Interviewing for jobs and internships
The purpose of the resume and cover letter that you spend hours working on is to get you an interview, and so it is the interview itself that helps you get the job. Interviews come in all shapes and sizes. There are the screening-type interviews over the phone or video. There are very structured interviews where each candidate is asked exactly the same questions so their answers can be directly compared. And then there are informal interviews that feel more like a conversation, where there don’t seem to be any questions asked at all. Types of interviews include case interviews for consulting roles, technical interviews for tech roles, and behavioral interviews for most industries. The type of interview you might get depends on the type of role you are applying for, and the type of organization you hope to get an offer from. If you are applying for faculty positions as a PhD student or postdoc, visit the PhD/postdoc community pages for more information on academic job interviewing.
In most cases, the preparation for any of these interviews is much the same. You must know as much as possible about the organization and the role you are interviewing for. That means that you’ll want to investigate the people you will be speaking with at the interview beforehand (Google-stalking is encouraged), and you should be excited to answer the questions that are typically asked in every job interview, or if no questions are asked, to share the same information with the employer that you would have done if they had actually asked you these questions.
Indeed, a good strategy for any upcoming interview is to think about what you want the interviewers to know in terms of your skills and experiences, come up with examples that illustrate these, and then look for every opportunity to use these examples in your interview answers. If you have come up with 3-4 examples of your skills in action, and have practiced talking through these examples out loud before the interview, then you can easily adapt the examples to answer a wide range of questions.
Reserving Space for Virtual Interviews
Due to the ongoing pandemic, all recruiting and interviews scheduled through Career Services will be held virtually for Fall 2021. However, current Penn students may reserve a private space in the On-Campus Interview Suite (Suite 90 in the lower level of the McNeil Building at 3718 Locust Walk) for a quiet place to interview. Interview rooms are available for reservation on a first-come, first-served basis between 8:15am and 6:00pm, Monday-Friday. Students may reserve an interview room for a maximum time block of three hours per day and must supply their own laptop/telephone/devices. Connectivity to the AirPennNet WiFi network will be available. As a precaution, we ask that students wipe down hard surfaces (table, chair arms, door knob) when exiting the interview room with disinfectant wipes that will be available in each room. As an additional COVID-19 precaution, no food or beverages (except water) are permitted in the interviewing suite. Please be prepared to show your green Open Pass to the receptionist.
Online course - interviewing
Short, learn at your own pace Canvas courses on Interviewing, Networking, and Resume/CV Writing. You can enroll at any time – find more information here. Use this course as a great foundation for upcoming interviews, and learn about best practices you can use in screening and in-person interviews.
Career Services interviewing guide
This guide contains an overview of information to help you prepare for your next interview, and lists of commonly asked questions that you can expect in many types of interview situations. To help you prepare for your next interview, be sure to schedule an appointment with your career advisor.
Interviewing for faculty positions?
If you are a PhD or postdoc on the academic job market, and want advice on interviewing for faculty positions, take a look at the guide below, visit the PhD/postdoc community pages, and feel free to schedule an appointment with a graduate student/postdoc career advisor through Handshake.