Cornell University

Interviewing

The interview is the stage in the job-search process where hiring decisions are actually made. Your goal during the interview is to use the knowledge you have gained about yourself and the organization to convince the interviewer that your qualifications match the employer's needs.

To do this, you must prepare, practice, perform, and follow up. The Cornell Career Services Career Guide, available in our Barnes Hall offices and the college career offices, provides extensive information on successful interviews. Our career library also contains some useful resources on interviewing techniques.

Descriptions of some selection interview styles follow. Phone and face-to-face interviews are the most common of these for entry-level positions.

Phone Interviews
Sometimes employers find it efficient to conduct initial selection interviews by phone. The content may be similar to other interviews you have, but additional preparation is needed for these interviews:

  • Keep close at hand a copy of your resume, notes on the organization, appointment calendar, and questions you want to ask the employer.
  • Dress for the interview just as if it were in person; you’ll perform more professionally.
  • Practice ahead of time using a tape recorder. Strive for a clear, confident voice that projects a positive attitude and conveys a professional demeanor. (Refer to “Practice” beginning on page 62 for more tips.)
  • Schedule the call in a room free of interruptions and preferably on a land line. Never interrupt a phone interview to take another call or speak to someone who enters the room.

Face-to-Face Interviews
One or more employer representatives interview the candidate. When two or more interviewers are involved, they may meet with the candidate together or consecutively. Meetings can take place on campus; at the employment site; or in a restaurant, hotel, or other facility.

Panel Interviews
Several employer representatives, usually from different parts of the organization, interview the candidate at the same time. The panel interview can be stressful because questions may come quickly on a variety of topics.

Group Interviews
Several candidates participate together in a group interview. When a question is posed to the group, an employer can observe behaviors and assess candidates’ interactions and interpersonal, leadership, and teamwork skills.

Videoconferencing and Internet Interviewing
These formats are cost-effective for an employer located in a distant city, and may occur on or off campus using special equipment or a service such as Skype. Wear solid-colored clothing that contrasts with your skin tone, focus on the interviewer’s image, speak clearly, and avoid quick movements.