and why you want to work for that organization. Always thank the interviewers for their time. Review these sample thank-you emails for ideas on how to craft your own message.