Interview Prep

Practice Makes Perfect

Young african american man shaking hands at an interview

Practice Your Interviewing Skills

Work one-on-one with a Career Coach.

Most Commonly Asked Interviewing Questions

Know before you go!

Preparation is the key to interviewing success. Be prepared to answer questions like these:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. What attracted you to this company?
  3. What is your most important accomplishment to date?
  4. Give me an example of a time you demonstrated being a team player.
  5. What motivates you?
  6. What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
  7. Give me an example of a time you had to handle a conflict and how did you resolve it?
  8. Give me an example of a time you had to deal with a difficult patient or customer?
  9. Give me an example of a time you demonstrated leadership?
  10. What is your greatest strength?
  11. What is your greatest weakness?
  12. If I were to ask one of your professors (or boss) to describe you, what would he/she say?
  13. Give me an example of a time you made a mistake; how did you resolve it and what did you learn from the experience?
  14. Give me an example of a time you went above and beyond to provide excellent customer service to a patient or customer.
  15. Give me an example of a time where you demonstrated integrity in the workplace.
  16. Why should we hire you?
  17. What are your salary expectations?
  18. Do you have any questions for me?

Be an Interviewing S.T.A.R!

S.T.A.R. stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. It’s a format you can use to prepare complete and confident answers. Write down your S.T.A.R. response to each of the interview questions above so you can remember what you want to say. The key to interviewing success is preparation.

S

SITUATION

Detail the background. Provide a context.
Where? When?

T

TASK

Describe the challenge and expectation.
What needed to be done? Why?

A

ACTION

Elaborate your specific action.
What did you do? How? What tools did you use?

R

RESULTS

Explain the results.
Accomplishments, recognition, savings, etc. Quantify.

STAR Example:

Describe a situation when you had to deliver excellent customer service following a complaint.

Situation:
A customer complained that they’d waited more than two weeks for a reply from our sales team regarding a product question.
Task:

I needed to address the client’s immediate question and find out what went wrong in the process.

Action:
I apologized, got the details and connected them to our lead salesperson, who contacted the client within the hour. I investigated why the question hadn’t been answered. I discovered that it was a combination of a wrong cellphone number and a generic email address that wasn’t being checked. I let the client know and we offered a goodwill discount on her next order.

Result:
The client not only continued to order from us but posted a positive customer service tweet.

Questions to ask the interviewer

Select 3 questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview from the choices below or create your own questions.

  1. What is the next step in the hiring process? (This should always be the last question asked.)
  2. What is a typical day on the job like?
  3. What are your expectations for someone in this role to produce within their first 90 days on the job? 
  4. What is the company’s management style?
  5. Who does this position report to? If I am offered the position, can I meet him/her?
  6. How many people work in this office/department?
  7. What are some challenges the department is experiencing?
  8. How much travel is expected?
  9. Is relocation a possibility?
  10. Is overtime expected? 
  11. What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
  12. What do you like about working here?
  13. If I am extended a job offer, how soon would you like me to start?
  14.  If you were to rank them, what three traits do your top performers have in common?
  15. What are the company’s highest-priority goals this year, and how would my role contribute?

Some questions are best left unasked. Don’t ask your interviewer:

  • “What does this company do?” It reveals that you didn’t do any research ahead of time.
  • “If I get the job, when can I take time off for vacation?” They will describe benefits as part of their compensation. If you have prior commitments, mention them after they’ve made the offer.
  • “Can I change my schedule if I get the job?” Even if you need to juggle the logistics of getting to work, don’t mention it during the interview. Figure it out on your own time.
  • “How much will I be making if I get hired?” This will be described as part of the compensation package.
  • “Did I get the job?” Don’t be impatient. They’ll let you know.

Close the Deal!

After the interview, always send a thank-you letter within two business days.

The purpose of the thank you letter is to:

  • Stand out from the crowd.
  • Show your professionalism and communication skills.
  • Show appreciation for the employer’s interest in you.
  • Reiterate your interest in the position and in the organization.
  • Review or remind the employer about your qualifications for the position.
  • Follow up with any information the employer may have asked you to provide after the interview.

Should the Thank-you be a Letter, Card or an Email?

Any employer with a quick turnaround time between interview and offer should get an email.

If you have time, pen and paper always make the best impression. If you have handwriting that is difficult to read, type a formal letter instead and mail it to the employer within 48 hours of your interview.

Thank-you letter sample

Dear Ms. Jones,

     Thank you for meeting with me to discuss the Communications Internship. Our talk confirmed my interest in joining the Ace Tech team. I’m eager to use my writing and multi-media skills in support of your popular monthly newsletter. My classroom and work experiences have prepared me to meet your communications needs. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Sincerely,

Amanda Getajob