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More Tips and Resources from BEAM

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Purpose of an interview: Two-way exchange of information

  • Determine if the organization and job are a good fit for you
  • Expand on information regarding your skills, knowledge, enthusiasm, and personal style
  • Let the employer know the potential value you bring to the organization

Interview Types

  • One-on-one
  • Panel or committee
  • Screening/Phone/Skype
  • Second round or site visits

Interview Styles

  • Informal vs. Formal
  • Behavioral based
  • Case interviews
  • Stress interviews

Preparing for the Interview

  • Research yourself – Review your past work, academic, and extracurricular experiences
    • Develop a checklist of the most important qualities, skills, courses, and experiences
    • Look over your resume/CV for stories about each activity/skill
  • Research the Organization/Position/Industry – Look over their web page - what is their mission, what is their service or product?
    • Match your qualifications to the job description
  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewer

Most Sought-After Skills by Employers

  • Ability to get things done
  • Common sense
  • Integrity
  • Dependability
  • Initiative
  • Well-developed work habits
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Enthusiasm
  • Motivation to achieve
  • Adaptability
  • Intelligence
  • Oral communication skills
  • Problem-solving ability

Before the Interview

  • Arrive early (10-15 min.)
  • Bring extra copies of your resume and references
  • Bring water and breath mints but do not take into interview

Dress appropriately

  • Better to dress “up” than down – dress to the industry
  • Try out clothes and shoes before the interview
  • No strong perfumes, remove body piercing’s that would not fit the industry

During the Interview

  • Maintain eye contact, positive attitude, energy, composure and confidence
  • Focus on the positive not gaps of skills/experience
  • Remember to breathe
  • Don’t fidget or hold anything in your hands
  • Don’t bring in a back pack or other large back to in-person interviews
  • Ask for clarification if you’re confused by a question
  • Ask for a business card at the end
  • Ask about the next step and timeline
  • Thank them for their time!

Use the STAR Method to answer questions

  • S/T Situation/Task
  • A Action you took
  • R Result

Answering Difficult Questions

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What are your salary requirements?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Stalling When you are Stumped

  • Ask to have the question repeated
  • Deliberately restate the question
  • Ask for clarification
  • Appear to pause for a brief reflective moment
  • Take a sip of water
  • OK to look away when thinking
  • Last resort – ask to come back to that questions later

After the Interview

  • Review how it went, make notes about what you want to do differently next time
  • Write a thank you note – Email is okay if you need a quick turn-around time or if recruiter is on the road
    • No cutesy stationary
    • Say something specific to the interview – so they know the same note cannot be sent to any interviewer
    • Use the note as a way to reinforce a strength or mention something you forgot
    • Multiple interviewers = multiple thank you notes?
  • Vault -

Additional Resources

The Stanford Career Education (BEAM: Bridging Education, Ambition & Meaningful Work) has a lot of excellent resources.

Encourage students to visit the BEAM (Stanford Career Education) in addition to scheduling mock interviews with us.

Web sources with a list of tough interview questions and how to go about answering them

Gowri, K.C. (n.d.) The best answers to tough interview questions (non-technical).  Accessed on February 8, 2016. 

Jensen, D.G. (1998, July 10) Interviewing skills: What to do when they say, “Tell me about yourself.”  Science. Accessed on February 8, 2016