Interviews are an opportunity for the interviewer to learn more about what you have to offer the organization, and for you to find out more about the organization and the position for which you are interviewing. It’s helpful to think of interviews as a two-way conversation.
These days, candidates may encounter a variety of interview styles and formats. Traditional interviews are what you’d normally expect—broad questions designed to identify your skills, experience, and enthusiasm for the job.
A behavioral interview focuses on questions about how the candidate has behaved in the past in specific work situations. This can give interviewers a sense of how you might handle similar situations in the future. A behavioral interview might include questions about how you’ve responded to challenges similar to those you might face in that specific job, or when and how you’ve used skills they think are most important for that particular job.
In case interviews, candidates are asked to analyze a real business, management, technical or data science problem and provide a solution based on the information given. Many consulting and technology firms use the case interview as part of their interview process. The interviewer is looking for the candidate’s ability to analyze, present information, and perform under pressure. The majority of cases don’t have a specific “right” answer; instead, the interviewer is evaluating skills such as communication, analytical and reasoning skills, the ability to organize and present information, the understanding of relevant principles, creativity, and the ability to solve problems under pressure.
Preparing for an Interview
Research the organization’s mission, philosophy, goals, culture, business lines (as appropriate), etc. This will help you speak intelligently about the organization and how you’d contribute to its success.
If possible, ask about the interview format ahead of time. Knowing the types of questions you may be asked gives you a chance to craft and practice thoughtful responses. You can use Big Interview to practice with mock interviews tailored to your interests and experience level.
Practice answering interview questions out loud. This will help you get used to the experience of talking about yourself and build confidence.
What to Wear
First impressions are critical. Proper interview attire can depend on the industry and company culture, but it’s better to be more formal than not. Choose something that makes you feel confident and presents the best professional version of yourself.
General Interviewing Tips
- Always show up 5-10 minutes early for an interview, unless you are instructed otherwise by the employer. This gives you several moments to gain your composure and focus, and demonstrates that you value the interviewer’s time and the opportunity. It also avoids potentially inconveniencing the employer by arriving too early.
- Think before you respond to a question. This will help you calm your nerves, focus your response and avoid rambling. To prevent any awkward pauses, simply let the interviewer know you are considering the question so you can provide the best possible answer.
- Use memorable, concrete examples to illustrate your skills and knowledge.
- Always be honest. Never lie about or embellish your experience and qualifications.