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Interviewing

Interview Preparation

You have done a good job with your job search so far, and now you have an interview! Let's explore ways to maximize your success in this next step of your job search process!

  • Learn the mission and goals of the organization
  • Research size, locations, history and annual or media reports
  • Understand the types of customers, primary competitors, and product lines or services
  • Consider how the organization links to your current or future career plans

  • Be able to articular why you are interested in the specific position and the company
  • Be ready to provide more details about on anything mentioned on your resume
  • Prepare several examples of relevant past accomplishments
  • Prepare 3 - 4 key points
  • Connect your background to the job
  • Identify ways in which your skills and knowledge can contribute to the employer's needs
  • Identify transferrable skills
  • Analyze your strengths
  • Be aware of any weaknesses and determine how they should be addressed
  • Evaluate problem areas in your background

Employer's Interview Goals:

  • To assess your knowledge, skills, abilities
  • To evaluate your "fit" with the job and the organization
  • To hire the best candidate for the job

Your Interview Goals:

  • To fully understand the job
  • To match your skills, experience and knowledge to the critical aspects of the job
  • To demonstrate that you are a good fit

Employer Question Guidelines:

  • Answer questions with work-related answers, if possible
  • Be sure to provide examples
  • Questions should address skills, knowledge and experience as they relate to the job.
  • Inappropriate questions include those that could lead to job discrimination based on age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, national origin or religion
  • If you are unclear about how a question relates to the job, ask for clarification

Your Question Guidelines:

  • Do not ask about salary or benefits in a first interview
  • Do ask what would characteristics make a candidate successful in this position, then provide
  • examples of how you have those characteristics
  • Be sure to ask about the hiring timeline and next steps

A great resume will get your foot in the door; a great interview will land you the position you seek! The mock interview program offered through ODU Career Management Center is a phenomenal opportunity to interview with a career professional and take your interviewing skills to the next level. What enticed me as a distance learning student is that I can take full advantage of this virtual outreach program even though I am over 1000 miles away from the main campus. After the experience, I'm not only more confident in my ability to answer questions, but also interviewing nuances and interviewing using digital media.

- K. Evans, Distance Learning - ODU graduate 2013

Interviewing - Online Seminar


How not to Interview



Interview Types

Some jobs listed in CareerLink are designated as OCI jobs. These positions offer ODU students and alumni the opportunity to interview on campus for jobs and internships with a variety of local, national and multinational companies. On-Campus Interviewing occurs on campus and in a centralized location to streamline the process. If the position for which you applied qualifies as an OCI job, it will appear as "pending" in your "interview requests" sub tab in CareerLink. If you are selected to interview for an OCI position, you will receive an email with your next steps.

On-Campus Interview Process

  1. The employer will review your application and make a decision:
    a. When a decision has been made, you will receive an email and your application status in CareerLink will change from "Pending" to either Invited, Alternate, or Not Invited.
    b. Decision time will vary from employer to employer.
    c. If you have not heard by the interview date, you should consider your application declined.
  2. If you are invited to an interview:
    a. You will receive an email reminding you to sign up for an interview.
    b. You will also see an alert at the bottom of your CareerLink homepage.
  3. When you receive the invitation email:
    a. Log into CareerLink using your Monarch-Key.
    b. Navigate to your "Interview Requests" sub-tab.
    c. Click "Schedule Interview" to the far right of the appropriate request.
    d. Select the radio button next to an available time slot and click submit.

Using CareerLink for On-Campus Interviewing:

  1. Interview Requests:
    1. This tab allows you to manage your applications to OCI positions
    2. Each application will have a "Pending" status until the employer submits a decision
  2. Scheduled Interviews:
    1. This tab is where you can view upcoming interviews that you have already scheduled
  3. Typical Schedule:
    a. SeasonL Fall and Spring Semesters
    b. Time: 9:00am and 3:30pm
    c. Duration: 30 - 60 minutes
    d. Location: Career Management Center - 2202 Webb Center

REMINDER: On-Campus Interviews are not meant to be the single source of employment opportunities offered at ODU. OCI is one tool among many offered by the CMC that students should utilize in their search for jobs and internships.


Industry professionals and recruiters are invited to conduct mock interviews each semester. Mock Interviews are scheduled just like an on campus interview and time slots are filled on a first-come, first-filled basis:

  1. Sign up through ODU CareerLink:
    • From the JOBS tab select ODU CareerLink Jobs
    • Keyword search for "mock"
    • Select one that fits with your time frame
    • View the application process and follow the prompts to select date and time slot
  2. Prepare:
    • Note your date and time and monitor your Interview using QUICK LINKS from your home page
    • CMC will send a follow up email with details on how to prepare and what to expect
    • To get started now, by reviewing interview preparation information on this page
  3. How to cancel:
    • You have until the posted "cancellation end" date to use the system to cancel or reschedule your interview
    • After that date, you must email or call the Mock Interview Program Manager
    • Your CareerLink account will be blocked if you fail to provide advance notice and do not show up to your scheduled interview

Industry professionals and recruiters are invited to conduct virtual mock interviews each semester. Virtual Mock Interviews are scheduled just like an on campus interview. Time slots are filled on a first-come, first-filled basis and preference is given to Distance Learning Students.

NOTE: To participate, you must be able to install Jabber software to your computer and have access to a strong internet connection, headset, and microphone for optimal use

  1. Sign up through ODU CareerLink:
    • From the JOBS tab select ODU CareerLink Jobs
    • Keyword search for "virtual mock"
    • Select one that fits with your time frame
    • View the application process and follow the prompts to select date and time slot
  2. Prepare:
    • Note your date and time and monitor your Interview using QUICK LINKS from your home page
    • CMC will send a follow up email with details on how to prepare, what to expect, and steps to install the program to your computer
    • You will be asked to schedule a pre-interview session to test audio and video connectivity, and become familiar with Jabber use and standard protocol
    • Make sure that you have a quiet room with strong internet connectivity to conduct your interview
    • To get started now, review interview preparation information on this page
  3. How to cancel:
    • You have until the posted "cancellation end" date to use the system to cancel or reschedule your interview
    • After that date, you must email or call the Virtual Mock Interview Program Coordinator
    • Your CareerLink account will be blocked if you fail to provide advance notice and do not show up to your scheduled interview

Become first in mind; reach out and make the most out of every interaction.

Informational interviewing is a conversation initiated to obtain facts or opinions, an opportunity to get an insider's view on a particular career or industry. It is not a job interview and can be used throughout your career, not just when you're thinking about a new position or a new line of work.

Why an Informational Interview?

  • To gather information and reach tentative decisions about yourself and your options
  • To gain new networking contacts in a different fields or organizations
  • To research companies: Would I like working in this culture? Are there opportunities for advancement?
  • For self‐assessment: Would I like this line of work? What would I need to do to be competitive in this field?

How to schedule an Informational Interview:

  • Identify people to interview. Ask friends, family, faculty or employers for names of people who work in the profession you hope to enter
  • When setting up the interview, introduce yourself and why you're calling. Indicate where you got the person's name. Ask if the person would be available for a short meeting to discuss his or her occupation. Explain a little about your own background and why their occupation appeals to you... but never give the impression that you're asking for a job
  • Treat it as a business appointment and conduct yourself in a professional manner
  • Write a thank‐you note afterwards. Stay in touch if you've followed up on their suggestions. Build a strong mentoring rapport; you may have developed a great networking contact!

What types of questions to ask:

  • Can you tell me how you got to this position?
  • What do you like most about what you do, and what would you change if you could?
  • How do people break into this field? Do you have any suggestions for me?
  • What are the types of jobs that exist where you work and in the industry in general?
  • What does a typical career path look like in your industry?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges facing your company and your industry today?
  • Are there any professional or trade associations with whom I should connect?
  • What's unique or differentiating about your company?

Often conducted over the phone by a human resources person or recruiter. They are trying to judge whether you are a viable candidate for the position. The employer's goal in this type of interview is to narrow the pool. Because non-verbal cues are not involved, voice and diction are important. Eliminate any background distractions.

Main focus is on goals, achievements, skills, strengths/weaknesses, and team fit. A good first impression is important, and displaying good communication and interpersonal skills is critical.

Involves multiple individuals at the same time. It is important to anticipate a variety of questions and personalities and engage with all members of the panel.

Used to determine how you might perform in their situation by looking at past experiences and behavior. Being concise and giving answers using real-world examples is the best approach.

Prepare for interviews using personal achievements
Briefly describe 3 to 5 specific accomplishments that you enjoyed and where you believe you did well. Use examples related to class assignments, work assignments, and organizational involvements.

Expand on Your Most Important Achievements
Think about each achievement and answer these questions:

  1. How did I get involved?
  2. Details on what I did?
  3. Results/ Outcome?
  4. What was most satisfying?

Write your description of each achievement using the STAR format:

S = Situation
T = Tasks
A = Actions
R = Results

Focuses on areas of concern for either party. It may involve salary and benefits questioning. Display your interest in the job and company, and ask relevant questions. Often conducted on-site, and may include a human resources professional.


Interview Stages

  1. Ice Breaker

    • Greeting and introductions
    • Use a proper handshake and good eye contact
    • Initial interaction may include a review of the interview itinerary or schedule and a description of the position
    • May include "tell me about yourself" question
  2. Main Content

    • Employer and/or panel members will ask questions
    • Answer questions thoughtfully
    • Provide work-related examples
    • Ask questions of the employer
  3. Closing and Follow up

    • Summarize qualifications and express enthusiasm for the position
    • Ask about post-interview procedures
    • Reiterate interest in the position - ask for the job!
    • Ask for business cards from all interviewers
    • Follow up with a thank you note
    • Do a personal debriefing and self-evaluate your performance