Interviews

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When INTERVIEWING, consider how to best prepare for before, during, and after the interview. You will be asked a variety of different questions and go through different processes depending on the position, employer, and industry you applied to. Be prepared, but be ready to improvise in the moment.

Types of Interviews

  • AcademicAn academic interview is an opportunity to highlight your scholarship, research prowess, and cultural "fit' with potential colleagues at other institutions

  • Behavioral: Also called "Critical Thinking Interviews" focused on questions about how you make decisions

  • Case: Standard method used for consulting positions in industry and some non-profit organizations. Special type of interview where the applicant is provided a challenge, problem, or question and asked to solve the situation

  • TechnicalFor many specialized positions, employers will want to ensure that you have the requisite skill set and may require a demonstration of your abilities

  • Informational: Conducted by connecting with someone based on your interest in a particular career field, occupation, employer, or organization

Before the Interview 

Practice:
  • Big Interview: A free online training system that uses theory and practice to improve interview techniques and build professional confidence
    • Conduct virtual mock interviews focused on particular positions, industries and competencies
    • Access a database of common interview questions with advice on how to answer them
    • Use the Answer Builder to craft answers to behavioral questions
    • View an online training curriculum regarding your strategic job search
  • Face to Face or Virtual Mock Interview: Schedule an appointment with your Graduate Career Consultant (Ex. Interview Rubric)
  • Example Questions: Review and practice answering questions through resources such as Job Interview Questions (general questions based on position/industry) and Glassdoor (Specific employer questions submitted by those who have been interviewed) 
Interviewing Portfolio:

Bring along a padfolio and the following information:

  • Copies of your CV or resume
  • Application materials and job announcement
  • Reference List
  • Notes about your interviewers (who they are, what they do)
  • A list of questions to ask the about the position, the team and anything else you'd like to know
Attire:
  • Dress for Success: Your primary goal in dressing for an interview is to feel good about the way you look while projecting an image that matches the requirements of the position and company. To learn more, check out our Pinterest Boards "Professional Dress for Men" and "Professional Attire for Women."

During the Interview

Reserve Space in the Center for Career Development:
  • Need space for a phone or virtual interview? Call 574-631-5202 between 8am and 4pm to reserve a room on the 5th floor of Duncan. Video rooms are available for Skype and Zoom.
Professional Poise and Etiquette:
  • Arrive at least 10 minutes early for your interview
  • Make eye contact with people you meet and have a firm handshake
  • Make polite conversation/chit chat at the beginning of the interview
  • Don’t apologize for your background or lack of experience
  • Be yourself but always stress the positive
  • Don’t assume the employer or hiring committee has read your CV or resume
Answering Questions:

A variety of questions are often used to determine if you can provide evidence of your experiences, skills, knowledge, and interest in the position and employer. These tend to come in the form of "behavior-based" questions that attempt to evaluate how you have applied knowledge and skills

  • Types of Questions: Vary based on industry, employer, and position
    • Character (ex. overall fit) - "Tell us about yourself" ; "Why are you interested in the position? The best fit?"
    • Communication (ex. transferrable skills) - "Tell me about a time when you.....?"
    • Content Knowledge (ex. technical expertise) - "How have you used ....?" ; "What is your experience using....?"
  • Responses: 
    • STAR Method - Situation, Task, Action, Result (Additional: BAR Method - Background, Action, Result)
    • Ex. "When I was a graduate teaching assistant at Notre Dame last fall, I developed an experiential learning opportunity for students in a first year experience class along with the Center for Social Concerns. The project focused on supporting the homeless population in the South Bend area by volunteering with the local homeless shelter through activities focused on continuing education and work placement. Students exceeded expectations by becoming involved beyond the two event requirement. Several stayed on as volunteers after the course because of the impact it had on their lives.

After the Interview

Thank You Notes: 

Messages can be emailed or handwritten. Determine your approach based on the employer, position, and those you met during the interview

  • Make sure to thank the hiring manager/search committee chair for his/her time and effort
  • Keep notes professional but friendly. If you learned something about the position that fits your qualifications particularly well, be sure to mention it
  • Thank you notes should be turned around quickly 24-48 hours following the interview
Process and Next Steps:
  • Make sure you are clear on the selection process and next steps. Also, make sure to leave the interview knowing how to best follow-up with any questions

Additional Resources