By Nick Ferraro, M.Ed - Career and Industry Specialist, Career and Professional Development Services
“Preparing for an Interview”
While challenging, interviewing can be one of the most rewarding conversations you will have. The following tips provide some easy to implement advice that can help you ace that next interview.
What is the interview type?
The most common interview types you might encounter are in-person, over the phone, and virtually. Preparation is key to excelling in interviews, and in truth, all three interview settings require different types of preparation. For example, in person interviews require you to really think about appearance, where appearance or dress won't be a factor in a phone interview. However, with phone and virtual interviews it is important to consider the setting you are in when conducting your interview. For example, set up in a quiet place with no distractions and if it is a video interview, be sure your background is professional.
Research is something that you may have already begun to do when applying for the opportunity. For the interview, you are going to want to do a deep dive into the organization's website, mission, and goals. This is one of the essential steps for succeeding and answering the question “Why do you want to work for our organization?”.
Practicing answering questions you anticipate to receive can make a huge difference in your confidence. Try to practice in the mode that your interview will take place in. For example, if you have a phone interview, practice answering questions over the phone with a friend or a Career and Industry Specialist. For virtual Interviews, ASU offers a free tool known as Interview Stream
Understanding the Types of Interview Questions
Be sure to practice for the different interview question types; this includes, traditional interview questions, behavior-based interview questions, and technical questions.
Traditional interview questions are questions like “Tell me about yourself” and “Where do you see yourself in 5 years”. For these questions be honest and be yourself, as the hiring manager or recruiter is getting insight into your personality, personal goals and interests. Be sure to stay focused on the professional and leave out really personal details.
When answering a behavior-based interview question such as “Tell me about a time when you <insert scenario>” you will want to articulate a specific story from your experiences. Use the STAR format
Situation - Set the scenario for your example
Task - Describe the specific task that is related to the question
Action - Talk about your actions around the task
Result- Highlight the results of your action
Technical questions come from industry knowledge such as answering a complex math problem or fixing a code. When answering a technical question it is important to highlight how and why you got that answer and be confident in your decision.
Prepare Questions to Ask the Employer
As much as the hiring manager or recruiter is interviewing you, you too will want to interview them. It is essential to have between 3-5 questions written down to ask at the end of your interview. You don’t want to ask questions based on the assumption you already have the offer such as asking about the salary. You should also refrain from asking questions about topics you should already know the answer to through your research. Think of asking the interview panel questions that can be directed to each individual such as “What brought you to the organization?” or "What does a typical day look like at ABC company?".
A thank you can sometimes be one of the employers deciding factors for a job offer. This could be an email to each person on the hiring committee, or a thank you card delivered to the organization. In this thank you, be sure to reiterate your interest and excitement in the position, including information you didn't have the chance to highlight in the interview. If you are attending an in-person interview, consider bringing thank you cards that you can write directly after the interview and drop-off before you leave. If not a handwritten note, an email will still make a huge impact. Send it shortly after your interview but no more than 24 hours.