Man Buttoning a suit

If you’ve landed an interview, you’ve proven to be a competitive candidate. It’s now your job to help the employer determine at a minimum if:

  • You meet the qualifications.
  • You will perform well in this position by meeting deadlines, taking direction well, and delivering quality work.
  • You will work well the rest of the team.

Prepare with Big Interview

Big Interview is an online platform with interviewing tutorials, strategies for common interview questions, and a tool for practicing over a video platform with prerecorded questions based on industry.

Before the Interview

Interviewing can be nerve-racking. Imagine going on your first date, meeting the parents and proposing all on the same day! This is especially true if you do the interview unprepared. Come prepared and all should go well for you.

Always assume you are talking to someone who has influence over the hiring decision when you get the phone call to schedule your interview; your tone and politeness can work for or against you. During the phone call, try to get some additional information so you can feel more prepared.

Here are some great questions to ask:

  • Is there anything, in particular, they would like you to bring or prepare in advance of the interview?
  • What style of interview will it be? Group or individual?
  • Who will be interviewing you?
  • Will you be touring any of the facilities during the interview?

It is imperative to research the company ahead of time, so you can create informed answers and questions in the interview.

  • Find news and updates. This can sometimes be found on their website in a blog or press release area, a simple google search and by reviewing their social media pages.
  • Know their values and mission also found on the company’s website.
  • Get a feel for the company culture through their social media, website, or blog.
  • Understand their services/products/clients by reviewing their website, blog, white papers, case studies, and reviews.

Decide on an outfit that is appropriate for the occasion. Business professional is typically a safe approach. You can check out our Professional Attire page for guidance.

Remember, it is OK to ask if there are particular wardrobe restrictions in case you are touring facilities that would require specialty clothing.

Interview questions are designed to get you to disclose (with honesty and authenticity) relevant personal/professional background, knowledge about the job or industry, personality, skill sets, and professional goals. A question like “Describe your strengths and weaknesses” isn’t just about your strengths and weaknesses, but can describe skill sets you’ve mastered or are improving; your answer will also reveal elements of your personality as you attempt to honestly self-reflect.

It is nearly impossible to anticipate every question you may be asked during an interview. Instead, consider practicing a three-part, pattern of response that will allow you to answer any question succinctly and completely.

Step 1

Respond to the question with a brief statement that gives the interviewer a general overview of how you are going to answer the question.

EXAMPLE: “What is your greatest strength?” My greatest strength is my ability to communicate effectively.

Step 2

Use specific examples to elaborate on your statement. Make sure you are telling an actual story, not just a vague recounting of things you generally did in a past experience. You can prompt yourself to tell a story by using the following phrases, “For instance,” “One time,” “For example,” etc.

EXAMPLE: I think it is important for a person who works for X Company to be a strong communicator. When I was at my last position as a project manager for Acme Corporation I had to manage a team of three for our marketing department. On a daily basis I sent emails to the team to check on the status of on-going projects, relayed that information to our clients via phone and email, and conducted in-person meeting every week with the team of three. One time we had a client who was dissatisfied with an advertising project our team was working on; I responded to the client, assuring them that we would be able to make the changes they required; then I emailed the rest of our team, the art director and graphic designer, to convey the changes the client wanted to make; we were able to make those changes within 24 hours and the client walked away happy not only with the final design, but the prompt response we were able to provide.

Step 3

Remind the interviewer how this answer will benefit them, should you be hired. If you consistently remind the interviewer that you know HOW these skills transfer in this context, you will help the interviewer in evaluating you favorably as a good fit for the position.

EXAMPLE: I want to bring my effective communication skills to this position at X Company because I know that you will need an office administrator who will have to communicate not only with the people in our immediate office, but to convey important messages with the entire organization and the clients that we serve.

Common Questions

Practice the above with these commonly asked interview questions and you will be much more prepared for your interview.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you know about this organization?
  • What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness?
  • Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a dispute between others.
  • What kind of environment do you feel most comfortable?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • How do you handle conflict?
  • Give an example of an important goal that you set in the past. Tell about your success in reaching it.
  • Have you ever worked in a situation where the rules and guidelines were not clear? Tell me about it. How did you feel about it? How did you react?
  • Describe a situation when you were able to strengthen a relationship by communicating effectively. What made your communication effective?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

Try Big Interview for answers to commonly asked interview questions! Big Interview is an online platform with interviewing tutorials, strategies for common interview questions, and a tool for practicing over a video platform with prerecorded questions based on industry.

You should always have questions to ask during the interview. It shows your genuine interest in the position and the company and that you were prepared. Avoid asking about benefits and salary in your first interview. That will come later. Ask questions that aren’t readily available on the company website or job posting. You may only have time to ask 2 or 3 questions in an interview, but make sure to prepare 3 to 5. Ask about the next steps as the last question.


  • What is a typical day/week like for the person in this role?
  • Is this a new position and if not, why did the last person in this position leave?
  • What are the biggest challenges the person in this position will face?
  • What are the next steps in your hiring process?

Ideally, you should have any materials you need ready the day before. You don’t want to run into printing issues ten minutes before you’re supposed to leave for your interview.

  • A printed resume for yourself and anyone in the room who may need a copy.
  • A copy of your cover letter for your reference
  • A copy of the job description for your reference
  • Your list of questions to ask
  • Something to write on like a padfolio.
  • Pen or pencil.

Other items to consider:

  • Bottled water
  • Cash for parking
  • Work samples if it makes sense for the type of position.

At the Interview

  • Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the interview location; “on time” for an interview is more like 10-15 minutes before the interview
  • Make eye contact and shake hands with the people you meet with confidence and warmth.
  • Listen closely to questions; if you need clarity on a question, ask. You can also write down questions on a pad of paper to make sure that you are answering each part of the question and not skipping over critical components of the interview question.
  • Be engaging and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the opportunity by asking informed questions, when prompted, about the organization and job opportunity.
  • Ask about their hiring timeline and how you will be hearing from them next.

After the Interview

  • Follow up with an email to your interviewers within 48 hours. This email should be brief and express your interest and enthusiasm for the position and involvement in the next steps of the process. If you don’t have the interviewer’s contact information, you can send it to who you have been in contact with (i.e. HR, Recruiter) to forward along.
  • Resist the temptation to ask when the hiring decision will be made. Ideally, you asked during your interview when you expect to hear from the organization.
  • If you are given an offer, listen to the terms and then reach out to a career advisor to consult about the next steps you may have to take, if you think you may have room to negotiate the offer. You can ask if you can have time to consider the offer when it is made. Follow-up within the range of time you established post-offer. Learn more about negotiating salary.
  • If you are not offered the position, remain professional, thanking the organization for an opportunity to interview. You never know when you may cross paths with them again, in a professional capacity. Additionally, if you feel comfortable, you can request feedback on your interview to learn if there are components of your interviewing skills that need to be strengthened.

Need quiet virtual interview space?

If you’re struggling to find a quiet, distraction free space to do a virtual interview, we got you.

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