Interview Skills

Interviews are a critical part of any job search. It is important to know what to expect in an interview and to be prepared.

First step in preparing for an interview is a self-assessment. Identify who you are, where you want to go and how you intend to accomplish this. Examine and evaluate your: strengths, personal goals, weaknesses, work experience, academic performance, special skills, career interests and values. Upon completion of this self-assessment, you should be comfortable in expressing who you are in specific terms or examples. You will also know what you have to offer and where you future career lies during an interview. If this is not the case see a CDC staff member for assistance.

Second step is to research your prospective employer. Employers expect candidates to have basic knowledge of their organization, products and industry. You, as a candidate, also need to know how they evaluate and promote personnel, orientation and development programs, geographical locations and leisure/recreation opportunities of those locations. Research of this nature is accomplished through the use of the following: CDC Resources, Gordon Library, Chambers of Commerce , corporate literature, career fairs, corporate information sessions, business newspapers and magazines and internet resources. Research often raises important questions that you can have answered at the interview. Remember, you are seeking a career, not just a job

Third Step is to practice interviewing. The more practice, the better you will interview and the more comfortable you will be during the interview. Do not try to script exact answers to anticipated questions. Rather, practice telling stories that illustrate your abilities and traits. With the emergence of behavioral interviewing, this is what interviewers are seeking. CDC recommends the STAR Method for telling your story: Situation, Task, Action Taken, and Result.

  • Types of Interview Questions   
  • What to Wear  
  • What to Do After the Interview
  • Mock Interviews at the Career Development Center

    Are you nervous about interviewing for the first time? Have you interviewed in the past, but get extremely nervous about the whole process? Mock interviews are a great way to practice your interviewing skills in a safe environment. Mock interviews include a recorded interview, a review and critique with advice on your interview strengths and areas for development. 

    It is highly recommended that you make an Interviewing Skills (30 minute) appointment prior to your Mock Interview. We have handouts to begin thinking about the interview in the appropriate manner, such as the questions you will be asked, how to prepare for the interview, what to wear, questions to ask, and more. Handouts and Podcasts on interviewing can be found in your Job Finder account.

    The actual mock interview is a one hour appointment. In advance of your meeting (24 hours) you need to email your resume and job description.

    On the day of your mock interview, you will arrive in your interview clothes and begin the meeting as if it were a real interview. The staff member will video tape the session, facilitating interview questions that you would likely encounter in an actual interview. At the end of the interview, the counselor will stop the video and you will watch the interview together. The staff member will give constructive feedback on your interviewing techniques, suggestions on how to make your interview stronger, and additional tips.

    You can now schedule your Mock Interview and Interview Skills appointments online!


    Glassdoor is a free jobs and career community that offers the world an inside look at jobs and companies. What sets us apart is our "employee generated content" – anonymous salaries, company reviews, interview questions, and more – all posted by employees, job seekers, and sometimes the companies themselves.  




    Types of Interview Questions

    Structured - This consists of a list of specific questions asked in order.

    Non-structured - This style uses broad, open-ended questions designed to have you "open up" and talk about yourself. It is more conversational in tone that the directed interview.

    Stress - This is an interview designed to put you under pressure to see how well you handle the situation. Stress interviewing has become out-of-favor, however, you might still encounter "stress" questions during another type of interview.

    Behavioral - This interview style is based on the premise that the best predictor of future performance is how you have performed or acted in the past. Questions will ask about specific situations from your past and how you acted in those situations. Behavior based interviewing is an essential component to today's interviews. Employers want to know how you handled past situations since past performance predicts future behavior. These questions relate to skills, qualities, and situations that the employer believes you will encounter on the job; you will want to answer these questions based on how you handled similar situations in the past by using the STAR Method.

    Behavior Based Questions

    1. Describe a time when you were forced to make an uncomfortable decision. What did you do?

    2. Give me an example of a time you had to make a quick decision without supervision.

    3. Tell me about a bad experience in working in a team environment. How was it resolved? 

    What To Wear

    Appearance is very important in an interview. Your interviewer will develop a visual impression of you within the first 10 seconds of interaction. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

    What is business professional attire? Visit the Dress to Impress Guide for more information.

    What To Do After the Interview

    As soon as possible, provide information requested by the interviewer such as references, transcripts or credentials. Follow up with a "thank you" letter for the interview. This is an opportunity for you to sell your candidacy again to the employer and provide any additional information that did not come out in the interview. As soon as possible, provide information requested by the interviewer such as references, transcripts or credentials.  Writing the thank you does not conclude your activities to obtain the position. You need to be persistent in the follow-up until you receive an offer, secondary interview or rejection letter.  

    For more information please log into your Job Finder account and access the The Interview Process handout and the Acing Your Interview podcast.   

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    Last modified: March 04, 2014 13:11:08