What To Expect

Depending on the position you are applying for, you can expect at least one of these interview types:

  • Screening
    This interview usually lasts 30-45 minutes and can take place in person or on the phone. It is used to determine whether the company will invite you to continue in the selection process.
  • Video screening
    One-way process where company asks you to video record you answering questions that you send to them to screen.
  • Phone or Skype interview
    Make sure you are in a quiet location, able to focus on the call and speak clearly. Have your resume, job description, references and notes by the phone. If using a cell phone, make sure it is charged and you are in a location where you have good reception. Have a backup plan in case of a dropped call.
  • On-site interview
    This interview is conducted at a company facility. If travel is involved, the company may offer to pay for your expenses; do not assume this is the case. Keep receipts and carefully follow the guidelines provided by the company.
  • Interview over a meal
    This interview is not a social function, it is part of the formal process. Manners count! Alcohol may be offered or available. It's okay not to drink, but if you do, be conservative in your consumption.

The interview may also vary in format:

  • One-on-one interview
    One interviewer and one interviewee is one interview style. You may have individual interviews with several members of an organization.
  • Panel interview
    You will be interviewed by a committee, usually between 2-6 people. When you enter the room, shake each interviewers’ hand while introducing yourself. It is important to make eye contact with all interviewers. At the end, shake their hands again while thanking them.
  • Group interview
    You will be interviewed simultaneously with other candidates. The interviewer will take turns asking questions while the other candidates observe. Show your listening skills by paying attention to what others say and try not to repeat their responses. Also be prepared for group projects. If your group is assigned a project, use this opportunity to show your leadership skills by keeping the group on track and completing the project.
  • Combined group panel
    You and other candidates are interviewed by a committee. Participate using the same skills as those needed for a group interview.
  • All-day Interviews
    This may consist of several individual or panel interviews. It could include meals and tours.

Some employers use the following strategies as part of the interview process. You may be asked to:

  • submit or evaluate a writing sample
  • give a presentation to the interview committee (often using electronic media)
  • take an assessment to evaluate potential fit
  • engage in an active simulation or assessment to demonstrate problem-solving capabilities
  • answer technical questions

Day of the Interview

It is likely you will be nervous before your interview. Here are some tips:

  • Personal hygiene
    Shower and be well groomed.
  • Leave time for mishaps
    Traffic, road construction, flat tire—leave time in the event that something happens.
  • Eat prior to the interview
  • Reduce sweaty palms
    Keep a tissue in your pocket to wipe your hands before shaking hands.
  • Be courteous to everyone at the interview location
    You don’t know who will be interviewing you, so be polite and pleasant to everyone. 
  • Arrive early
    Arrive at the interview site approximately 15 minutes before your interview. Do not be late! If you know you will be late, call and let the interviewer know.
The Beginning
  • Casual conversation
    The interview begins with light conversation meant to put you at ease.  Use this time to build rapport.
The Middle
  • Down to business
    The actual interview begins when the interviewer describes the position and organization. Listen for any recent changes and how the interviewer refers to the position.
  • Employer will ask questions about skills, education, training and work history. Many standard or behavioral-based interview questions will be asked.
  • Be selective about the experiences you present. Always emphasize the positive, but NEVER exaggerate or falsify information.
  • Show confidence in your responses even if they ask about a skill or experience you don’t possess (example: “I have not worked with that particular software package but have worked with similar packages such as _____ and feel confident I can learn this program in minimal time”) .
  • When asked about your weaknesses, do not reveal a major flaw and be cautious about revealing a personal problem. Talk about an area you would like to improve and mention the steps you’ve taken to improve it as well as the results.
  • Be truthful about your willingness to travel or relocate.
The End
  • The end of the interview usually includes the interviewer asking if YOU have any questions. The interviewer may also provide you with details of the next steps in the selection process. If not, this is a great question for you to ask. (“Can you tell me what your next steps are in selecting someone for this position?”).
  • Do not ask about salary. If you are asked about it, provide a reasonable salary range based on your own research.