Professional Development Toolkit: Interviews
On-Campus Interviews: How Can I Participate?
Full-time undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in a degree program in Viterbi and have completed the OCI Contract are eligible to participate. Alumni are not eligible. An exception is made for December graduates who are able to participate during the Spring semester following their graduation.
Preparing For Your Interview
- Familiarize yourself with the On-Campus Recruiting Agreement/Guidelines for students and employers.
- Attend a Trojan Talk (AKA information session) to learn more about a company and meet some of their key employees.
- Learn the difference between behavioral and technical interviews.
- Utilize the mock interview platform, Big Interview, or practice answering sample interview questions.
- Prepare your 30-second elevator pitch.
- Learn how interviews are scored.
- Take another look at the job description to refresh your memory of the exact nature of the job.
- Review the company website, read current news articles about the company or industry, or review LinkedIn or Glassdoor.
- Conduct informational interviews to find out more about the company before your interview. Have a virtual meeting between you and someone who can provide you with more information on your field, career, or industry of interest. Learn how to conduct an informational interview
- Review your job application materials (e.g. resume, cover letter...)
Prepare Questions to Ask the Interviewer
1. Does your organization have any affinity groups or committees to support diverse populations? If so, how do these groups contribute to the culture of the organization?
2. What social causes does your organization support?
3. What are you looking for in your ideal candidate?
4. How would you describe the company's culture?
5. What are the biggest challenges the company is facing right now?
6. What do you like most about working at this company?
7. What kinds of professional development opportunities are offered?
Questions to AVOID asking:
1. What does the company do?
2. How much will I make in this job?
Review behavioral questions commonly asked during interviews. Apply the STAR method to responses.
S - situation: describe the context
T - task: explain your responsibilities
A - action: demonstrate how you responded or took charge
R - result: explain the results
More guidance on questions to ask, provided here.
Dress to Impress: Professional clothing shows you are serious about the position as well as puts you in the right mindset for the interview.
Bring copies of your resume, a notebook, and pen: Bring at least five copies of your resume. Write down information so you can refer to these details later in your follow-up communication.
Plan ahead so that you arrive 15-20 minutes early: Map out your route ahead of time. If taking public transportation, come up with an alternative plan should something so wrong.
Practice good manners and body language: Treat everyone you encounter with respect, including all office staff. You never know, the hiring manager may ask for their opinion. Practice confident body language including smiling and looking people in the eye.
Tie your answers back to your skills and accomplishments: With any question you answer, it is important that you tie your background to the job by providing examples of solutions and results you’ve achieved. Use every opportunity to address the requirements listed in the job description.
Keep your answers concise and focused: Preparing for your interview ahead of time will allow you to think about your response and ensure you keep it short and simple.
Win them over with your authenticity and positivity: Being genuine during interview conversations can help employers easily relate to you. Showing positivity with a smile and upbeat body language can help keep the interview light and constructive.
Congratulations you’ve got a job offer! Now what?
Ask about next steps
This will likely be a follow-up email with results from your interview, additional requirements like an assignment or reference list or another interview.
Acknowledge the interviewer's time
Send a personalized thank you note to your interviewer.
Evaluating job offers
It may be a good idea to start thinking about evaluating the job opportunity in case you are extended an offer. Below are a few tips to get you started.
- Evaluate the company's financial standing
- Look up the corporate culture
- Research your position
- Where is the position located- research the area
- It's normal to negotiate- negotiations are a conversation, not a confrontation.
Evaluating & Negotiating Job Offers Resources
- Evaluating & Negotiating Job Offers
- Accepting/Reneging Guidelines