Preparing for the Interview

How to Prepare For The Interview

  • Be sure to review the job description beforehand and look at the skills and qualifications required.
    • Come up with concrete examples of how your past experiences, skills, and abilities align with the job description.
  • Research the organization and know what they stand for.
  • Inform yourself about any important details about the company, such as new services offered, news, etc. that could be mentioned in the interview – it is important to show that you have familiarised yourself with what is currently happening at the organization.
  • Practice your answers to possible interview questions listed under the section Commonly Asked Questions
    • It is best if you practice your answers with another person. This can be a friend or family member, but we are also able to offer you mock interviews by appointment.
    • Do your best to speak slowly and clearly, and eliminate filler words such as “um,” “like,” and “you know”.
    • Know that if an employer asks a question you were not prepared for, it is okay to take a second to think or ask for the question to be repeated.
  • Be familiar with what is in your resume and cover letter – the interviewer will want to see consistency.

Types of Interviews

* Depending on the position you are applying for, you can expect at least one of these interview types:

  • Screening
    This interview usually lasts 30-45 minutes and can take place in person or on the phone. It is used to determine whether the company will invite you to continue in the selection process.
  • Video screening
    One-way process where company asks you to video record you answering questions that you send to them to screen.
  • Phone or Skype interview
    Make sure you are in a quiet location, able to focus on the call and speak clearly. Have your resume, job description, references and notes by the phone. If using a cell phone, make sure it is charged and you are in a location where you have good reception. Have a backup plan in case of a dropped call.
  • On-site interview
    This interview is conducted at a company facility. If travel is involved, the company may offer to pay for your expenses; do not assume this is the case. Keep receipts and carefully follow the guidelines provided by the company.
  • Interview over a meal
    This interview is not a social function, it is part of the formal process. Manners count! Alcohol may be offered or available. It's okay not to drink, but if you do, be conservative in your consumption.

The interview may also vary in format:

  • One-on-one interview
    One interviewer and one interviewee is one interview style. You may have individual interviews with several members of an organization.
  • Panel interview
    You will be interviewed by a committee, usually between 2-6 people. When you enter the room, shake each interviewers’ hand while introducing yourself. It is important to make eye contact with all interviewers. At the end, shake their hands again while thanking them.
  • Group interview
    You will be interviewed simultaneously with other candidates. The interviewer will take turns asking questions while the other candidates observe. Show your listening skills by paying attention to what others say and try not to repeat their responses. Also be prepared for group projects. If your group is assigned a project, use this opportunity to show your leadership skills by keeping the group on track and completing the project.
  • Combined group panel
    You and other candidates are interviewed by a committee. Participate using the same skills as those needed for a group interview.
  • All-day Interviews
    This may consist of several individual or panel interviews. It could include meals and tours.

Some employers use the following strategies as part of the interview process. You may be asked to:

  • submit or evaluate a writing sample
  • give a presentation to the interview committee (often using electronic media)
  • take an assessment to evaluate potential fit
  • engage in an active simulation or assessment to demonstrate problem-solving capabilities
  • answer technical questions

*Courtesy of the UC Davis Internship and Career Center