Interview Prep

Interview Preparation

Preparing well for your interview will improve your confidence and enhance your responses.  Get ready to put your best foot forward!

 

Pitt students

 

Research & Prepare

 

Research your employer’s job description, website, and current stories in the media.  Take note of desired skills or experiences and company values and mission statements.  In addition, come prepared with a list of 3-5 questions you have for the interviewer, which you will most likely have the opportunity to ask during the interview.

Sample Interview Questions

Traditional Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Describe your greatest strength or weakness.
  • Why are you interested in this position/company?
  • What are your time management strategies?
  • What is your leadership style?

 

Behavioral Interview Questions

 

Behavioral interview questions ask you to give specific examples of past behavior in a work, internship, classroom or extracurricular setting.  Consider the skills and attributes you want to demonstrate through your answers.  Employers want to see how you have shown leadership, initiative, communication skills, conflict management, and teamwork through your past behaviors.

 

  • Tell me about a goal that you set for yourself and were able to achieve.
  • Tell me about a goal that you set for yourself that you were unable to achieve.
  • Tell me about a time where you had to work on a team and describe your contribution to the team.
  • Describe a time that you dealt with a conflict with someone.  How did you approach it?
  • Give me an example of a process or program that you improved in your last position.
  • Tell me about a time that you had to give constructive feedback to a colleague/peer.  What happened?

 

STAR Method

 

  • S (Situation): Describe the situation.
  • T (Task):  Describe the task(s) associated with the situation.
  • A (Action): Describe the actions you took in order to address/resolve the situation.
  • R (Result):  End by describing the result of the situation.  This shows conclusion and signifies the end of your example.

 

The Interview

 

Tips for professional attire, professional communication, and knowing what to expect.

Interview TIps

Professional Attire

Unless you are told otherwise, assume that you should dress in business professional attire for an interview:

  • Pants or skirt suit (dark colors are preferable)
  • Dress shirt/blouse
  • Tie
  • Well-kept dress shoes (for heels, keep heel height reasonable)
  • Hosiery with a skirt suit
  • Well-groomed hair, facial hair, and make-up
  • Conservative accessories that aren’t distracting

Need professional attire or feedback on your interview outfit?  Check out the Career Closet!

 

Professional Communication

  • Arrive approximately 10 minutes early for your interview (not earlier!).
  • Be enthusiastic and personable; balance with professionalism.
  • Offer a firm handshake and maintain appropriate eye contact during interview.
  • Avoid fidgety behavior by keeping hands in your lap and pens/items out of your hands.
  • Make an effort to limit “likes”, “ums”, and “you knows”.

Follow Up

Don’t miss this important step in the interview process!  Advice on effective follow-up to impress your interviewer.

  • Send a thank-you note within 24 hours of your interview.  Reiterate your interest in the position and reference some specific aspect of your interview or conversation to maintain a good connection with the interviewer.  Be genuine!  Email thank-yous are fine, but consider standing out from the crowd by sending a thank-you card in the mail.
  • Follow any instructions your interviewer provides in a timely manner, such as completing any online applications or following up with additional requested materials.
  • If applicable, follow the employer or company on social media.  Show your interest by engaging in professional dialogue such as commenting on articles or expressing interest in upcoming events.

 

Follow Up

 

Don’t miss this important step in the interview process!  Advice on effective follow-up to impress your interviewer.

Follow Up Tips

Don’t miss this important step in the interview process!  Advice on effective follow-up to impress your interviewer.

  • Send a thank-you note within 24 hours of your interview.  Reiterate your interest in the position and reference some specific aspect of your interview or conversation to maintain a good connection with the interviewer.  Be genuine!  Email thank-yous are fine, but consider standing out from the crowd by sending a thank-you card in the mail.
  • Follow any instructions your interviewer provides in a timely manner, such as completing any online applications or following up with additional requested materials.
  • If applicable, follow the employer or company on social media.  Show your interest by engaging in professional dialogue such as commenting on articles or expressing interest in upcoming events.