Interviewing Tips and Sample Questions

Interviewing is a vital component to the recruiting process. Through interviews employers and candidates are able to assess a skills match and cultural fit for specific roles. See below for tips on ensuring you are able to articulate your skills, abilities, and attributes to stand out.

General Interviewing Tips Guide

Common Interview Questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in working for (this company)?
  • What strengths do you believe you would bring to this position?
  • What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
  • Tell me about a time you were an effective leader.
  • Tell me a time when tried to get others on board with an idea.

For more potential interview questions and questions you should ask on an interview, check out the resources below:

Selecting & Accepting a Position:

  • Try to give the company an idea about when you hope to decide
  • Do not box yourself in – Give yourself enough time to interview with other potential employers
  • Make sure you understand the offer in its entirety – Benefits, work schedule, offer expiration, etc.
  • Reach out to your interviewers and other professionals you met to continue learning about the culture as you compare offers
  • If you have questions, call your recruiter!

What to consider when evaluating a position:

  • Type of work you will be performing – Is it challenging, a good match for your interests, skills, & goals?
  • Company Culture – What is the feel for the environment (informal/formal, structured/unstructured), do the company values match yours?
  • Training Opportunities
  • Supervision
  • Salary & benefits
  • Location, transportation, housing
  • Start & end dates

Have multiple offers? Evaluate the pros and cons of all offers and determine how they align with your goals

Extensions:

  • Companies understand and are typically OK with providing some sort of extension
  • Reiterate your excitement to review the position, but let them know you would like additional time to review the details and make the best decision
  • If you are asking for an extension because you are waiting to hear from another company –contact the other company and let them know you have another offer
  • Note -Penn State does NOT have required timelines for employers to provide students with a specific amount of time to accept an offer

Be sure that you know and understand all of the details surrounding an offer BEFORE you accept the position. Remember, you are still allowed to interview for internships until you accept an offer. Once you accept, however, you must cease all interview activity and report your internship.

Remember, that accepting an offer and then later reneging, for whatever reason, will result in:

  • Immediate and irrevocable termination from the participation to Nittany Lion Careers (this includes being blocked from the system as an alumnus as well).
  • Your academic department and other Penn State Career Services Offices will be notified.
  • Must schedule an appointment with Business Career Center Executive Director or the Director of Professional Development & Programming.

Following-Up After Interviews

  • Send a thank you email within 24 hours of the interview. This note should be professional and concise, with specifics on what you learned from the interview and how you are a great fit for the role. For more tips on Thank You Notes, check out this video.
  • What happens if you receive the dreaded “thanks, but no thanks” email?
  • Most people don’t write a follow-up letter after getting a rejection which makes it a good reason to do it. You’ll stand out.  It’s another chance to put your name before the employer.

Example:

Thank you for your note on Sept. 12. I was, of course, disappointed to learn I did not receive an offer for the _____  position you are filling. Since I remain confident that I have the skills and qualifications to excel in your company, I hope you will consider me for any other similar positions either now or in the future. I admire XYZ company and will certainly contact you the next time I learn of an opening for which I’m qualified. Thank you again for considering my qualifications.

Professional Attire Tips:

There are 3 common types of dress appropriate for the business setting – Business Formal, Business Casual, & Smart casual. Check out this resource for more information on the differences between each category.

Additional Resources:

Interviewing and Thank Yous