An image of students and employers conversing during the Miami University Career Fair 2015. An image of students and employers conversing during the Miami University Career Fair 2015.

Interviewing - What You Need To Know

Know Yourself

Ask yourself some questions

  • What is unique about me?
  • What skills do I bring?
  • What experiences are important for me to highlight?

Tell Your Story

Start with your resume

  • What do my experiences say about me?
  • How can I concisely and positively explain my academic background and other experiences to an employer?
  • Look at work experience, volunteer experience, research experience, campus activities and leadership, honors and awards, conferences attended, class projects, presentations and publications.

Come up with specific examples 

  • Be memorable. It is not enough to just make a laundry list of adjectives about yourself.

Common preparation

  • I am good at managing my time. I am a team player, and I am hard working.
  • It is great to realize what your unique strengths include. In addition, explore how you can specifically and concretely articulate those strengths to an employer.

Better preparation

  • I am hard working. I had to work two jobs to make ends meet since I am paying for school. By managing my time, I have been able to maintain a 3.0 GPA and still made it a priority to seek out leadership opportunities within my sorority. This past year, I served as V.P. for Public Relations, and I worked with other members of the Greek Life Community as well as the university administration to build better relationships and increase open communication within the Greek Community and also within the entire student body. 

Know The Employer

Do your research

  • The #1 complaint the Center for Career Exploration & Success receives from employers is that students are not prepared and know little about the company with which they are interviewing.

Start with the employer’s website

  • First and foremost, what does the company or organization do? Do they sell something? Provide a service? How many employees do they have? Who are their competitors? Where are they located? What is the company’s history? Read the company’s mission statement or vision.

Search online

  • Google the company to see if you can find any articles in various periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, or The New York Times.

Check out the company research links on the Center for Career Exploration & Success’ website

Re-read the job description

  • Gather as much information about the position as you can before the interview and ask for the key duties to be explained during the interview.

Prepare

Anticipate questions

There are some questions you should always be ready to answer. Some of those include: tell me about yourself; what are your strengths and weaknesses; why are you interested in working here? Anticipate questions related to the industry or field for which you are interviewing. For example, a sales interview question might be, tell me about a time you had to persuade someone to your point of view. Think about the skills most valued in the job for which you are applying. Time management and meeting deadlines are incredibly important in journalism. A question to anticipate would be: Describe a time when you had to work towards a deadline.

Plan for behavioral-based questions

A behavioral-based question is one where the employer expects a specific example. The question would generally start with a phrase like: tell me about a time; describe a situation where...; or give a specific example. Use the CAR method.

C = Context

Here is your hook. Briefly set up the story and explain how the situation might have been challenging: a difficult team member, small budget, or a tight project deadline.

A = Action

Remember to say specifically what you did. What steps did you take? Did you resolve a conflict? If so, how did you go about that? What did you say? What were you thinking? Why did you approach it in that particular way? Describe what you did using “I” in the description.

R = Result 

This should be positive and ideally quantifiable. You raised “X” dollars for charity. You increased recruitment to your student organization by “X%”. You raised your grade from a C to an A.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

  • Our office offers mock interviews so you can do just that. To schedule a mock interview call (513) 529-3831 or go to the Mock Interview webpage.

Prepare questions for employers

  • Some sample questions include: What qualities are you looking for in a new hire? What do you like best about the company? It is also a good idea to ask the employer what their timeline is for making a hiring decision. For additional questions, see our Interviewing guide available in print at the Center for Career Exploration & Success or online on our website.

Follow-Up

Honestly evaluate your performance and look for ways to improve.

Send a thank-you note 

  • Every person you met and interviewed with should receive a thank-you note. An e-mailed, handwritten, or typed note is appropriate.

Follow up

  • If you have not heard anything within the time frame the employer laid out, follow up with the employer to reiterate your interest and ask how the selection process is going.