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EIU Career Services

Interview Responses

Your Resume is your 1st impression
Your Interview is the 2nd!

It is not necessarily the best candidate who gets the job offer-it is most likely the best interviewee!

The interview is your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and intelligence, but the confidence is just as important! Ensure that you make the best impression possible.

Having insight into what the interviewer is looking for will help you be prepared, confident, and effective.

  1. Proficiency in field of study
  2. Critical thinking & problem solving skills 
  3. Leadership 
  4. Communication skills (oral and written)
  5. Interpersonal skills
  6. Confidence
  7. Positive attitude toward work
  8. Flexibility
  9. Teamwork 
10. Self-motivation

Use these questions and sample answers as a guide. Review your own experiences and plan some possible answers. When you get to your interview, relax and draw upon your preparation as you respond to your interviewer. Hopefully, the last question you will have to answer is "When can you start?"

  • Tell me about yourself. 
    Probably the easiest difficult question you will face, and it is usually one of the first questions. The key thing to remember is to keep your response related to the job. If your educational background has led you in a certain direction, bring that into the overview. Or, talk about your most valuable activities in college or your goals and dreams. Remember, be specific and don't ramble! Example: I am a hard worker and I think I generally have good organizational skills. In college, I led a team of designers to create the web site for each of the university's volunteer organizations.
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in an organization like this?
    I think that determination, a willingness to work hard and a desire to excel are key attributes for a successful employee in a company like XYZ Corp. A successful employee would also need to handle pressure well, be a great communicator and an excellent team member.
  • Describe the 3 things that are important to you in a job? 
    In any job I take, my top three musts include a great organization, a product or service in which I truly believe, and a real career opportunity.
  • Explain how your academic training has prepared you to step into this position.
    I see that this position requires attention to detail as well as being able to work in a team environment. In my position as a teaching assistant, I helped students with coursework, graded papers, and held weekly study group sessions. Additionally, my courses in_____ required detailed data analysis as well as statistical work. We had several group projects each semester. On project on ______ was very similar to what XYZ company does.
  • What did you like most about college?
    I enjoyed many things about college. It was a new challenge and an opportunity for me to expand my horizons both educationally and personally. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect was the chance to meet new people from different backgrounds. You will also want to use this question as an opportunity to highlight skills you attained or used to good effect in college. You will want to give answers referencing your education, teamwork or work experience.
  • What are your strengths? 
    I'm well motivated, I've got a strong desire to succeed, and I'm always ready and willing to learn new information and skills. Keep your answer brief, naming no more than three of your qualities. It is important to know when to stop or you will invalidate your entire answer!
  • What are your weaknesses? 
    Do not try to come up with a character flaw or personal weakness. A popular approach is to name a positive weakness such as I'm too persistent or I'm too ambitious. 
    I tend to be nervous around my supervisors, although I've gained more confidence in that area since my last job where my supervisors encouraged me to ask questions.
  • In what kind of work environment are you most productive?
    It's important to be capable of productivity in a diverse range of environments. My favorite environment would be one with good communication and great teamwork, but that's usually something you must work to build, rather than expect to find it ready-made.
  • How do you respond to criticism?
    I respond very well to criticism, especially if it's constructive. Accepting constructive criticism and advice from colleagues is one of the best ways to learn. I'd like to think that I learn quickly from any advice that I'm given. The interviewer wants to assess your willingness to take advice and to learn from others. They are also trying to discover how manageable you will be, and whether you can cope with answering to authority.
  • Name three adjectives that can be best used to describe you.
    Your response could include adjectives such as reliable, hard-working, conscientious, innovative, smart, intelligent, communicative, organized, diligent, energetic, or likable. Avoid adjectives with a possible double-edged sword such as ambitious. The interviewer will learn most about you by considering why you chose the three adjectives you did - and not any others - rather than what those adjectives actually are.
  • Tell me about a project or assignment that required you to work in with a team. 
    For our marketing class, we broke into teams and had to build a product and develop a business plan. The biggest challenge was motivating two of our team members who took the course only because it was required, to do their share of the work. I accepted this problem as a challenge and learned from it as they both became contributors to the team. I learned that a good team takes a shared mission. There are all types of people with many different skills. Communication is essential to determine what will be done, when it will be done, and by whom. Each team member needs to understand the mission, the purpose of the project, and the vision of the outcome.
  • What have you gained from your work experiences? 
    The employer has already seen your resume, avoid simply listing your past jobs. You will want to pick one or two work experiences and think about them in detail. What were your duties? What particular activities or events stick out in your memory? What did you learn while doing this job? Example: My work at the community pool really helped me develop my interpersonal skills and learn how to lead people. When I was teaching swimming, it was up to me to give my students a sense of confidence and motivation--and to keep them safe while doing it.
  • Are you willing to relocate?
    If relocating wasn't an issue, the interviewer wouldn't be asking the question. Therefore, the only acceptable answer is "Yes." Yes, just give me warning and provide assistance with arrangements and I'll go wherever you require me to be.

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Career Services

Eastern Illinois University
1301 Human Services
Charleston, IL 61920

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