Tips from the Career Lab: “Preparing for Interviews”

a woman holding a tablet using zoom for a meeting

This career tip is by Kenya Narvaez ’23, career consulting intern. Meet with Kenya and other consulting interns during drop-in hours for the Career Lab

The internship and job interview process can be stressful and overwhelming. But, it doesn’t have to be! Below are some tips and resources to help you navigate the process.

The Interview Process

Interviews are a vital part of the hiring process, and it is an indicator of your progress in the process.  Interviews are relatively standardized in the areas that they cover, which are behavioral and technical interviews. Behavioral interviews focus on evaluating your soft skills and how you navigate certain workplace situations through your past behavior in certain situations. On the other hand, technical interviews focus on evaluating your knowledge and skills in the actual job you will be performing. Getting invited to interviews means that you have a strong resume. However, you still need to prepare to stand out from other candidates. Below are some tips and resources on how to prepare for your interviews.

General Interview Prep

Although technical and some behavioral interviews are formatted differently depending on the position and industry, there are general things you can do to prepare. Showing your interest and understanding of the employer you are interviewing for is key. Research the employer in preparation for your interview, and read up on current news or developments about the industry and employer. Visit our website to view a general list of what you should know and research about your employer.

Next, have questions prepared for your interviewers. It is best to always have two to three thought-out questions prepared in advance of the interview and note any questions that may come up during the interview. Asking questions shows interest in the role and the employer. The questions can be about the employer, the experience of the interviewers, the role, or the process. Learn more about the questions to ask during the interview!

Practicing for your interview is essential for your preparation. Having mock interviews and practicing answering specific questions will help you become comfortable and confident when interviewing. Additionally, when practicing, it is important to time your answers. Learn how to schedule a mock interview with a career and internship consultant!

Behavioral and Technical Interviewing

Behavioral interviews can be difficult to navigate, but preparing for them can help. A strategy to utilize in answering behavioral questions is the S.T.A.R. Model (situation, task, action, result). For answers, it's best to describe a past situation and task you needed to accomplish that highlights a skill or lesson you learned. Reviewing the responsibilities of the role will help you

understand the skills required and anticipated questions. It's good to reflect on your previous experiences and projects to prepare stories relevant to the questions asked. Additionally, describe the action you took to resolve or add value to the situation and what the result was. Make sure to focus on what you did and what you accomplished.  View examples of the S.T.A.R. Model and more tips on answering behavioral questions!

Technical interviews are highly dependent on the role and industry you are interviewing for. Understanding the technical skills and day-to-day responsibilities the role requires will give you an insight into what technical questions will be asked. In technical interviews, employers want to see how you think. When answering questions, make sure that you are describing your thought process and ask clarifying questions when needed.

While the interviewing process can be difficult to navigate, time and the right preparation will help you ace your interview and get further along in the hiring process. Learn more about how to prepare for your interviews!