Types of Interview

Screening Interview

For an employer, this is a way to quickly narrow the candidate pool and screen individuals via phone or in person.

Telephone Interview

This is often done when the employer is long distance or in the initial interview screening phase.

Online (Webcam) Interview

This is becoming more popular for long-distance interviewing. Methods used could be Microsoft Teams/Zoom or a recorded video option such as HireView.

On-Site Interviews

This is often conducted during the final stages of the interviewing process and is usually at the employer's site. It may involve a large portion of the day.

Prior to the Interview

Before entering an interview, whether it be over the phone or in person, it is crucial you complete research on the job you applied for and the employer.

This requires serious self-reflection. Understand who you are and what you can and can’t do. Self-knowledge helps when you’re faced with questions like, “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses?”

  • Make decisions about your current career goals; what you want to do, why you want to do it, and where you want to do it.
  • Prepare to discuss courses you’ve taken and project/work experiences you’ve had that relate to the position.
  • Analyze your strengths and weaknesses, and be ready with specific examples that show how your positive traits will be an asset to the employer.
  • Become comfortable talking about your involvement with clubs, fraternities/sororities, sports, and other activities. This is a great way to demonstrate your leadership skills and ability to work effectively with others.

Interviewers love to ask “Why are you interested in working for us?” and “What do you know about our company?” To prepare for these questions, learn everything you can about the employer.

  • Visit their website and become familiar with the employer's history; products and services; current customer base; and potential new products, services, and markets.
  • Review their competitors’ websites.
  • Search LinkedIn, online journals, or news articles for recent employer news.
  • Know the job description inside and out. Picture yourself doing the daily tasks that the job requires.
  • Match your skills, experience, and interests with the job, and get you ready for questions like, “Why do you think you’re a good candidate for this position?”
  • Talk to others who have worked in similar positions. They can tell you things that you would never learn from searching the employer website.

Example Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you choose to interview with our organization?
  • What do you consider to be your strengths? Weaknesses?
  • Have you ever had any failures? What did you learn from them?
  • Of which accomplishment are you most proud?
  • What motivates you most in a job?
  • Have you had difficulty getting along with a former professor/co-worker? How did you handle it?
  • What do you know about our organization (products or services)?
  • How do you think a friend, professor, or former supervisor would describe you?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to solve a difficult problem.
  • Give me an example of your experience working as part of a team.
  • Describe how you are able to work on several assignments at once.
  • Why did you choose your major? Why did you choose RIT?
  • In which campus activities did you participate? What did you learn from them?
  • Which classes did you like best? Least? Why?
  • Do your grades accurately reflect your ability? Why or why not?
  • What job-related skills have you developed?
  • What did you enjoy most about your last job? Least? Why?
  • Provide an example of a situation in which you provided a solution to an employer.
  • Provide an example of a time in which you worked under deadline pressure.
  • What kind of supervisor do you prefer?

Technical Interviewing

Employers want to evaluate your knowledge or skills in the areas that are most relevant to the position as part of the technical interview. The interviewer is looking for your ability to demonstrate basic technical skills, your thought process on solving the problem, and your effective communication skills. The answer does not need to be correct, but your thought process should be thorough and easy to follow.

In the event you do not know the answer, remain calm and confident. Focus on the steps you would take rather than finding the correct answer. Be straightforward about not knowing instead of talking your way out of it. The interviewer is looking at more than just your technical skills. They are looking for people who innovate, manage stress, and possess self-confidence.

Behavioral Interviewing

This method of interviewing is based on the premise that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior in similar circumstances. The interviewer will ask how you did behave rather than how you would behave. To prepare:

  • Recall recent situations related to your coursework, projects, work experience, and extracurricular activities that demonstrate favorable traits and behaviors (e.g. leadership, teamwork, initiative, problem-solving, communication skills).
  • Be honest and don't embellish any part or your story.

Use the STAR method to structure your response.

Example Question:

Have you ever been a member of a group where one of the members was not contributing? How did you handle this?

Questions to Ask

Interviewers expect interested candidates to ask them questions – an interview is a two-way conversation! Do your research in advance so your questions are well thought out and are not easily answered by checking out the employer’s website. Prioritize your questions to your top three to five questions as you may not have a lot of time toward the end.

  • What type of training is given to a new employee? (on the job, classroom, and individual)
  • Are employees ever transferred to other geographical locations or other fields?
  • Who will be my manager and how much contact will I have with him/her?
  • Is any travel expected?
  • Why is this position open? (fired, resigned, new)
  • How is performance measured and evaluated for this position?
  • In your experience, what are the best aspects of this job? The challenges?
  • What are the next steps in the interview process?
  • What positive changes have you seen organization-wide and what do you see for the future?
  • What does professional development or advancement look like?
  • What is the company culture?
  • What type of employee fits well with the employer?
  • What do you like most about the organization and your job?
  • What type of turnover do you see organization-wide?

Interview Etiquette

Dressing for the Interview

Your interview attire is part of your first impression, but knowing what to wear can be tricky. In general, you want to dress up a bit more than what current employees wear to work.

  • Your look should be well-groomed, clean, and have no rips or stains.
  • Business professional is recommended as the safest interview attire. This requires a suit and tie or a pants/skirt suit with a nice top. Stick with neutral suit colors, including black, navy, or dark gray.
  • Business casual may be appropriate for more casual work environments. This attire skips the jacket and tie, but stays away from jeans and sneakers.
  • Remember, your outfit should make you feel professional and confident.
  • Reach out to your Career Services coordinator with specific questions on attire.
  • Professional attire is available to students through Bern’s Closet, open year-round, located in the RIT FoodShare Center at 113 Riverknoll.

Interview Dos and Don’ts

After the Interview

This is one of the most important and least used tools in a job search. Thank-you letters show your appreciation for the interviewer’s time and your interest in the position.

  • Send a thank you email to the person(s) who interviewed you within 12-24 hours after the interview.
  • In addition to thanking your interviewer for his or her time, use your email to reinforce your interest in the position and separate yourself from the other candidates by restating your key relevant strengths.
  • If the employer requests additional materials, such as an application, transcript, or reference list, send them as soon as possible.

You should plan to have three to four professional references who can speak to a potential employer about your performance as an employee or student. They can be professors, advisors, previous supervisors, managers, etc. Do not use friends or family members as references. Make sure that you ask the person if they are willing to be your reference before putting them on your reference list.

Most employers will tell you when you can expect to hear from them. If you do not hear by that date, it is appropriate for you to email them.

  • If you are no longer interested in the opportunity, inform the employer of that fact as soon as possible.
  • Uphold your word − never renege on an offer once accepted.
  • Review the questions asked by the interviewer and your responses to them. Were you caught “off-guard” by any questions? Could you have answered a question better or in more detail?
  • Reflect on feedback that was provided to incorporate into future interviews.