Formal job interviews are a necessary part of the job search process. Most organizations will have multiple rounds of interviews, with at least one screening interview and an office visit/on-site interview.
One of the first things to prepare for an interview is to perfect your elevator pitch. Elevator pitch also helps you answer the question "Tell me about yourself" in the interview.
Read more about elevator pitch →
Learn about the different types of interviews by watching the below video.
Behavioral interviews are a popular choice for recruiters and hiring managers to assess your fit for the position and the organization. Every interview you go through will include a behavioral interview component.
A popular sub-category of behavioral interview is situational questions. For example "Tell me about a time you had a conflict". "Tell me about the time..." questions are typically charecterized as situational since they require you to give an example from your past.
The best way to answer these questions is using the S.T.A.R method.
Read more about the S.T.A.R method →
Prepare for the Screening Interview
Do your research:
Researching for your screening job interview will be somewhat similar to the research you do to prepare for the Career Fair. Use the resources provided to you by Texas A&M University to research and prepare for the interview. Find relevant information about the company, industry, and job position and ensure a knowledgeable conversation with the interviewer.
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At the Screening Interview
Things to bring
Never assume that the interviewer has a copy of your information at the interview. Always be prepared to carry a set of professional documents in your portfolio. Bring:
- Research notes (8-10 pages)
- Questions (based on notes)
- Samples of your previous work (if relevant)
- Letters of recommendation (if relevant)
- Pen and paper
Tips for during the interview
- Always make a good first impression by arriving early to the interview, giving yourself plenty of time to park and find the right location
- Make sure you look neatly groomed and in the appropriate attire.
- Smile and greet your interviewer with your name and a firm handshake.
- Most interviews start with the classic, “Tell me a little about yourself.” Your answer will influence the first impression your interviewer has of you, so be sure to have a solid, rehearsed elevator pitch ready.
- Carefully listen to the questions your interviewer asks, and make sure your responses match what he or she is looking for.
- Be honest and concise when answering.
- Prepare and write down a number of questions to ask the interviewer.
- Avoid discussing salary or benefits unless the interviewer initiates the discussion.
- Be aware of your rights and avoid illegal interview questions that employers cannot ask potential job candidates.
Tips for ending the interview
- Get an answer from the interviewer as to what actions will take place next, and when they should occur.
- Request a business card from the interviewer and ask them if you can call or email for additional questions and follow-up on your application status.
- Send a thank-you email or short business letter to your interviewer with the correct spelling of his or her name and title within 24 hours of the meeting. Consider sending a physical hand-written note within 48 hours of the meeting to build a memorable impression.
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At the Company Office Visit/On-Site Interview
Before the interview
- Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early and account for traffic if your lodging is far from the interview location. If possible, try to drive by the interview site the day before.
- Grab a good meal before your interview. Even if the interview includes a lunch or dinner, don’t skimp on your nutrition, since your focus will be mostly on the conversations. Interviews can be more draining than you expect!
- Relax yourself, untense your shoulders and neck, take deep breaths, and stretch before the interview.
- Research salary range for the position just in case the employer brings up in the interview.
During the interview
- At the beginning of every round of interviews, write down the names of the interviewers and their title/background.
- Every person you encounter could potentially be someone who influences the hiring decision, so be courteous to all.
- Prepare thoughtful questions to ask interviewers. Keep in mind that recruiters often hear the same standard questions from potential job candidates every day.
- Be prepared to meet a number of different people who may possibly ask you similar questions repeatedly. Maintain consistent answers to similar questions as well as a consistent attitude to everyone you meet.
- Exhibit table manners during meals and remember that meal conversations are still considered part of the interview. Refrain from drinking alcohol during the recruiting social events or meals.
- Use the S.T.A.R. Method whenever asked to describe past projects and experiences.
Ending the interview
- At the end of the interview, thank your interviewers for their time and ask when you can expect to hear back from the company.
- Sometimes a formal job offer is given during or immediately after your office visit. Don’t feel pressured into answering right away. Instead, ask for time to consider the offer and find out when the company expects to hear from you, so you have time to reflect before a decision is made.
- An employer might ask if Texas A&M University has a policy for job offer consideration. The Career Center asks that employers give students a minimum of two weeks to consider full-time, co-op, and internship offers, following NACE Guidelines. If you need more time to consider the job offer, ask the employer for an extension on the offer.
After the interview
- Make notes on the various interviews and reference what you wrote down for thank-you notes.
- Send a thank you letter to your point of contact at the company and mention the names of interviews.
- You might receieve an offer from the employer as early as the day of your final interview. Start your compensation research to be best prepared to evaluate and negotiate your offer.
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