Obviously, the interviewer’s goal is to hire the best person for the job. To do so, the focus is typically on three issues: can you do the job, will you do the job, and will you fit in with the team. Your answers need to be honest, thorough, and substantive. Similar to the bullets on your resume or CV that describe your experiences in detail, you need to back up your interview answers with specific, tangible examples.
Employers will usually ask some standard questions to help them learn more about you. Examples include:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why did you choose your major or discipline?
- What does your GPA say about the type of employee you would be?
- What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
- What has been your biggest accomplishment?
- Tell me about your research.
Regardless of the type of position you are interviewing for, you can expect to encounter some behavioral questions. These questions are designed to help the interviewer get a clear understanding of how you handle different situations. Unlike traditional questions that can focus on hypothetical situations, behavioral questions rely solely on your past experiences. The premise is that past behavior can be used to predict future behavior.
Typically, these questions will start with the phrase:
“ Tell me about a time when you…”
- made a difficult/ethical decision
- dealt with a difficult team member or customer
- failed to meet a deadline
- demonstrated leadership skills
- received negative feedback
- overcame an obstacle
- had to have an uncomfortable conversation with a co-worker
- went above and beyond what was expected of you
- persuaded someone to change his/her mind
- had to adhere to a decision that you did not agree with
You should familiarize yourself with these, as well as other interview questions. We strongly recommend that you schedule a mock interview with a UCS counselor to help you refine your interviewing skills. You can also use InterviewStream, which has thousands of interview questions, to practice at home.