Interviews can be stressful, particularly if you have not interviewed before.  However, with preparation and practice, you will start to feel more comfortable and prepared.

Career Navigator Handout Series (Interviewing)

Interview Formats

These initial interviews typically do not go for more than a half hour, and someone from Human Resources generally conducts them.  You may get some behavioral questions, but the interviewer is more likely to ask you traditional questions and about your resume.


  • Smile if you can -- this may carry over into the energy your voice exudes.
  • Find a quiet place with good cell service (reference employer suites)? 
  • Talk more slowly than you might in an in-person interview.

Virtual interviews have become even more commonplace in the past year.  


In this type of interview, which usually does not have more than ten questions, you record answers to pre-recorded questions.  You may have a chance to re-record your answers, but some employers may not allow any re-recordings; there will be information about this before you start the interview. 


This type of interview is like an in-person interview, but is conducted via Skype/Zoom/Webex, etc.


  • Try to look at the camera (at the top of your screen) rather than just at the screen.
  • Test your technology several days before and on the day of the interview.
  • Consider your background, such as posters and other items that may be visible.
  • Find a quiet, well-lit space.  Do you need help finding this space?  [Link to our Virtual Career Connections Resource]
  • Tape notes up next to your computer screen or keep them next to you if you wish, but make sure not to glance away too much during the interview. 
  • Be aware of your hand gestures, as they may stagger on the screen.
  • Be aware of any lag time due to your video connection and try to make sure the interviewer is done talking before you start speaking.

The next step after a screening interview (phone or skype) is typically an invitation for an on-site interview. This second interview is a more in-depth look at your qualifications, your match with the position and your fit in the organization. Interviews are also typically longer in length, and you may meet with several individuals during the day. You will also likely meet with the individuals you will be working for and with, if you have not already.

Types of Interviews (and Questions)

Typically questions about skills, experiences, interests, and goals

"The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior."  You will be asked to provide specific, detailed information about how you have behaved in a particular situation.  Questions usually aim to gauge certain qualities, such as resilience, problem-solving ability, communication skills, etc.

An employer may ask you about concepts learned from your classes (e.g. FEA analysis), test your quantitative knowledge in your major, ask about your experience with certain technologies or software programs, and/or ask you to solve problems.  Software programming jobs and internships typically have coding interviews where you may be asked to “white board.”  Students in engineering, computer science, and other technical majors should expect technical interviews and/or technical questions.

The interview is usually interested in your analytical and problem-solving abilities more than a right/wrong answer.  You will see this most often in interviews for consulting positions. Employers want to gauge your problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills.

Preparing for an Interview

Reflect upon your:

  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Past successes/accomplishments and mistakes
  • Experiences 
  • Interests/values

Anything on your resume is up for discussion, even projects from several years ago.  Make sure you remember enough about a project to be able to discuss it.

CCPD staff can conduct mock interviews anytime! Just use Handshake to make an appointment.  Scheduling a mock interview can help you overcome nerves, make sure your technology works well, and likely show you that you have more experiences to pull from than you think!

  • Your interest in the employer will appear more genuine if you have conducted prior research.  This will also help you think of questions you can ask during the interview.
    • Look at the employer’s LinkedIn page to see what has been posted recently. 
    • Glassdoor is a good resource for basic company information along with company reviews and interview questions others have encountered in interviews with this employer.
    • Research the employer's:
      • Mission statement
      • Services and products, including new projects
      • Size
      • Foreign operations
      • Location 
      • Growth pattern
      • Reputation
      • Competitors within the industry
    • Resources (in addition to the above):
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