Interviewing Tips and Resources
Types of Interviews
Standard and Behavioral Interviews
Most companies use a combination of standard and behavioral based questions. Standard questions are focused on you and your qualities and may seem so simple that you do not need to prepare. However, these responses should be polished and sharp. Behavioral based questions help employers learn about what you have done in the past to better predict what you will do in the future given a similar situation.
Technical questions are also common in engineering because they allow employers to evaluate your level of knowledge and skill through a demonstration of your analytical abilities, problem solving strategies, creative thinking and communications skills. Some technical questions are general, meaning you may be asked to solve logic problems or brain teasers. Others may be more role-specific and will related to the work that you will perform as a potential employee.
If you are seeking business or consulting-related roles you can likely expect a case interview. Case interviews present a business case to the interviewee, who has to propose a solution. There are several methods for solving such cases and oftentimes companies have case interview preparation materials available on their websites.
A virtual interview can come in the form of phone interviews or video interviews (via Skype or Zoom for example). You also may find that you have multiple interviews since the in-person piece is missing. While a virtual interview may not feel the same, be assured that your chances are the same as they would be face-to-face. Abide by standard interview best practices, which includes things like maintaining professionalism, dressing up, knowing the STAR format for behavioral interviews, asking questions that show you are interested in the company/opportunity, and sending a prompt thank you afterwards.
Some key differences will be needing to test technology in advance, ensuring your background is professional (if it's a video interview), and letting your family/roommates know that you need quiet for the duration. Remember to ask about next steps as employers may have different hiring processes/procedures that are different than pre-COVID times. Our virtual interviewing tips video and collection of General Interviewing Advice blogs provide a deeper dive on virtual interviewing.
Interviewing for remote positions
More and more companies are hiring employees to work remotely. When interviewing for a job that will be remote, there are some key skills you will want to highlight.
An emphasis on key traits: You might find employers are more keyed in on qualities like adaptability, communication, and collaboration.
- Being adaptable is imperative as you may need to adjust to a new work space, a modified schedule, different technology, and more. Your ability to adapt will be important to emphasize in the interview.
- Communication practices are different when working remotely. Instead of stepping into your co-worker's office for a chat, you could be jumping onto a web conference, instant messaging, or communicating in a group chat via tools like Microsoft Teams. Having timely, clear communication ensures that work continues to be done efficiently regardless of location. In the interview, give examples of how you've communicated effectively remotely; for instance, highlight success with a capstone project this past semester where all of your communication with the company sponsor and your teammates was via Zoom.
- Digital collaboration is also important to point out to a potential employer. If you've worked on team projects, consider sharing your web-based portfolio or the website that your group used to display the finished result. Show you're committed to being a team player by inquiring about the company's culture and collaboration tools that you may be using on the job.
Tools and Appointments
Students can access interview preparation resources on Handshake within the Career Center > Resource Library. ECS offers general interview coaching and mock interviews. If you would like tailored interview advice and practice, schedule an appointment with an ECS Advisor.