Definition of an Interview

The interview is a conversation between two people, an interviewer and interviewee. The interview has an important impact upon the future course of a student’s career.

The interviewer (organization representative) has the task of trying to find out whether the interviewees the type of individual who will т€œfitт€ the organization in terms of attitude, skills and qualifications. Your first interview may be a screening interview and a further may be forthcoming.

The interviewee has the task of expressing who he/she is and impressing upon the interviewer that he/she will be suitable to the organization. The interviewee is selling him/herself.

He/she also should use the interview as an opportunity to ask informed questions about the organization and the position offered in order to determine if the т€œjob fitт€ is a good one.

Getting Results with Telephone Contacts

Many of the positions may require a student to call the employer. How you present yourself when you make these calls creates the first impression that you will make on a potential employer. You need to be professional and well organized.

Tips for your Phone Inquiry – Anatomy of a Phone Script

State your name, your field of study, what year you are in school, your objective, and your goal. Example: Good afternoon, this is Susie Baker. I am a junior accounting major at Bright Sun University. Mrs. Smith from the Educational Project at ABC Network suggested that I call you concerning the position of Trainee Analyst. I am very interested in meeting with you to discuss this position. What is a convenient time for us to meet?

Selling Yourself

  1. Looking good is a MUST and includes: a fresh haircut, personal cleanliness and color-coordinated, conservative clothing. It is appropriate for men to wear suits and women, a tailored suit or dress. First impressions count. Make your work for you?
  2. Researching the market. You cannot be convincing if it is obvious to the interviewer that you do not know the first thing about the organization. Before the interview you should know the answers to the questions like these:
    • What are the organizationт€™s main activities or services or products?
    • With whom does the organization deal?
    • What are the growth areas? Is there provision for expansion?
    • Does the organization have a particular philosophy they are proud of?
    • Who are organizationт€™s main competitors?
    • Does the organization have any affiliates?
  3. Know you strengths – be totally familiar with the skills highlighted in your resume. Be prepared to give examples of how these skills will enhance your job performance. Increase your value by focusing on what you have already learned at school or accomplished at a prior position.

Anatomy of an Interview

Total time 20-30 minutes

  1. Introduction- Establish rapport (2 minutes)

The interviewer may:

  • Introduce himself or herself including a brief description of his/her background and position with the organization
  • Ask you what you prefer to be called
  • Explain how the interview will be structured

Typically, an т€œice breakerт€ is used. Its content may concern the weather, travel problems or your hobbies.

  1. Interviewer questions – background information (15-18) minutes)

During this period the interviewer will:

  • Judge you skills in relation to skills required for the job
  • Explore and probe your experience, motivation, goals, interests, and personal values
  • Evaluate your ability to communicate effectively

This is the crucial part of the interview. You may not be asked т€œWhy should we hire you?т€, but you should prepare a response beforehand anyway. STUDENTS WHO HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT AND PRACTICED RESPONDING TO QUESTIONS REPORT THAT THEY FEEL WELL PREPARED FOR THIS SEGMENT OF THE INTERVIEW. All employers are seeking:

  • Self-starters
  • Self motivated
  • Eager Workers
  1. Candidate Question – Matching needs of the candidate and the employer (5-8 mionutes)

The interviewer will:

  • Encourage you to ask Questions
  • Objectively answer your questions making reference to printed materials as appropriate

THIS PART OF THE INTERVIEW IS CRITICAL. During this time the interviewer tries to match your qualifications and career interests with the available work opportunities. Emphasize how you can fit into and be profitable to the company. SELL YOURSELF by asking intelligent and well thought out questions.

  1. Closing

The interviewer will initiate the conclusion of the interview. You should be ready to recognize the signals. THANK THE INTERVIEWER FOR HIS/HER TIME; CLARIFY YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT; SHAKE HANDS AND (WITH EYE CONTACT) SAY GOOD-BYE.

HINT:Т Many experts recommend a follow-up thank you letter to the interviewer. FOLLOW UP Your interview is over! Congratulations,


  1. Make notes. Write notes about the interview while it is still fresh in your mind.
  2. Follow-up as promised. If the interviewer has requested that you call back on a certain day, do it!
  3. Thank you note. Although writing a thank you note is optional, we strongly suggest that you do it. In your note:
    • Refer to something you learned during the interview and how the knowledge will be applied if you get the position.
    • The note should be no later than 24 hours after the interview.
    • Paragraph I – Thank the interviewer for his/her time and consideration.
    • Paragraph II – Sums up qualifications that you feel make you the ideal candidate for the position. Be enthusiastic and sincere with your comments.
    • Paragraph III – Thank the prospective employer again for his/her interest in you.

While at the Interview, donт€™t:

  • Smoke
  • Accept coffee
  • Give one word answers
  • Bring someone along
  • Slouch in your seat
  • Chew gum
  • Use first names unless instructed
  • Argue with the interviewer
  • Discuss personal problems
  • Use slang expressions


A large part of your interview will involve questions – answering them and asking them. Listed below are some interview questions.

Common Questions

  1. What are your major strengths?
  2. How is your previous experience applicable to the work we do here?
  3. What are your interests outside of work?
  4. Why do you want to work here?

Personal/ Professional Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. What were the three most important events (decisions) in your life?
  3. What decisions have you most regretted? Why?
  4. How do you like your previous job? What did you regret of it?
  5. What has been the most rewarding experience of your college education?
  6. What do you judge your major successes (accomplishments) to have been? Your failures?
  7. Do you earn any of your tuition? How? What percentage?

Educational Questions

  1. Why did you choose your field of study?
  2. What prompted you to choose this particular university/program?
  3. Do you think grades should be considered by an employer?

Company/Industry Questions

  1. Why are you interested in our company (organization, etc)
  2. What do you think you will be doing in this job for which you are applying?
  3. If you were free to choose, what job in this company would you want?

Probing Questions

  1. Define cooperation.
  2. What do you look for in a job?
  3. Are you interested in a career with this company?
  4. What is more important to you, the money or the job? Why?
  5. Can you describe a situation in which your work was criticized? How did you handle that criticism?


  1. What are the duties and responsibilities of this position?
  2. What type of job training will I receive?
  3. How will my performance be evaluated?
  4. Can I expect more responsibilities as I master previous duties?
  5. Which product (or project) will I be associate with?
  6. To whom will I report?