- Grad Students/Postdocs
Interview Skills Basics
- Interview Skills Workshops: Check the ICC's Online Calendar and
Events Calendar each quarter for free Interview Workshops at UCD. Learn what makes an interview effective and how to avoid common pitfalls.
PowerPoint by ICC staff on Interviewing Basics
PowerPoint from an ICC Interviewing Workshop (618 KB .PPT file.)
A basic Interviewing PowerPoint Presentation put together by the ICC.
Interviewing Skills webshop
Watch our Interviewing workshop online. In a few minutes you can help preparing for your interview.
- There are many great books about Interviewing in the Career Library in 215 South Hall.
An informational interview involves talking with people who are currently working in your career interest area to gain a better understanding of an career or industry -- and to build a network of contacts in that specific professional area.
Read more about Informational Interviews in the ICC's Career Resource Manual. If you want more details, try this Informational Interviewing Tutorial.
Start with the ICC's Career Resource Manual. If you want more practice questions, try this list: ICC List of Possible Interview Questions - Grouped in 4 Levels of Difficulty (Excel file) or check out books on Interviewing at the Career Library in 215 South Hall.
Behavioral questions ask about how you have handled real life situations. Your answers must be supported by your own experiences in work, school and personal life. For a brief overview, see the ICC Career Resource Manual (Page 44) or check out books on Interviewing at the Career Library in 215 South Hall. For a more detailed overview of Behavioral Interviews, go to: University of Wisconsin: Behavioral Interviews.
Questions you might ask the Interviewer
See ICC's Career Resource Manual (page 45) or check out books on Interviewing at the Career Library in 215 South Hall.
See ICC's Career Resource Manual (page 41) or check out books on Interviewing at the Career Library in 215 South Hall.
There are questions that a potential employer is not allowed to ask, but sometimes the interviewer is not aware of these or may try to make friendly conversation that includes some of these no-no topics. Handling these diplomatically without providing information that you are not required to provide is a skill to practice. Here are three short articles with some diplomatic techniques. Also check the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for current legal guidelines.
- 38 Illegal, Sensitive, and Stupid Interview Questions...and How to Respond
- Questions They Shouldn't Ask
- The Sacramento Bee published a report from a survey done of executive level recruiters regarding "The Most Common Mistakes Interviewees Make", these were the results:
- Little to no knowledge about company
- Unprepared to discuss career plans
- Unprepared to discuss skills or experience
- Limited enthusiasm
- Lack of eye contact
- Do your homework about the company and the position.
Understand who they are as a company or organization, read mission statement, philosophy, product, services, highlights.
Understand the position responsibilities, skills and characteristics needed
- Make a personal inventory list "Best about you".
What are you most proud of, achievements, accomplishments?
Avoid understating your achievements, this is not the time to be overly humble, if you did it, then say it.
- Rehearse answers to most common/predictable questions.
Tell us about yourself.
Why do you want this position?
Almost all questions will spin around the two questions: Who are you? and How great are you?
- To prepare for behavioral based questions, think of situations which would illustrate how you handle:.
Dealing with a setback
High pressure/stress for multiple deadlines
Explain the task at hand, action taken, and results
- When interviewers engage you in conversation, they are looking at:.
Your technical competence/aptitude (industry information)
Your interpersonal competence (will you be liked, easy to get along with)
Non-verbal communication, eye contact, body posture
Be yourself! Don't pretend to be someone you are not!!
Dress appropriately for the employer or setting.
Have your clothes ironed, clean, neat.
Clean or polish your shoes.
Pantyhose or pant colored socks.
Clothes should be comfortable.
Dress up: be more business oriented for an interview than you might need to be for the job.
Carry a small purse, not a backpack or huge purse.
Bring your resume and references in a folder, clean large envelope or brief folder.
Wear strong perfume or cologne.
Wear revealing clothes (sexy is not for job interviews)
Go too casual; if you are unsure, go with more business-oriented rather than less.
Have too much jewelry; keep it minimal and non-controversial.
Use your cell phone! Turn it OFF before you walk into the office!
Eat unless you are having a meal as part of your interview.
Drink unless it is offered, and stick to water if possible.
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More Interview Advice
- DON'T: Get caught by trick questions
If an interviewer asks about a controversial issue, don't feel like you have to take a position; you can state that you understand both sides and you have not fully developed your position on that issue.
For the old "What is your greatest weakness?" question, you can state that you do not see them as weaknesses but areas where you need to develop and challenge yourself with.
- DO: Take the time to clarify your understanding of a question
If you are unsure about what the interviewer is asking, always clarify before you attempt to answer.
It is alright to pause and take a moment to think of your answer.
- DON'T: Assume interviewer has read your resume
Be prepared to talk about your experience (what is on your resume)
- DO: Bring extra copies of your resume and a reference list.
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