Interview Guide

The Isenberg Guide to Interviewing

You’ve successfully presented your qualifications through your resume and cover letter. Now comes the interview, which is your opportunity to expand on your strengths and demonstrate that you’re an excellent fit for the company. This comprehensive guide provides the information and advice you’ll need to prepare for your interview and take full advantage of this significant opportunity.

Presenting Your Authentic Self

Before you can take the first step in preparing for an interview, it is essential to reflect on who you are and what you value. The next step is being able to clearly articulate the knowledge, skills, experience, passion, values, and commitment that you’ll bring to your target opportunity.

Who are you?

In most cases, candidates interviewing for the same position will possess similar skills and qualifications.  Therefore, you must distinguish yourself by identifying the unique skills, talents, and attributes you bring to the table. Align your past accomplishments with a company’s needs and let the interviewer know how you’ll add value by developing detailed and thoughtful stories and answers to questions such as:

  • What are your greatest strengths or personal attributes that align with this position?
  • How have you utilized these strengths to make a significant impact?
  • Which areas do you excel in or possess a particular talent?
  • What skills do you find come easily to you?
  • What excites you about this opportunity?
  • Can you share any noteworthy achievements or results you have accomplished in the past?
  • Can you tell me something interesting about you that is not on your resume?

Adapting Your Elevator Pitch

Responding to the common “Who are you?” or “Tell me about yourself” question can be surprisingly challenging if you do not have a structured framework to work with. A compelling strategy in answering this question is to adapt your elevator pitch. The “Tell me about yourself” question provides an opportunity to showcase your personality, highlight relevant experiences, and align them with a company’s needs. 

This is your chance to effectively communicate your qualifications and demonstrate your fit for the role. In order to ensure that the interviewer remembers you as a strong candidate, strike a balance between being concise and providing enough information to capture the their interest.

QuestionExample Response
Briefly introduce yourself – Name, School, Year, Major, etc.I am a current senior at the UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management, majoring in operations and information management, and I have developed a strong passion for supply chain management.
Highlight your relevant experience – emphasize key achievements that align with the job requirements.Through my involvement in student organizations and internships, I have gained valuable leadership skills and practical experience. I have completed two internships, where I contributed to several procurement projects with small teams.
Express your career interests and passion for the industry or field, as well as any unique qualities or skills that set you apart.Upon graduation, I hope to apply my theoretical knowledge to real-world projects, as I enjoy logistics and identifying areas where companies can streamline inventory process solutions.
Why are you here / What will you contribute?Overall, my time at Isenberg has prepared me to take on new challenges and make a meaningful impact. I am enthusiastic about bringing my dedication, skills, and enthusiasm to a dynamic and collaborative team.
view from above of people shaking hands

Pro Tip: On-campus Recruiting

The on-campus recruiting (OCR) process connects employers to Umass students. Employers participating in OCR are considered “employer partners” and typically have strong relationships with Isenberg. Generally, they’re peopled by alumni who want to hire more UMass candidates. 

Taking advantage of OCR allows you to gain a strong knowledge of a company, build relationships with recruiters and firm representatives, and make your interest in the company known.  Likewise, companies use these events as “impression points” that help them develop an opinion of a candidate. Many employer partners have successful alumni on their teams who want to hire more UMass candidates.

Interview Readiness

Now that you have identified the competencies you bring to the table, it is time to do your “homework!” You should plan on spending 5-10 hours preparing for an interview. Your preparation should include reviewing your resume and researching the position, company, and industry in addition to developing and practicing answers to interview questions. This section describes the steps you should take before you interview.

Researching the Industry, Company, and Position

Learn as much as possible about the industry and company by investigating the company’s mission statement, values, history, financial performance, competitors, acquisitions, and product lines and services before the interview. Conducting thorough research will allow you to offer thoughtful answers to common questions like “Why do you want to work for this company?” and describe how you’ll make meaningful contributions based on the company and industry priorities. Visit the UMass Business Library Guide to find several tools for facilitating company and industry research including business databases such as IBISWorld, Marketline Advantage, and more.

Pro Tip: Get Insider Information via Informational Interviews

The goal of an informational interview is to help you learn about an industry, company, or role. Conduct several interviews and look for themes in response to your questions on trends, insights, advice, resources, and work assignments. LinkedIn is a great way to find informational interview candidates.

two people introducing each other at an event

Analyzing the Job Posting

A careful review of the job posting will tell you a lot about what the company is looking for and what questions you’ll likely be asked in the interview. Read it carefully and highlight the skills, experience, and competencies mentioned. Note that these are usually listed in order of importance. Review the highlighted information and pay particular attention to words that come up more than once, as they are likely important. You can guarantee that you’ll be asked about your experience in these areas. 

Additionally, the job posting will provide introductory information the company wants the reader to know. This is a good indicator of the company’s work structure and values and hints at the type of fit they seek for their team. Never ask questions about the position that have been answered in the job posting. While you may ask for elaboration if something is not clear or ask for additional information, it’s your responsibility to know what you’ve applied for and to present yourself as an excellent fit.

Improving Performance Through Mock Interviews

A mock interview helps you learn how to answer difficult questions, develop interview strategies, improve your communication skills, and reduce your stress before an actual job interview. Big Interview, an interview prep resource accessible to all Isenberg students, not only provides a comprehensive interview guide but also serves as a platform for mock interviewing. Additionally, you can make an appointment with an Office of Student Success Career Coach for an in-person mock interview.

During a mock interview with the Office of Career Success, your coach may use the structure and format of a real interview rather than strictly asking a formal list of questions. Be sure to take your mock interview as seriously as you would an actual interview. Get ready for the mock interview just as you would for an interview with a hiring manager ― managing the stress of a real interview is worth practicing, too.

Managing Technology and Your On-camera Presence

Making a good first impression is equally as important in a virtual setting as it is in person. There are many ways to engage an employer when interviewing online.

Pro Tip: Interview Sequence

Most employers require 2-3 interviews before making a hiring decision. Interviews may take place virtually or in person. Screening or first-round interviews often take the form of a phone call, a one-way virtual interview (e.g., through HireVue), or an on-campus activity. If the recruiter thinks you’re a good fit for the role and the company culture, you’ll be invited for a second-round interview.

two people introducing each other at an event

Log on 10-15 minutes early and enter the video chat promptly. Have reliable Wi-Fi, a fully charged laptop or device, and the employer’s phone number and email available if you experience connection issues.

Look professional from the waist up.  Consider a button-up shirt or blouse, and groom as carefully as you would for an in-person meeting.

Find a clean, quiet area with a neutral background. If unable to find a neutral background, you should blur your background or use a professional-looking virtual background. Inform room/housemates of your upcoming interview in advance to ensure nobody will walk behind you or make loud noises while you’re in the middle of the interview. 

This gives the appearance of making eye contact with your interviewer, which helps foster a sense of attentiveness and enthusiasm.

Practice active listening by nodding your head to give affirmations of understanding and asking clarifying questions when necessary. It is perfectly acceptable to take notes, however, you will want to mention this to the interviewer so they do not assume you are distracted. Keep a notebook nearby so you can jot down questions or key takeaways…without the loud typing.

Reverse Interviewing: Ask questions!

You will have the opportunity to ask the interviewer questions at the end of an interview. Always come prepared with questions as it demonstrates your genuine interest in the position and company. It shows you are actively seeking more information to make an informed decision. Your enthusiasm and curiosity will leave a positive impression!

What are the benefits of asking questions in an interview?

  1. Allows you to gather valuable insights about the company, its culture, and the specific role you are applying for.
  2. Provides the opportunity to assess if the company aligns with your career goals, values, and work preferences.
  3. You can inquire about team dynamics, growth opportunities, company values, or any specific projects or initiatives of interest. This information helps you evaluate whether the company is the right fit for you, and it will be useful in comparing your interviews with other companies.

As a general guideline, you should come prepared with 4-5 thoughtful questions. If you have a panel interview or your interview consists of a number of interview groups, prepare questions for each section of the interview. As able, determine the general makeup of the panel members and tailor questions to the specific roles represented. You do not need to ask each question, but having a selection on hand will bring you relief in situations where some of your questions may have already been addressed during the interview. The number of questions is not as important as the quality and relevance of the questions you ask.

Common Interview Formats

Different job interview formats aim to understand different aspects of you as a candidate. Knowing the key differences between these types of formats can help you prepare for the right types of questions and improve your chances of getting to the next round of the recruiting process.

One-way, Pre-recorded Interviews

Many employers are utilizing one-way video technologies to conduct screening or first-round interviews to increase hiring efficiency. These interviews are one-way, meaning there’s no human interaction. You’ll be sent a link with instructions and a timeline for completion. HireVue, SparkHire, and Willow are three platforms employers commonly use to conduct these interviews.

Once you activate the system, you’ll have a limited time to prepare for each question, typically 90 seconds to 3 minutes, and you’ll sometimes have an option to practice before submitting a final answer.  Most pre-recorded interview questions are traditional or behavioral questions. Preparation and practice before the interview will increase your ability to answer these questions quickly.

Ask a Career Coach

Question: Should I respond immediately to a request for a pre-recorded interview, or is it okay to wait until the end of the proposed timeframe?

Answer: Complete the interview as soon as you can. Some employers may encourage you to be prompt due to a high volume of candidates, but there’s no penalty for completing the interview on the last day.  However, if you miss your deadline, you’ll be unable to complete the interview.

Phone Interviews

Receiving a phone call from a recruiter signals your resume has met the basic qualifications, and the company would like to learn more to determine if they should move you forward in the recruiting process. While phone interviews are typically used to screen candidates, there are instances where candidates have been hired from a phone interview. In short, take these seriously. 

A request for a phone interview may come at any moment such as when you’re in class or walking across campus. Don’t feel pressure to answer if you’re not ready for a conversation. Let the call go to voicemail ― make sure to have a professional greeting ― and return it as soon as possible. Making a good impression over the phone requires focused and positive energy. Prepare notes but don’t read off them. Instead, speak in a natural, animated fashion. Convey a degree of seriousness and professionalism. Ask a friend to give feedback on your tone, energy, and answers, if possible.

In-Person Interviews

An in-person interview typically follows a phone or virtual screening interview. It helps the interviewer learn more about you and better understand your fit with the company. 

You may be invited to multiple in-person interviews depending on the role. If the company recruits at Isenberg, the initial in-person interview may occur on-campus, followed by invitation to visit the company location. Typically, a second and third-round in-person interview is required for graduating seniors seeking roles in large firms with highly competitive rotational or leadership development programs and many qualified candidates.

Your excitement and degree of genuine interest, which are often revealed by your nonverbal communication and body language, are an important part of an employer’s assessment of your candidacy. Preparation and practice will allow your enthusiasm to shine through.

two people talking and looking at documents together

Ask a Career Coach

Question: What does “fit” mean in the interview process?

Answer: Fit is typically determined by answering three questions: Will your experience and skill set enable you to succeed in the role? Have you demonstrated you understand and would embrace the company culture? Have you begun to develop authentic connections with members of the hiring team?

Live, Virtual Interviews

By now, we all have experienced the convenience and efficiency of virtual meetings, so it’s no surprise that live, virtual interviews are common in today’s hiring landscape. They’re used for first-round screenings and second and final-round interviews, including one or more interviewers and back-to-back sessions. While virtual interviews can feel casual, they may be your only interaction with an employer before a potential offer is extended.

Search resources like Glassdoor for interview questions the company has previously asked. Social media platforms such as YouTube or TikTok can offer strategies, tips, and examples from experts, career coaches, and industry professionals. Exercise caution while utilizing these platforms, as not all content may be reliable or suitable for every situation. LinkedIn Learning can be used for courses on virtual interview tips.

Pro Tip: Remember Your Virtual Etiquette

Practice good virtual etiquette by checking technology before any virtual interaction, placing yourself in a distraction-free space, ensuring proper lighting, and dressing appropriately for the occasion.

person sitting in front of a laptop with pen in hand

Panel Interview

Companies use panel interviews to reduce the risk of making a poor hire. Generally, those who frequently interact with the candidate serve on panels, such as hiring managers, team members, and cross-functional partners. These individuals will be well-versed in the job requirements and company culture and, therefore, able to evaluate your prospects for success with the company. 

In a panel interview, one person may act as the lead, while others are given specific questions to ask.  You may engage in a back-and-forth with one interviewer, or there may be a free-flowing discussion. It’s important to maintain high energy and engagement with each panelist and treat them all with equal attentiveness. Both the content of your answers and the way to which you conduct yourself in the interview will be considered in their evaluation.

Panel interviews require quick thinking, adaptability, and the ability to handle diverse conversational styles. They also help evaluate your team and collaboration skills, emphasizing the importance of being conversational. Researching the panelists on LinkedIn can establish rapport and uncover shared interests or connections, enhancing the interview experience. Additionally, knowing a little bit about panelists can help you to create tailored questions to ask them during this panel interview portion of your interview.

Pro Tip

Be sure you have contact information for each interviewer so you can send personalized thank you notes following the interview.

Sending a hand-written note is a great way to stand out from the crowd, but sending an email is a good option if you know they’ll be making a decision soon. An email is better than not sending a thank-you message at all!

Group Interview

A group interview involves multiple candidates participating in a collaborative activity, such as a group project, mingling exercise, or a meal. Group interviews allow hiring managers to observe your interactions with other candidates, which gives them a sense of how you might approach team-based tasks. Companies often choose group interviews when hiring for multiple openings in a structured program like an internship or a management development program. 

When taking part in a group interview, you’ll be assessed on the following behavior:

  • What role(s) you play in the group.
  • What contributions you made or new ideas you offered.
  • Whether you demonstrated respect for other people’s perspectives.
  • Whether you were comfortable jumping into new situations with new people.

Super Day Interviews

Super Day interviews are commonly used in competitive recruitment processes with investment banks and consulting firms but are rapidly expanding into other industries. They are offered when you’re deemed a strong fit for a position. If invited to a Super Day, you’ve reached a very important step! 

Super Days may contain a series of one-on-one interviews with traditional, behavioral, and technical questions. Expect networking opportunities, informational sessions, and a meal. Generally, you will be provided with an agenda for the day, requiring at least 3 hours of meetings with company representatives. The Management Consulted site provides an exceptional resource for Super Days.

Tips for Super Day Interviews:

Companies want to hire individuals who bring new and diverse viewpoints to the team. Showing off your personality can make you stand apart from the crowd and improve your chances of making a strong impression.

Between the networking events and the interviews, remembering people’s names shows you pay attention and improves how people perceive you. This can also help you connect with people and grow your professional network.  

If you develop a connection with an interviewer or senior executive, they may be more likely to speak in your favor. They can also become valuable contacts for you.

Asking questions in your interviews shows your interest in the company and can make a great impression on the interviewer. You can also determine if the company is a good fit by asking the interviewer questions about the culture.

Pro Tip

When attending a Super Day, expect the unexpected ― a curveball question, a schedule change, or an interviewer not showing up. Your ability to adapt to change is what is important. Super Days demonstrate the flexibility and stamina required for someone to excel in a role with the company.

person talking to others at an event

Interview Types

Employers are increasingly using different types of interviews to screen candidates more efficiently. You can expect to encounter the following common interview types

Traditional Interview

Traditional interviews employ open-ended questions designed to offer insight into your resume and qualifications.  They seek to reveal your degree of self-awareness, experiences, professional motivations and aspirations, and interpersonal skills.  Typical questions you’ll be asked during a traditional interview include:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Walk me through your resume.
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why do you want to work for this industry/company?
  • How would most recent teammates or colleagues describe you?
  • What are two or three things most important to you in your job?
  • Where do you see yourself professionally in 3-5 years?

Behavioral Interview & Situational/Scenario Interview

Interviewers want to understand your potential future performance, so asking about your past performance is a common interview strategy. Behavioral interview questions ask you to convey an example of a time when you demonstrated a skill or behavior required for your target position. Typical questions you’ll be asked during a behavioral interview include:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to use effective communication skills.
  • Give me an example of a situation when you had to analyze data and make a decision.
  • Describe a situation where you dealt with an underperforming team member. What did you do? 
  • Tell me about a time when you were given an unclear task or project. How did you move forward?
  • Are you a self-starter? Give an example of a time when you took initiative.
  • Describe a time when you had to motivate others – what did you do?

Be prepared to tell multiple stories showing you practicing the skills and competencies relevant to the position you’re seeking. In other words, they must show you in action. Use the STAR method in forming your responses

To prepare for STAR responses, take an inventory of transferable skills you bring to the table. Write down 3-7 competencies you can talk about or feature in an interview with an employer. Think about 2-3 examples from work or school in which you demonstrated those transferable skills and competencies. Allocate the bulk of your answer to the Action component, as it effectively showcases how you dealt with the given situation.

Describe the situation. What were the circumstances? What was the challenge? (1-2 statements)

Describe the task to be completed and the skills needed to achieve it. What goal were you working toward? (1-2 statements)

Describe the actions you took. Employers want to know what you, as an individual, did to affect a situation. (3-5 statements)

What happened? How did you improve something? What did you learn? Use quantifiable data when possible to demonstrate results. (1-2 statements)

Situational or scenario interviews involve questions that ask you to describe how you might respond to a hypothetical situation on the job. Your answers to these allow you to highlight how you would use your experiences, abilities, and strengths to overcome future challenges. For example, a question such as “How would you approach being asked to perform a task you have never done by your manager?” will help the interviewer imagine you in action in their setting.

person holding a phone while smiling

Pro Tip

Analyze the job posting section for the required skills and competencies, then review your resume and decide which stories you will prepare STAR answers to that demonstrate these skills.

Writing down your stories and experience examples beforehand will help you prepare for a variety of questions.

Skill-based Interview

In a skill-based interview, you answer questions designed to assess whether your skill set matches what the organization is looking for and whether you’ll be able to apply those skills consistently and efficiently to complete tasks. These interviews can be a bit rigid because you’re being assessed on a specific list of highly relevant skills. Common skills and competencies employers prefer are adaptability, organization, communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership.

Case Interview

During a case interview, you’ll be asked to solve a problem posed in a real or hypothetical business situation. In some instances, the case will be provided before the interview but most of the time it will be delivered onsite, and you’ll have limited time to develop your approach and solution. Some case study interviews are held through a series of interviews with one interviewer. Other case interviews are conducted in groups. Keep in mind that every interview will include behavioral questions as well. Some companies will schedule this separately or merge the two. Case interviews typically last from 45-60 minutes, with a focus on the case itself lasting 30-45 minutes.

Case interviews are commonly used in consulting, data analytics, and advisory interviews. Walk the interviewer through your thought process and present your solution. 

What are interviewers looking for?

  • Demonstration of analytical, problem-solving, industry knowledge, professional judgement, and communication skills
  • The methods used to solve the problem including teamwork, creativity, and brainstorming
  • Your ability to gather, clean, and analyze data for insights

6 steps for approaching a case, suggested by leading consulting company, Accenture:

  1. Listen to the case
  2. Clarify the problem
  3. Analyze the problem
  4. State a hypothesis
  5. Test the hypothesis
  6. Summarize your findings

Big Interview: Practice interview questions – Click on “Practice” from the tool bar at the top of your account, and select either practice by industry, or competency (Examples: By Industry: Management Consulting; By Competency: Analytical)

Pro Tip

A case interview will often test your ability to make real-world estimates. The purpose is to assess your reasoning, rather than your knowledge. Making assumptions will be necessary in declaring an estimate.

Most cases do not have one correct approach or answer, but rather several credible solutions. All cases require you to use logical and analytical thinking in a structured response format. You’re expected to ask clarifying and exploratory questions to gather information.

Technical Interviews

Technical interviews are used by employers to gauge a set of very specific skills required for the role. Unlike other types of interviews, technical interviews involve challenges and assignments. They are more like an exam than a typical question-and-answer interview. 

Often these interviews are used in banking, information technology, data analytics, and science-based interview settings. Researching the types of technical skills you’ll need for the job will be critical to your success. Analyze the job posting, check Glassdoor for potential questions, utilize Big Interview (Practice interviews by Industry – Technology), and watch LinkedIn Learning content on technical interviewing. If possible, talk to current employees in the role about the day-to-day technical aspects of the job.

The interviewer is looking for a demonstration of technical skills within specific software (level of proficiency, competencies, functions, etc.). Often, there is a focus on programming, coding, structured queries, and relational databases. Some technical interviews may require a pre-interview online assessment to narrow down a field of candidates. This may happen before or after an initial phone screen. Generally, it is a timed test that must be completed by a given date. You may be presented with a whiteboard test, coding test, or other assessment-based technical questions.

Students most frequently test on Excel, Tableau, Python, and SQL; however, position, company, and industry will dictate technical expectations. Sometimes you will be given your choice of software to present – in this case, choose software that you have the most experience and comfortability, and practice! Utilize DataCamp, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning or other resources to refresh skills.

Remember to be prepared and comfortable dealing with unfamiliar scenarios. The interviewer wants to know how you can apply your knowledge in a professional setting. They are interested in your understanding of the nature of the problem, your thought process in how you formulate solutions, and how well you communicate.

Tips for mastering your technical interview:

Interviewers want to understand and experience your thought process, so it is important to verbalize what you are thinking throughout the entire interview. You will be evaluated on this!

Make sure that you understand the problem and have all the information that you need. Some problems may be vague or ill-defined to assess your confidence in asking questions and gathering data.

Show that you can envision multiple perspectives and paths forward, evaluating each for the best fit for the scenario.

Even if you don’t arrive at a solution, the process you used should be documented.

If they think you are going in the wrong direction, they will often try to help. You can ask periodically if they have any questions or if you are on the right track.

If you don’t know the answer, take a few minutes to think about it. Say that you have not encountered a similar scenario, but you are going to try to work through a process to solve the problem. Think out loud, ask for some direction.

If you have no background in the topic, be honest. You can say, “I don’t have a background in “topic X”, but I would love to learn about it, and intend to do some research on it after this interview. May I demonstrate my problem-solving skills to you in a different way today?”

Pro Tip: Technical Interview Prep

Post-Interview Practices

Send a Thank You Email

Within 24 hours of your interview, compose and send an individualized and thoughtful thank you email. Thank the interviewer for their time, include relevant points from your discussion, and briefly summarize why you are the right candidate for the job.

Immediately after your interview, record notes about what you were asked and how you answered. Note parts of the conversation that you feel went very well, and perhaps aspects that didn’t go as well (for use in future interview preparation). Identify points that you would like to clarify or expand on in a follow-up interview, topics that require further research or preparation, and additional questions that you have for the interviewer.

Follow Up

It is customary to wait at least 2 weeks after your interview to follow up if you have not yet received a status update on your candidacy. If you were advised that it would take longer than that time frame, then allow at least 1 more week after the date referenced.

Ask where they are in the decision-making process, without a pressured tone. Pose your question in a way that makes you seem helpful, such as “I am following up in case there is additional information I can provide.”

Proceed Accordingly

If you are offered the position, make sure you understand all aspects of the offer and when they will need a decision. If you are not selected, ask your interviewer if they can offer feedback. While many recruiters are prohibited from providing interview feedback for liability purpose, some recruiters will be able to provide you with some insight regarding what differentiated you from the person who was offered the role. Don’t take this as criticism; rather, write it down and file it away so that you have more knowledge for your next interview.

Other Considerations

Interview Code of Conduct

Knowing the guidelines for conduct throughout the recruiting process will ensure you demonstrate the professionalism employers seek. Best practices include:

  • Honesty.  Provide accurate information about your academic, work, and other experience in interview answers and all communications with recruiters. 
  • Punctuality.  Show up early to all interviewing and recruiting engagements and promptly communicate any potential schedule disruptions.
  • Authentic interest.  Never interview for a position you would not accept.  Doing so wastes the company’s time and resources and denies an opportunity for another candidate. 
  • Communication.  Stay in contact with recruiters about other offers and timelines.

For more information, refer to Isenberg’s Campus Recruiting Policies.

Managing Multiple Interviews and Offers

Receiving multiple job offers at the same time can be exciting ― and confusing. Knowing what is important to you in the offer and opportunity should guide your decision-making in these situations.

As a rule, however, you should never accept an offer if you want to continue interviewing with other organizations. Accepting an offer “in good faith” means you will follow through with your commitment.  Don’t let an offer deadline pressure you into making a hasty decision. Take action: call the company and ask for a few more days to make your decision, and then contact the other employer to see if they could accelerate the process. If possible, meet with an Office of Career Success Career Coach regarding your situation. There are strategies to manage these common situations, you don’t have to figure it out on your own.

Professional Attire

Dressing appropriately for an interview signals attentiveness, seriousness, and respect. But today’s business culture is evolving and complicated. For example, many corporate settings are casual, often for C Suite officials, too, so knowing how to dress for an interview isn’t always clear.

​If you’re ever unsure about a dress code, err on the side of caution. Too formal is better than too informal.​ Don’t worry about brand names or prices. Dressing appropriately doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. Focus on conservative colors and patterns ― you’ll never go wrong in a black, navy, or dark gray suit. Make sure your clothes are clean, pressed, and well-fitted.

Nonverbal Communication

Some experts believe that 70% of our messaging is conveyed nonverbally, through our body language. 

Although it is normal to experience nervousness during an interview, be aware that it has an impact on your nonverbal communication. Pay attention to the signals you are sending through your posture, gestures, and expressions – make sure they align or amplify your verbal messaging. 

Practicing your interview skills with a career coach or trusted friend can help to reduce nervousness, align your verbal and nonverbal messaging, and increase an interviewer’s trust and confidence in you.

Use of Assessment Tools in the Hiring Process

Some employers use pre-employment tests to determine whether a candidate has the skills, work style, knowledge, and personality to succeed in a job. These assessments help employers recruit more efficiently and ensure they hire the most qualified candidates. While there is no way to prepare in advance for assessments, understand that they exist and may come up.

  • Personality assessments like Myers-Briggs and the Big Five model measure personality traits like agreeableness, conscientiousness, motivation, and other attributes that may indicate a culture fit and, for certain roles, correlate to on-the-job success.
  • Emotional intelligence tests assess how well you perceive and act on emotions ― both your own and others. These abilities are critical success factors in positions that involve relationship management, team-based work, and leadership.
  • Gamified assessments test your performance in an immersive, virtual experience with game elements, which helps employers make data-driven decisions that reduce bias in hiring. These assessments can be fun, but they require intense focus and can last up to an hour or more.

Callout: Gamification Is Growing

Many employers are beginning to use gamified assessments for recruiting, including Google, Coca-Cola, Deloitte, Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, Dominos, Marriott, JPMorgan, Whirlpool, and the US Army and Air Force.

Many more use gamification for onboarding new employees, training, measuring performance, and promoting teamwork.

group of students working together looking at laptops and notebooks

Additional Resources

IConnect, Isenberg’s virtual career center, offers extensive resources to support you as you conduct an internship and career search. Navigate to Guides & How-To’s > “Interview Prep” for guidance on these topics. In addition, please feel free to visit the Office of Career Success and meet with a career coach or career peer. The Office of Career Success is happy to help!