The interview is an opportunity to match your talents and interests with the needs of the employer. In any interview there are two goals: to convince the employer you are the right person for the job, and to evaluate whether this is the right position and company for you.
Types of interviews
There are several different interview formats, which can be facilitated using different mediums: in-person, virtual, or pre-recorded.
Traditional Interview – One interviewee and one interviewer.
Group Interview – Multiple interviewees (you and one or more other people) and one or more interviewers. This approach is sometimes used to uncover leadership qualities, or to see how you interact with others. Take an active part in the discussion, but do not interrupt or attempt to discredit the other candidates.
Panel Interview – One interviewee and multiple interviewers. Here, it is important to make eye contact with, and address answers to, everyone on the panel – not just the hiring manager or the person who asked the last question.
Presentation – A presentation during an interview day plays a crucial role in assessing a candidate's expertise, communication skills, creativity, organizational abilities, problem-solving aptitude. It provides a more comprehensive and holistic view of the candidate beyond what can be gleaned from a resume or traditional interview questions. The employer will ask you to prepare a presentation on a specific topic in advance or to give a blind presentation.
Assessment – Interview assessments evaluate a candidate’s abilities and how they align with what is required within a role. Assessments allow an interviewer to determine how well a candidate would perform if they were in the role.
Case Study – Case study interviews are used to determine a candidate’s creative and problem-solving abilities. In a case study interview it’s important to show your work or verbally explain why you made a choice or how you got to an outcome. There is often not one correct answer, but they want to understand how you think.
The absolute best way to improve as an interviewer is to practice. Prepare thoroughly for your interview so you can effectively communicate about yourself, your qualifications, and the organization of interest. We highly recommend scheduling a mock interview with an experienced career coach or completing a virtual interview on Big Interview to practice and sharpen your interview skills anytime.
The essential pieces of an interview are preparation, execution, and follow up.
Step one: Preparing for an interview
Preparing for an interview is almost as important as the interview itself. The key to a successful interview is knowing both yourself and the organization.
To prepare for the interview, you should:
Review your skills, interests, and values as they relate to the position
Research the organization
Anticipate questions you might be asked
Prepare questions for the interviewer
Schedule a mock interview or practice interviewing with a friend to familiarize yourself with the interview process
Plan your interview attire so that you are dressed appropriately
Step two: Executing the interview
Remember that an interview is really a two-way exchange. The interviewer wants to determine if you are the best candidate for the job, and you really want to determine if you think the role is the right job for you.
Tips and strategies for interview day:
Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early
Bring positivity to the interview! A smile and confident eye contact go a long way. People want to see that you are excited to be interviewing for the position.
Avoid looking distracted (fidgeting, spinning in chair, chewing gum, etc.)
Provide clear, concise answers avoiding “yes” and “no” responses
Be prepared to answer traditional and behavioral interview questions to help the employer learn more about you. Check out some sample interview questions!
The best way to answer behavioral interview questions is to follow the STAR Method. The STAR Method helps to provide the interview with specific examples of your experiences in a clear and concise manner.
When answering questions, try to highlight the skills and experiences that you would bring to the role. Ideally these skills align with what the job description outlined.
Be prepared to ask your questions at the end. Prepare three to six questions and usually ask two to four. Be authentic in the questions you ask. Let your research guide you and ask questions you are genuinely interested in. A few sample questions include:
What characteristics do the individuals possess who are successful in this position?
What would I expect to accomplish in the first 6 months on the job?
What professional development opportunities do you offer employees?
What are the next steps in the hiring process?
Step three: Following up after the interview
Following the interview, send a thank you email to each person you interviewed you within 24-48 hours. Be sure to briefly reiterate why you are uniquely qualified for the job and restate your interest and enthusiasm. Personalize the note as much as possible hopefully including a connection point you had with the interviewer. The key is to make it look clean and have no mistakes! Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Sample Thank you Email
Dear [Interviewer's Name],
I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to interview for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. It was a pleasure meeting you and discussing the role and the company's vision for the future.
I would like to reiterate my enthusiasm for joining your team and contributing to [Company Name]'s continued success. The interview process further solidified my belief that my skills and experience align well with the requirements of the position, and I am confident in my ability to make a positive impact.
I wanted to specifically mention how impressed I was by [specific aspect discussed during the interview]. Our conversation reaffirmed my interest in [Company Name] as a company that fosters innovation and embraces a collaborative and inclusive work culture. I am truly excited about the opportunity to contribute to such an environment.
Furthermore, I wanted to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the professionalism and warmth extended to me by everyone I encountered during the interview process. The whole experience was insightful, and I believe it reflects the high standards and values that [Company Name] upholds.
Please feel free to reach out to me if there are any additional materials or information you require from my end. I am more than happy to provide any further details that may assist you in your decision-making process.
Thank you once again for considering me for the [Job Title] role. I am eagerly looking forward to the next steps in the process. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any further information.
[Your Full Name]
[Your Contact Information]