Preparing for Your Interview
Congratulations--you got the interview! Start preparing early and schedule an appointment via Handshake; we can map out next steps. Think of preparing for interviews as a five-step process:
1. Know yourself
- Self-assess as you prepare your responses to questions like: "tell me about yourself", "describe your leadership and communication style", and "what is your most significant accomplishment"?
- Talk to your peers, professors, and family. They can offer a valuable perspective when evaluating your own attributes and personality traits.
- Talk to one of us and we can assist you in framing this information within the context of the position you’re applying to. Schedule a Mock Interview.
2. Know the employer, and how you can contribute
- Conduct research prior to the interview so you can be familiar with the company's products and services, its mission statement and values, how it was established, and where it is headed.
- Use Feldberg Library's resources to get in-depth background information that will make you standout as an applicant. Here is the Interview Prep Guide.
3. Prepare to discuss salary
- Prior to your interview, research industry salary ranges, the salary range of your potential position, and the company's benefit package.
- Determine your personal budget. Think about rent, transportation, bills, food, and fun.
- While salary may be introduced in your first interview, you should never bring it up yourself. If sharing salary is required, conduct research through Glassdoor or other aggregate sites and put a range or "competitive" in your application.
- Here are a few ways to respond when asked about salary:
a) I am open/flexible about starting salary; b) My requirements are competitive for this industry; c) My range is ________ ; or d) I would like to have this conversation after determinining if there is a fit between the two of us.
4. Look your best
- For your in-person interview:
Whether you are interviewing at a traditional consulting firm or a start-up, keep your look basic and conservative. We like Stetson University's 'Dress to Impress' page!
- Make sure your outfit:
looks clean, pressed, and tailored to you.
- Remember the little things:
Shine your shoes, check for loose hems, tidy your hair and nails, shave, and leave the perfume at home.
- For your virtual interview:
It is suggested you wear business casual professional clothing—the same way you would for an in-person interview. Although the interviewer may only see your upper half, it is a good idea to wear professional pants or a skirt in case you need to stand up for any reason.
Thayer Career Services provides a zero cost 'Career Closet' in our office located in MacLean M113. All donated business clothing came from staff & faculty, so take what you like and feel free to keep it!
5. Show up, be interested, ask questions, and follow-up
- Be on time.
- Make eye contact, and answer the questions asked.
- Ask for clarification if you need it.
- Be prepared to ask your own questions that demonstrate your prior research.
1) What is the usual time frame for making a hiring decision?
2) How has this position evolved since it was created?
3) What have you enjoyed most about working here? And, why did you choose this company?
4) Can you describe some current challenges that the selected candidate will encounter?
- Here are five questions to help you determine the workplace culture.
- After each interview, follow-up promptly within 24 hours with a thank you note.
-Remember that the interviewing process is one of mutual selection.
-Should you receive and accept an offer, you will spend more time with your colleagues than with most individuals in your life.
-It's important that you like them and the work that you do.
What Are They?
Many companies use a technique called behavioral interviewing, which is premised on the notion that your past performance is the best predictor of your future performance. While traditional interviewing asks you to state opinions: "Tell me about yourself"; "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"; and "Why do you want to work for this company?"-- behavioral interviewing is reflective. Specifically, the interviewer wants to know how you handled challenges related to the skill set the company requires for the position.
How Can I Prepare?
- Practice Interview Questions
- Linkedin Learning: Expert Tips for Answering Common Interview Questions
- Schedule a "mock interview' appointment with us via Handshake.
- Check out Dartmouth Library's career research guides to help you research.
- Download our STAR Stories Table to begin organizing your thoughts.
Task, leading to the
Actions taken or not taken by the applicant, and the
Results or changes caused by these actions
- Interviewer: Give me a specific incident in which you had to address a problem with a team member.
- Applicant: Situation/Task: During my summer job, I had to provide engineering support for experienced operations personnel, but the plant foreman would not allow operations to make a change I recommended. Action: I sat down with the foreman and sought her assistance. Result: Once we reviewed my plan and revised it to address her concerns, the plan was implemented.
Implementing the STAR Method
Keep in mind, the interview is about how you can specifically contribute to the company, so have succinct STAR stories at the ready that incorporate the skills the company is looking for. Each of your examples should relate to the job description in some way.
What are Companies Assessing During the Interview?
- Your ability to communicate clearly and efficiently
- Flexibility and your ability to manage uncertainty
- How you analyze/assess problems
- Leadership and teamwork skills: Are you motivated? How do you take initiative?
- Prioritization and work organization
- Do you have the skill set that the company is looking for?
Think in advance of anecdotes/stories that demonstrate your strengths as exhibited in past behaviors in each dimension.
What Are They?
For employers recruiting in areas such as engineering and software roles, technical interviews are a common part of the interview process. Technical interviews often include solving complex problems, coding, and numerical reasoning challenges.
- Princeton’s Tech Interview Prep page
- Prepping for the Google Tech Interview
- Cracking the Big Tech Coding Interview
What Are They?
These online assessments aim to learn about how you think , without requiring prior knowledge in areas such as business. They require you to breakdown complex and real-life problems and to come up with creative solutions. For example, if you apply to a BCG office in the US you’ll be invited to complete a 25-minute, game-based pymetrics assessment within 48 hours of receiving the invitation.
- Cognitive Interviews & How to Ace One - https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/guide/cognitive-interview/
- Google's General Cognitive Ability (GCA) Tips -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIMR82oO2Dc
What Are They?
In a case interview, you and the interviewer engage in a discussion about a hypothetical business problem. He or she is assessing how you analyze a situation, how well you can dissect a problem, your ability to think quickly under pressure, and how clearly you can communicate your findings.
Who Uses Them?
Cases aren't just for consultancies anymore. With that said, they do make up the bulk of companies that use this technique, in addition to investment banks.
How do I Prepare?
Practice. Practice. Then practice more! Drop by our office to check out Case in Point. Connect with an MBA candidate from the Tuck Consulting Club, and with alumni who are in positions that interest you. Check out interactive cases and guides that are provided on consultancy's websites.
- Bring a pen and small notebook if you wish to sketch scenarios/mathematical calculations.
- Ask clarifying questions before you begin and as you go along so you can prioritize your objectives.
- Take time to think through your essential points and to organize your response.
- Pause and mentally regroup as needed.
- In all cases, restate the problem, make certain assumptions, identify needed research and analysis, summarize and make a recommendation.
Helpful websites for case interview preparation include:
See notes from the CPD (Center for Professional Development) - Case Interview Preparation.