You have worked hard during your college career by focusing on your studies, internships, student teaching, and other activities.

You have developed a great résumé that cleanly summarizes your accomplishments and delivers a clear message about you to your potential employers.

As a result, you have an interview!

What is an interview?

A job interview is a two-way exchange of information. It provides a way to learn more about the organization and the position, and to sell yourself to the interviewee. It provides the interviewer a means to learn about what you have to offer. In other words, they are assessing you as a potential employee and you are assessing them as a potential employer.

Interview Stages

Interviewing is often a multistage process consisting of one or more screening interviews and decision interviews. All stages of the process are equally important because you can be cut at any point.

Screening Interview: The purpose of a screening interview it to verify facts stated on the résumé and to screen out inappropriate/unqualified applicants. Screening interviews often occur via telephone, at career fairs, and on campus. These interviews are often conducted by recruiters or other human resources representatives.

Decision Interviews: The decision interview is conducted by the hiring manager; that is, the person with the authority to make the hiring decision. This person is trying to determine whether you possess the qualifications, characteristics, and skills to do the job, and how well you will fit into the organization.

Interview Structure

There is no single format or interview structure. Therefore, when an organization invites you to interview, you should gather as much information as possible about the interview structure. For example:

  • Will you have a one-on-one or a group interview?
  • If a team interview, how many people are in the group?
  • What is the name and title of your interviewer?
  • Is it an in-person, telephone, or video interview?
  • What is the address?
  • Once on-site, how do you reach the interview room or building?
  • What is the name and title of your interviewer(s)?

You should also be prepared for different interview climates. Your interviewer may or may not engage you in casual conversation before the interview. Some organizations are more formal while others are relaxed. Also, be prepared to greet other interviewers as they arrive.