A Guide to Interviews

Eller PDC Coach's Corner

By Nancy Roberts, Eller Career Coach

Interacting female

Congratulations, you got the interview…on to the next step.

Find out as much as you can about the interview.

Who will be present for the interview; what kind of interview is conducted or what else might you expect is important to research. You can ask your contact, an assistant, or network through an alum. The more information you have the better prepared you can be and currently there is no excuse not to be well informed on who you will be speaking and know as much as you can about them.

Once you learn something about the interview team, research them individually-it is amazing what you can learn by being creative on the internet. Conduct your “C.S.I.” of the folks as you might be surprised how much you might have in common, even contacts-and that is always helpful to know. This is critical to establishing rapport and demonstrating a connection.

Perhaps you can identify what type of interview it will be, in advance. Is it a traditional, behavioral, situational or a combination? This knowledge helps in pinpointing where you should be spending your time in preparing for questions about yourself, your reactions to situations, your philosophy and how you would execute solutions.

Be familiar with the S.T.A.R method-

Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. Be specific; do not generalize. Give enough background or detailed information for the interviewer to understand the situation. Describe the action you took and focus on your role in the effort. Lastly, describe the outcome or result as well as what was accomplished and what you learned.

It seems obvious but cannot be stressed enough-Be prepared! Know the past, present and future goals of the organization. There is a beginning, middle and end to the interview, and be aware of the transition and respond accordingly.

  1. The greeting typically revolves around small talk, and be sure to express appreciation for the interviewer’s time. Take their lead as to when the transition occurs to the body of the interview…but dance with them and follow their steps accordingly.
  2. During the main body of the interview: make sure you understand the question and have them clarify otherwise or rephrase the question. It is perfectly fine to take a moment and collect your thoughts before responding. Study possible interview questions and prepare your answer in advance.
  3. Be aware of the transition to the end of the interview. You likely might be asked if you have any questions; have some, and a next step might be discussed. If not, then ask what the next step is.
  4. At your earliest possible convenience follow up and through with each interviewer if possible. Thank them for their time and consideration. Always, always, always, dress for the job you want, be on time, be positive, be enthusiastic, speak clearly, and establish and maintain eye contact throughout the interview

Most importantly, be yourself, be genuine and be authentic!