Preparing for Interviews

The interview is one of the most important steps in the job search process, and it's critical that you know yourself, research the employer, and prepare for and follow-up after the interview.

Each company has its own process for interviewing potential candidates, so be sure to ask the hiring manager about expectations for each interview. The typical interview cycle starts with a phone or pre-screen interview, follows with an in-person interview, and ends with an employment offer. Learn about the different interview formats—in person, on the phone, or digital—and the types of interviews you may participate in—behavioral interviews, case interviews, or technical interviews.

  1. Research the company
  2. Review your skills and qualifications and understand how they align with the job requirements
  3. Practice your answers
    • Research typical interview questions and have an idea of how you would respond
    • Do a mock interview and get feedback from a member of the Career Solutions team
    • Practice using a recorded mock interview through InterviewStream
  4. Be prepared
    • Arrive at least 10 minutes early
    • Plan your interview outfit in advance
    • Have extra copies of your resume and references
    • Bring a notepad and pen
    • Prepare a list of questions you have for the company
  5. Follow-up

At the end of your interview, the recruiter will likely ask if you have any questions. These questions should be thoughtful and specific—they can provide critical insight to the prospective employer about your abilities and critical thinking. This is also an opportunity for you to make sure this employer and position are the right fit for you. Use this list to help you formulate your own questions:

  • Can you describe a typical first year assignment?
  • What are the most challenging aspects of the job?
  • How would you describe your organization’s culture?
  • Why do you enjoy working for your organization?
  • What initial training will I receive?
  • What opportunities for professional growth does the organization offer?
  • How will I be evaluated and promoted?
  • What are the characteristics of a successful person at your company?
  • What are the organization’s plans for future growth?
  • Remember, the recruiter saw something in your resume or previous interaction that was impressive. Go into your interview remembering that this person already likes what they saw. An attitude of confidence is one of the best indicators to the employer that you are the person needed for the position.
  • Interviews are a two-way conversation. You are learning as much about the company and job opportunity as the recruiter is learning about you. You want to determine if this is a good fit for you.
  • Be specific, not vague. You’ll be much more interesting and memorable to the employer.
  • Think about your answers ahead of time. Don’t memorize, but have a focus and don’t ramble.
  • Describe why you are interested in the organization and give specific characteristics about the kind of position that you want.
  • You have a lot to offer a future employer. Make sure that you state what your strengths, skills, and accomplishments are, so the recruiter will see why you are the right candidate.

Office of Career Solutions and Corporate Engagement

E103 Westgate Building
University Park, PA 16802

(814) 865-4509