Interviewing 101

The interview is one of the most important elements in the job search process.  When an employer invites you to an interview, he/she is indicating an interest in bringing you on board. The interview gives both of you the opportunity to exchange information to determine if you are a good “fit” for each other.

Types of Interview Questions

General

General questions include typical interview questions about your strengths and weaknesses, for example.  “Tell me about yourself.” is often asked at the beginning of the interview. Here is sample list of questions our career center staff often use when conducting mock interviews with students.

Behavioral Based

The premise behind a “behavioral interview” is that past performance predicts future behavior. In other words, employers ask questions to determine how you managed certain situations in the past to determine if you would be able to handle them and perform well in the future as an employee at their organization. Here is a sample list of behavioral based questions.

Case

A case interview is a type of job interview, used most frequently by consulting firms, that allows an applicant to demonstrate his/her ability to solve a given business problem. During a case interview, an interviewer presents a situation or case and then asks the applicant to explore the underlying causes of the problem and suggest recommendations to remedy the problem. The cases given tend to be real business situations, often drawn from the interviewer’s actual project experience. Case interviews typically last from thirty to forty-five minutes and an applicant can expect to have several in the interview process at any given firm.

Your success in a case interview will not depend on identifying the “correct” answer, but rather on how clearly you define the problem, how logically you structure your analysis, and how well you communicate your thoughts to the interviewer. Sample case questions and strategies can be found in the Vault's Case Interviews Practice Guides as well as Wet Feet’s Ace Your Case series. Lastly, check out MConsultingPrep.com for an excellent overview on case interviewing.

Graduate School

Here is a sample list of commonly asked questions for students interviewing with admissions representatives for master’s and Ph.D. graduate programs.  To gain a competitive advantage, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with your Career Counselor to practice and to receive feedback immediately following the mock interview!

Pre-Health

You can locate school specific interview questions and feedback via www.studentdoctor.net.  Please keep in mind that this information is provided by candidates who have interviewed and not directly from the professional school admissions offices. 

Teaching

Teacher candidates are often asked questions similar to the ones you will find here.  To practice before the real interview, Career Counselors can tailor the mock interview to target the job you are seeking, such as Teach for America, the JET program, as well as the grade level you are seeking to teach (elementary, middle, high school, for example.) Websites such as glassdoor.com may also provide insight into the types of questions you can encounter in an interview, such as Teach for America. It includes feedback from previous candidates on their own experiences in their interview process, often including questions they were asked.

Questions YOU can ask your Interviewer

The interview is a two-way street. Even though the interviewer is evaluating if you would be a strong candidate for the position, the interview is an opportunity for you to determine if the position would be a good fit for you! You can also be evaluated on the types of questions you can ask the interviewer, so don’t run out of good questions.  Make sure you ask questions that are meaningful to you; don’t just ask to be asking.  To help you decide if it is a good fit, see the sample list to help you get started thinking of your own!

Practice Interviews

In-Person Practice Interviews

One of the best ways to prepare for the interview is to practice!  You can practice interviewing year-round by scheduling a mock interview with your Career Counselor or Pre-professional advisor. Your counselor/advisor will conduct a mock interview and provide immediate feedback and strategies for improving your interview skills during the session.  If you are interviewing for a particular position, please email a copy of your resume, cover letter, as well as a description of the opportunity (i.e. job, internship, scholarship, or academic program) in which you will be interviewing to your assigned counselor at least 24 hours in advance.  We can tailor questions to meet your needs. Bring your resume and dress professionally (optional) for the full effect.

Mock Interview Days are comprised of “guest interviewers” (i.e. Alumni, HR reps, Recruiters, etc.) who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and diverse industries. You may sign up via Eagle Ops to schedule one 45 minute time slot in which you will be asked questions about your resume, career interests and skills.  You will receive immediate feedback from your interviewers. Mock Interview Days are usually held at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters.

Online Practice Interviews

InterviewStream is a alternative way to practice your interview skills before doing the real thing. With InterviewStream, you can:

  • Practice interviews anywhere
  • Share interviews for feedback from a Career Counselor, mentors, or peers
  • Self-assess your interviews

*You must register using an @emory.edu email address

Dress for Success

Dressing for the career you want is an important aspect of your career path, and the appropriate attire varies depending on your industry. The best advice is to take a cue from what your supervisor is wearing and dress accordingly.

For further advice, take a look at Monster's style tips.