The interview is one of the most important steps in the job search process. It is your chance to elaborate on how your education, skills and experience fit what the employer is seeking in a candidate and ultimately gets you the job offer.
Liberal Arts Career Services provides several resources to assist students with future interviews. Students may schedule an appointment with a Career Coach for interview guidance or schedule a behavioral or case study mock interview to practice your interviewing skills.
8 Interview Prep Tips
Follow our quick tips to help you prepare for a successful interview.
Behavioral Interviews: A behavioral interview is a structured interview conducted either by an individual or panel of interviewers, prompting candidates to describe a past experience or situation, demonstrating how s/he handled the situation.
Case Study Interviews: Case study interviews require candidates to solve a case problem using analytical, problem solving and communication skills. Case study interviews are common with consulting firms.
Your Interview Story
Compile your success stories and visit a career coach to develop these stories into your interview story. During your interview, you will be able to draw from these stories to deliver succinct and well-organized examples of successes and how you approached challenging situations. Make an appointment, then schedule a mock interview.
Mock Interviews are an excellent way to gain experience and confidence with interviewing. Our Career Coaches are prepared to provide either behavioral or case study mock interviews depending on your career path of interest.
Dress For Success
Do you know what to wear to your upcoming interview? Explore our Dress For Success guide for help.
If your interview takes place over a meal, explore our Dining Etiquette page to learn basic etiquette and meal tips.
Interview Questions: To Ask & To Expect
Review our list of common, general questions intended to help you develop your liberal arts story when crafting responses. This list also includes questions to consider asking a recruiter.
How do you know when to negotiate and what amount to request? Learn how to negotiate your salary.
Learn what to expect in the job offer process from the employer and what the employer will expect from you.
- Know yourself. Review your resume for a reminder of your experiences, skills and accomplishments.
- Know the opportunity. Before your interview, fully familiarize yourself with the position description, the department, the organization and the culture of the organization. Start with the organization’s website. Also look up the company on Glassdoor or Vault.
- Know your story. Be prepared to summarize your background, accomplishments and experiences in relation to the position and organization.
- Dress the part. Dress professionally for interviews. In some rare instances, the company’s culture may expect less professional attire. Ask a career coach for advice on your specific situation.
- Be there early. Plan to be at or near the location as early as possible, and check-in for your interview 15 minutes before your interview time. Keep in mind that the interview actually starts from the moment you check-in - so be friendly and courteous to the receptionist/greeter.
- Prepare for the greeting. Be prepared to shake the interviewer’s hand, smile and relax. Interviewees often stumble through the initial greeting, with questions like “How are you doing?”
- Remember to ask for business cards during the interview so that you can follow-up with personalized thank you messages.
- Make the interview. Do not miss a scheduled interview. If you must cancel, do so with as much advanced notice as possible and - depending on the reason for cancelling - consider that the company may not consider you for future opportunities.
The following questions are general, intended to provide ideas and questions to consider asking a recruiter, as well as questions to consider when developing your responses and your liberal arts story.
Top Ten Questions To Consider Asking In An Interview
- How is the organization structured in terms of divisions, departments, etc.?
- Please describe your organization's culture.
- Where are the majority of job/internship opportunities located?
- What skills helped previous employees in this role succeed?
- What advice do you share with new hires?
- What kind of training program does the organization have? Is there a mentoring system?
- Could you describe typical career paths employees have taken in your organization?
- Could you please describe your management philosophy/style?
- What makes your organization different from its competitors?
- When do you expect to make a decision regarding the next step in the interview process?
Top Ten Interview Questions To Expect Across All Industries
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why did you decide to apply for this opportunity?
- What do you know about our organization?
- What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
- What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- Why should I hire you for this opportunity?
- Discuss two or three accomplishments that have given you the most satisfaction.
- How has your college experience prepared you for this opportunity?
- Do you have plans for an advanced degree?
- What are your minimum salary expectations?
The salary expectation question during the job search leaves many students uncertain as to how to proceed. How do you know when to negotiate and what amount to request? The following tips will assist you with formulating an educated and confident response for the employer in response to your salary expectations. Salary negotiation can be complicated and negotiation norms vary across industries. Come see a career coach for tips for your particular situation.
5 Things to Consider
1) Do you know what a fair salary is for this particular position and company? Research typical entry-level salaries in your field. Resources like Glass Door can help.
2) Is this a job you want? If so, in addition to salary, consider other benefits such as professional development opportunities, potential for advancement, vacation time, health insurance and retirement plans. If salary is not negotiable, perhaps other benefits are negotiable.
3) Is this salary negotiable? Some employers have more flexibility to negotiate salary than others. Once a firm offer has been made, it doesn’t hurt to express your enthusiasm for the position but then ask if the salary is negotiable. If the employer says this is their final offer you’ll be able to make a decision knowing you asked.
4) Is negotiating worth it? In many cases, yes. On average, negotiating can yield up to 7% over the original offer salary. Women tend to be less likely to attempt to negotiate for higher salaries than men. Keep in mind that a few minutes of uncomfortable conversation may pay off significantly. Our coaches are happy to help you role play this conversation!
5) Do you know how to manage the salary negotiation conversation? Chat with a career coach to discuss strategy and practice your approach in a way that maintains a positive relationship with your potential employer.
No time to see one of our career coaches in person? Here are 3 quick tips as you navigate salary negotiation:
1) Don’t bring up salary. Let the employer raise the question of salary instead. If a potential employer brings up salary, state that you’re open to negotiation once a formal offer has been made.
2) If the employer persists, ask the typical salary range for this position. Let the employer name the first number. If you are forced to name a number first, give a salary range based on your research. If an employer says the offer is negotiable and you feel confident your skills and experience warrant doing so, politely ask for a number at the higher end of that range.
3) Get the offer in writing and take some time to think it over before responding. Regardless of whether or not you accept the offer, always stay professional and positive when you speak to a potential employer.
When an offer is made, be sure that you understand the employer’s expectation for your response. The general rule is to provide one week for candidates to consider an offer. However, some employers may expect a response the next business day while others - including those conducting on-campus interviews at UT - may give you up to three weeks.
If you accept an offer, do so in good faith. This means that you have an honest intent to follow through with your acceptance and to work for the organization. Once you accept an offer, you should conclude your job search for other opportunities and cancel scheduled interviews as politely and professionally as possible. Ask a career coach for advice on how to do that.
If you decide to decline an offer, be sure to do so on professional terms. Provide your decision in writing before the date on which the employer expects a response. Your letter should be positive and grateful for the offer with a goal to keep a positive relationship for future opportunities. Ask a career coach for advice on writing a good letter.