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Interview Types & Tips

The following are different styles of interviews:

Screening Interview
A screening interview is conducted to narrow down the candidate field. It can consist of probing questions designed to determine if you can move on to the next stage in the process. Questions can be based on technical knowledge or behavioral characteristics. Typically, these interviews are short, lasting 30 minutes. Many of the on-campus interviews are screening interviews.

Behavioral Inteview
In behavioral interviewing, employers are looking at past examples of behavior as a useful way of predicting future behavior. They go beyond the basic content requirements of the job to identify certain competencies/qualities that you may have demonstrated in previous
experiences. Some of these could include teamwork, flexibility, initiative, leadership, work ethic, as well as the ability to organize and solve problems. The interviewer will look at how you handled situations in the past to assess whether you have the skills and abilities to perform well in the job.

You will hear questions that focus on how you coped with stressful activities and projects or failure. Instead of asking “Do you work well under pressure?,” they will ask “Describe the most high-pressure situation you have dealt with recently and how you handled it.” Your response will help the interviewer see a more realistic picture of how you handled the difficulties and what you learned from the experience. Be prepared for the interviewer to follow up with probing questions that will reveal more details of the situation, how you took action, and the results. Here are some examples of behavioral interviewing questions.

To prepare for questions like these, review roles and responsibilities you've held and think of examples of situations that illustrate your capabilities. Probe into your own motivations and what you have learned from the experiences. Your preparation will certainly help the interviewer to see you as a memorable candidate.  One of the best ways to prepare is to utlize the S.T.A.R. Method.

Board Interview
A board-style interview involves more than one interviewer questioning a candidate. The applicant's goal is to establish a rapport with each interviewer by using direct eye contact. Whatever the interview situation or style, you will need to be able to communicate clearly your strengths--relating them to the position offered by the employer.

Phone Interview
Telephone interviews are used for three main purposes:

  • When you send a resume to an employer that is not interviewing on campus, a recruiter may conduct a telephone interview if your qualifications fit the employer's needs.
  • Recruiters often use the telephone for follow-up questions to students who already have been interviewed.
  • Finally, many calls are placed by managers or supervisors who do the actual hiring. After a recruiter interviews you, your resume is often given to all department heads who may be interested in employing you. Frequently, these managers will telephone you before extending an invitation to come for a site visit.  Here is more information on how to prepare for a phone interview.

Site Interview
A candidate being seriously considered by a prospective employer is usually invited to visit an organization for further interviews. The purpose of the site interview is to provide you with an opportunity to meet other staff or plant personnel and to give additional interviews to help determine whether a good match is developing. Remember that such an invitation is not a job offer, but it is a very important step in the process or evaluation, both by the organization and by you.

If for some reason you are unable to make a site interview at the time suggested, call or e-mail the representative as soon as possible to arrange alternate dates for your visit. All invitations should be acknowledged promptly, even when you are not interested.

Do not accept an invitation for a visit unless you are seriously interested. Some are inclined to accept an invitation as a “free vacation.” Not only is this practice unethical, but it can prevent someone who is seriously interested from having the opportunity.


Interviewing Tips:

Preliminary Arrangements
Generally, employers will extend a formal invitation to you for a site interview in writing. However, if you do receive a verbal invitation, you should request that it be confirmed in writing. You should also get certain information to help you in making the arrangements, such as:

  1. The name, address, and phone number of the individual coordinating the visit.
  2. The position(s) for which you are being considered.
  3. Travel arrangements. This would include both transportation and hotel accommodations if necessary. You should have a clear understanding as to who will make these arrangements, either the employer or you. Also, unless clearly outlined, determine whether the employer prefers that you travel by air, bus, or car.
  4. Accurate directions to the site and estimated travel time if you are driving.
  5. A clear understanding of the firm's reimbursement policies and procedures. Be certain you understand whether you will receive an advance, immediate payment at the site location, or will receive reimbursement at a later date.

Typical Day
Site interview visits vary from employer to employer and may range from two hours to a day or more. In addition, the visit may include both group and individual interviews, a tour of the facility and breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a company representative.

As a rule, you are asked to report to the Human Resources department. You may meet with one or more co-workers and higher-level executives.

One of the most important interviews will be with your prospective supervisor. In addition, you will usually meet and be interviewed by several people representing a cross section of the firm and department in which you would be employed. There are many variations of the site interview which you may encounter. Remember also that even when participating in “social” functions, such as lunch, you are being evaluated.

The interview day can be exhausting. But this site interview is an excellent opportunity for both you and those in the organization to evaluate each other. During the visit, you should find out the specifics of the position and determine how well you would fit into the organization. Some points you may want to discuss:

  1. What would you be responsible for if you accepted the job? What would you be expected to have accomplished by the end of your first six months? One year?
  2. If you were employed, and performed the above expectations, where would this job lead you?
  3. How are new employees trained and developed?
  4. How will you be evaluated? By whom? How often?
  5. How are raises/promotions determined? What will be your earnings potential?
  6. Who will be your supervisor?
  7. Will you, your values, and your needs and expectations be compatible with the management style/philosophy of the employer? (Will you fit in?)

You will undoubtedly think of other questions you will want answered. You should also expect to have additional questions asked of you – be prepared! Know your accomplishments, strengths, and abilities. Be ready to articulate your immediate and long-range career goals. Prior to the interview day, get a good night's sleep, not a night on the town!

Because of the variances in company policies and practices, you should determine before you go on the visit how travel expenses will be
handled. Legitimate expenses are those which are necessary to get you there and back, covering the basic terms of transportation, food, and lodging. Keep receipts for all expenses incurred.

Legitimate expenses do NOT include the following items:

  1. Personal entertainment or side trips.
  2. Personal phone calls, except in emergencies.
  3. Show or athletic event tickets.
  4. Alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, magazines.
  5. Expenses for persons other than the individual invited on a site interview, except where the company authorizes expenses for the applicant's spouse.

If you are visiting more than one organization on a single trip, your expenses must be prorated.

A letter to the appropriate person in the organization expressing your appreciation for the site interview is recommended and is considered good job searching etiquette.