Liberal Arts Career Services | College of Liberal Arts
skip to content The University of Texas at Austin


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.

Big Interview

Big Interview is an interview preparation resource that is free for all UT Austin students. Through this on-demand, self-paced tool, students can develop and practice answers to common interview questions, complete virtual mock interviews, and recieve AI feedback on answers. Additionally, there is curriculum, both video and written, focused on job search tips, resume writing, negotiating, all the way to navigating the first 90 days in a new position. Big Interview can be used to supplement strategies learned through workshops or career coaching appointments or as an alternative. We encourage students to take advantage of this resource while you have access! 

Register with your EID
College of Liberal Arts

Behavioral Interviews

Behavioral interviews are the most common, and are a structured interview conducted either by an individual or panel of interviewers. Behavioral interview questions prompt candidates to describe a past experience or situation, demonstrating how the candidate handled the situation. These interviews are based on the premise that a person’s past performance is the best predictor of future performance.

  • Behavioral Interview Tips

    1. Analyze the position you are being interviewed for by looking at the job description; determine the skills required.

    2. Evaluate and reflect upon your background to identify your skills and experiences related to the position.

    3. Develop brief scenarios or “PARL stories” prior to your interview that demonstrate your teamwork, communication, leadership, etc. Each “story” should explain the problem, action, result, and the lesson learned (PARL).

    4. Be specific in your stories. Giving generalizations will not help the employer understand and evaluate your behavior and skills. Employers want to know what you did do rather than what you would do in a given situation.

    5. Be prepared to provide examples of occasions when results were different than expected. Your skill in handling failure as well as success will be probed.

    6. Be prepared for questions asking for more detail than you’ve already given.

    7. Identify three to five top strengths – attributes that set you apart from other candidates – and be sure to point them out during the interview.

    8. Identify qualities relevant to the position and identify/prepare relevant and effective behavioral stories

    9. Look up the position on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed for possible interview questions.


    The PARL Method: An effective strategy for answering a behavioral interview question is the PARL method.

    • Problem: Identify the problem or situation you encountered

    • Action: Describe the action you took to address the problem or situation

    • Result: Disclose the result of the action you took

    • Learn: Discuss what you learned from the experience (can be helpful to include when discussing previous challenges)

    The STAR Method is an equally effective acronym for answering behavioral interview questions.

    • Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
    • Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
    • Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it.
    • Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.
  • Interview Questions
    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?

    What do you like best about working here?

    Questions Most Frequently Asked By Interviewers

    Introductory Questions

    Tell me about yourself.

    How did you find out about this position?

    After learning about this opportunity, what made you take the next step and apply for the job?

    How are you doing today? (pro-tip: be positive)

    Questions About the Company

    Why do you want to work with our company?

    What do you know about us?

    Who is our CEO?

    What is our value proposition? -or- What does our brand mean to you?

    Can you tell us about our products (or services)?

    Questions About Work History

    Walk me through your resume highlighting those things that are relevant to the position.

    Tell me about two accomplishments that were very successful or you are the most proud of.

    Describe a difficult work experience and how you handled it.

    Questions About the Position

    How does this position align with your short-term and long-term career goals?

    Why do you think you will be a good fit for this position?

    What interests you about this position?

    How does your previous experience relate to this position?

    Questions on Interpersonal Skills

    Could you describe a time when you had a problem or conflict with a co-worker or supervisor?

    Do you consider yourself a team player? Can you give me an example of when being a team player was important?

    How would your boss and co-workers describe you?

    Questions on Your Strengths and Weaknesses

    What do you consider to be your greatest strength?

    How do you deal with high-pressure situations?

    What is one thing you would like to do better? What’s your plan for improvement?

    Questions on Compensation

    What are your salary requirements for this position?

    How does your previous experience justify your salary requirements? (They may not ask this directly, but you should be prepared to demonstrate your value)

    Concluding Questions

    Do you have any questions for me?

    Is there anything you want to add that we didn’t cover? (pro-tip: the answer is always yes)

    Why should we hire you?

  • SWOT Analysis

    A SWOT Analysis is an excellent tool to help evaluate your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats associated with a specific opportunity of interest Completing a SWOT Analysis will help you write a targeted cover letter and prepare for an interview with an employer. 

    SWOT Categories

    Strengths: The responsibilities and skills you feel the most confident about using. These are internal attributes that will help you perform the tasks defined in the opportunity’s description.
    What skills do you possess? • What do you perform well? • What do others say are your strengths?

    Weaknesses: The responsibilities that you have no prior experience with or that concern you. These are internal attributes that may inhibit your ability to perform the required tasks.
    What skills do you lack? • What areas do you need to improve? • What do others see as your weaknesses?

    Opportunities: The responsibilities or company training programs and learning opportunities that can help you develop new skills or gain new experiences. These are external conditions that can assist with your professional development. For example, consider your motivation and reason for interest in the position.  
    What opportunities are open to you? • What skills can you gain to become more competitive?

    Threats: These are external conditions that could prevent you from acquiring the opportunity. For example, the position prefers a certain major or a candidate with fluency in a specific language.
    What is your competition doing? • What disadvantages are you facing? • How are the qualifications in your field changing?

    Creating a SWOT Analysis

    Start your SWOT analysis by creating 4 boxes on a blank document: one for your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in relation to the opportunity of interest. Take the job posting you’re interested in and review the position’s description and essential responsibilities. Consider your ability to perform each task and to meet the employer’s requirements. Sample SWOT

  • Accordion 5
    Panel 5. Add body text in this space.

Case Interviews

A case study interview is common with consulting firms. Case studies require candidates to utilize effective analytical, problem solving, and communication skills. The case study question may be based on the recruiter's experience with a real life project they have previously encountered.

  • Case Interview Preparation 
    Skills Employers Consider During Case Interviews
    • Problem solving
    • Analytical thinking
    • Teamwork
    • Communication
    • Initiative
    • Cultural fit
    Case Interview Steps To Answer
    • Listen carefully to the question and take notes; listen for clues embedded in the question
    • Develop your initial approach
    • Consider alternatives and areas for a second approach
    • Formulate your response
    • Summarize your answer
    Case Interview Strategies
    • Be confident and utilize effective communication and analytical skills
    • Reduce your use of fillers (uhm, you know, like, etc.)
    • Repeat question back to recruiter to ensure you consider all the information provided
    • Take a few moments to think about your first approach
    • Work through your answer
    • Talk through your analysis
    • Double-check your calculations (count the zeroes)
    • Maintain a dialogue with the recruiter and listen for their feedback
    • During the alternate approach, you may ask the interviewer for additional data
    • Be receptive to employer feedback
    • Keep your composure (especially if you miss a calculation)
    • Do your best to not contradict yourself in your final analysis
  • Practice Interview Questions
    • The City of New York has asked our organization to review the possibility of implementing a city-paid health care system for the residents of New York City. We were asked to research and evaluate the city government's ability to implement and to fund this program. What positive and negative factors should be considered prior to implementation? How would funding for this program be generated? What obstacles exist for implementing and monitoring who is eligible?
    • How would you determine the number of pizza slices consumed by undergraduate liberal arts students at UT Austin during the week of final exams?
    • How many tennis balls are used in the men's and women's Wimbledon championships each year?
    • If you were President of the University, would you recommend the campus move to a 4-day class schedule or remain on its current 5-day schedule? In your analysis, provide specific examples to articulate your decision and consider several populations and services that would be affected by this policy change.
    • Estimate the number of students who are college seniors, attend four-year schools, and graduate with a job in the United States every year.
    • A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?
  • Additional Resources
  • Accordion 4
    Panel 4. Add body text in this space.
  • Accordion 5
    Panel 5. Add body text in this space.

Related Topics

  • Interview Attire
    Understanding Culture you really need to wear a black suit, carry a leather portfolio or hide your piercings? There is no absolute answer to this question; you will need to consider where it is you are interviewing and, in some cases, for which position you are interviewing. Some organizations such as banks, federal agencies and consulting firms are very traditional and require conservative attire. Organizations in other fields, such as the arts, entertainment, environmentalism and nonprofit management may be less traditional, however this does not necessarily mean that as an interviewee you can dress casually. If you are unaware of the culture of the organization, unsure of how to dress or concerned about making a good first-impression, it's best to err on the side of caution and dress professionally for any interview - even if you are the best dressed person in the building.

    Business Professional

    Jackets, Pants, Skirts & Suits

    • Fabrics: wool, wool blends and polyester blends.

    • Colors: black, navy blue, charcoal grey and dark brown.
    • Guidelines: color and fabric should match; two and three-button suits are acceptable; button color should match fabric; avoid jackets with vents; should fit well (alter if needed).

    Shirts & Blouses

    • Fabrics: silk blends, cotton blends and polyester blends.

    • Colors: white and light blue.

    • Guidelines: shirts should have long sleeves; cuffs on sleeves are best; well-defined or high collars are best.


    • Fabrics: leather and leather imitation.

    • Colors: black, dark brown and dark grey.

    • Guidelines: match color/color family of suit; should be comfortable; should be cleaned and polished; 2.5-inch heels or shorter acceptable.
    Business Casual

    Jackets, Pants, Skirts & Suits

    • Fabrics: linen, silk/silk blends, cotton blends and polyester blends.

    • Colors: black, grey, tan, Earth tones, and solid colors.

    • Guidelines: top-bottom colors may differ; soft collars acceptable; buttons may be light colors.
    • Shirts, Sweaters, Polos and Blouses

    • Fabrics: cotton, silk/silk blends and knits.
    • Colors: black, dark shades, ivory and pastels (spring and summer).

    • Guidelines: shirts and polos should be collared; shirts should be button-down; shirts should have long sleeves; short sleeves are ok for sweater and polo.


    • Fabrics: leather and leather imitation.

    • Colors: black, brown, grey and tan.

    • Guidelines: should be comfortable; should be cleaned and polished; 2.5-inch heels or shorter acceptable.
  • Thank You Emails/Letters

    Thank you notes can generally be sent over email (it’s quicker this way and you are more easily able to include links to your online portfolio or LinkedIn account), but can also be sent in handwritten form.

    • Just do it – and do it quickly (within 24 hours)
    • Compose (and personalize) thank-you letters to each person you met
    • Reinforce your interest and enthusiasm in the position and employer
    • Highlight your key selling points and fit
    • Address any weaknesses or misunderstandings
    • Add content/points not addressed in interview
    • Carefully proofread/edit and keep short and concise 
    What to Avoid
    • Sending continuous thank you emails after you’ve sent an initial one and a follow-up
    • Sending the interviewers materials that don’t help your candidacy for the position
    • Being too casual in your letter – including memes, emojis or internet acronyms
    • Sending a thank you letter with misspellings or grammatical errors

    Dear Director Lang:

    Thank you for meeting with me this morning to discuss the Public Health Internship position with Texas Health Foundation. I enjoyed our conversation, and I am very excited about the possibility of joining your team.

    I would also like to thank you for asking about where my passion for health comes from. In addition to my family’s story that I shared, I am interested in and concerned about the increasing obesity rate in Texas. Texas has the 10th highest adult obesity rate in the nation, and, unfortunately, many members of my hometown community are among those affected. I hope one day to help develop and implement educational programs in an effort to decrease this rate.

    Having learned more about your internship program, my enthusiasm for this opportunity has increased and I am confident that I will help add value to your mission. As I briefly mentioned in the interview, as the fundraising intern for XYZ Foundation, I conducted grant-related research, helped manage the contact database, created reports for prospect and donor events and performed data analysis to help create future fundraising goals. Personally – and more importantly – I share the Texas Health Foundation’s interest in and passion for health.

    Again, thank you for considering me for this exciting opportunity. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Alicia Sandoval

  • Salary Negotiation & Offers
    Salary Negotiation
    • Do you know what a fair salary is for this particular position and company? Research typical entry-level salaries in your field. Resources like LinkedIn Salary, Indeed Salary Search and Glass Door can help.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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!
    • 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.  
    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.


    The Offer

    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.

  • Accordion 4
    Panel 4. Add body text in this space.
  • Accordion 5
    Panel 5. Add body text in this space.