Interview Skills

Career Services dedicates an entire week to interview skills each semester. Get a one-on-one appointment, and learn how to answer those tough questions, practice your responses in a mock interview, and get vital feedback that will help you prepare for that all-important interview.  Review your interview skills by reading the Interview Skills Handout.  Check the calendar of events for more information.

Interview Preparation Is Key

  • Understand yourself, including strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments.
  • Understand the basics of interviewing.
  • Understand the company and the job, including
    • what products or services they sell;
    • their chief competitors;
    • challenges faced by the company or the field in general; and
    • industry trends.
  • Make an appointment for a mock interview by contacting Career Services.
  • Develop a brief overview of who you are and your professional/academic background as it relates to the position for which you are interviewing, including why you want the job and what you have to offer the company;
  • Research the company and products.
  • Become familiar with behavioral, case study, and traditional questions, and know which questions are appropriate to ask.

Sample Interview Questions

Prepare answers to these traditional interview questions.

  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What are your long range and short range goals and objectives?
  • What do you see yourself doing five years from now? Ten years from now?
  • What are your long range career objectives?
  • How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
  • What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?
  • How well do you work with people? Do you prefer working alone or in teams?
  • How would you evaluate your ability to deal with conflict?
  • Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor? How did you resolve the conflict?
  • What's more important to you -- the work itself or how much you're paid for doing it.
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would a good friend describe you?
  • Describe the best job you've ever had.
  • Describe the best supervisor you've ever had.
  • What would your last boss say about your work performance?
  • What motivates you to go the extra mile on a project or job?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What qualifications do you have that make you successful in this career?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in a company like ours?
  • In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our company?
  • Do you have any hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?
  • What qualities should a successful manager possess?
  • What are the attributes of a good leader?
  • Which is more important: creativity or efficiency? Why?
  • What's the most recent book you've read?
  • Describe the relationship that should exist between the supervisor and those reporting to him or her?
  • What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
  • If you were hiring a job-seeker for this position, what qualities would you look for?
  • Do you have plans for continued study? An advanced degree?
  • In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?
  • How do you work under pressure?
  • Are you good at delegating tasks?
  • What's one of the hardest decisions you've ever had to make?
  • How well do you adapt to new situations?
  • Why did you decide to seek a position in this company?
  • What can you tell us about our company?
  • What interests you about our products?
  • What do you know about our competitors?
  • What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
  • Are you seeking employment in a company of a certain size? Why?
  • What are your expectations regarding promotions and salary increases?
  • What criteria are you using to evaluate the company for which you hope to work?
  • Do you have a geographic preference? Why?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • Are you willing to travel for the job?
  • Why do you think you might like to live in the community in which our company is located?
  • What major problem have you encountered and how did you deal with it?
  • What have you learned from your mistakes?
  • What have you accomplished that shows your initiative and willingness to work?

Dress for Success

A week to a few days before your interview, try on your clothing, making sure it fits you well, is clean and pressed, and has all the buttons. If you are wearing a skirt or dress, make sure you have a spare pair of nylons in your car or in your purse.

Know Where to Go

Find out exactly where the interview will be. The majority of interviews on Michigan Tech's campus will be held at the Career Services Office (Rooms 220A-Z on the 2nd Floor of the Administration Building). Interviews scheduled during the Fall and Spring Career Fair, however, may be located anywhere on Michigan Tech’s campus; Career Services will post these locations.

For off-site and second interviews in unfamiliar cities, try to travel to the interview location the day before (at approximately the same time as your scheduled interview) to locate the building and time your trip. Show up ten minutes early; it's ok to arrive earlier, but don't announce yourself to the receptionist more than ten minutes before your scheduled interview time. Check your appearance in the bathroom, stay in your car, take a five-minute walk to calm yourself, or go over your notes.

Tips for the Interview

We've outlining many good things to do to prepare yourself for an interview. You should also keep in mind what not to do, as well as what questions to ask your potential employer.

Questions to Ask During an Interview

The following questions are appropriate to ask an employer during an interview.

  • Can you please tell me how your career has developed at XYZ Corp. Would someone entering the firm today have similar advancement opportunities?
  • If I work hard and prove my value to the firm, where might I be in five years?
  • I read in your literature that your training program is comprised of three six-month rotations. Does the employee have any input into where he will go at the end of each rotation? How do you evaluate the employee's performance during the training period?
  • Can you describe for me what a work week is like for an employee of XYZ Corp?
  • When does the training program begin?
  • What is the length and structure of the training program?
  • Do most trainees advance fairly rapidly through the program?
  • What career paths have others generally followed after completing the program?
  • What is a typical day (assignment) [ for a position you are applying for ] in your company?
  • What characteristics best describe individuals who are successful in this position?
  • Does the position offer exposure to other facets of your organization?
  • What other positions and/or departments will I interact with most?
  • To whom does this position report?
  • How will my performance be evaluated?
  • How often are performance reviews given?
  • What are the opportunities for advancement?
  • Does your organization encourage its employees to pursue additional education?
  • How would you describe the organization's culture/environment?
  • What makes your organization different from its competitors?
  • What industry-wide trends are likely to affect your organization's strengths and weaknesses?

Need help preparing for an interview with Google? Check out: How to Prepare Yourself for an Interview with Google

Send a Thank You Note

Following your interview, write a thank you letter or email. Few people know the effect this simple gesture has in the hiring process.