Alumni Career Services

Interviewing Preparation

Preparing for interviews is a complex process and talking it through with a coach can be invaluable. The Armstrong Center for Alumni Career Services (ACS) provides this service for free to alumni.

Understand the Process. When you are invited to interview be sure to ask about the overall interviewing process. Often a company will conduct a short “screening” interview to determine if you fit the basic requirements of the job before revealing the full interview process.  You’ll want to know how many interviews the company plans to conduct, the types of the interviews, whether the interviews will be in person or on the telephone, who will be conducting the interviews, and what to expect in the follow-up or decision-making phase.  

Research.  Before the interview do research to learn about the industry, the company, issues they face and the people you will be meeting. Understand the job requirements and employer's needs and wants. The company's website is a good place to start, but don't forget to tap your network and use tools like LinkedIn to find information about the people you will talk with and what is valued by the organization.

Anticipate questions. Look at the job description carefully, list out the requirements and think about what they might ask you. Talk to people who have been through the process about what to expect. Glassdoor.com provides user-reported interview questions for hundreds of companies. Click here for a list sample interview questions obtained from Darden student interviews.

Preparing the Answers.  Match your qualifications and differentiators with the requirements and the anticipated questions.  Get ready to talk in depth about your relevant experiences and skills and how they fit with the company, its culture, the team and the role. The opening question Tell me about yourself ” (and its many variants) requires particular attention – the best answers will be concise (less than 2 minutes) and will not only highlight your background but also emphasize why you are a great fit for the role.

Practice the Interview. Practicing an interview, also known as “mock interviewing” is a very effective way to prepare for questions.  Equally important to practicing your answers out loud is getting actionable feedback from a qualified interviewer. Call ACS to schedule a coaching session and mock interview.  Darden also offers InterviewStream, an online program, that conducts a practice interview and records your responses via webcam, allowing you to watch yourself giving answers. InterviewStream provides a demo, tutorials, and expert interview advice as well as the ability to share your recorded interview with a career coach. Contact us to obtain the private website link that includes registration information with the discount.

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