Face-To-Face Interviews

This is the most common type of interview and can take place in many environments including:

  • On-campus
  • On-site (organization/company office)
  • Off-site (restaurants, hotels, conferences, etc)

Please note anytime you are meeting with an employer face-to- face you should consider this part of the interview process.


In preparing for the actual interview, students need to collect in-depth information. You cannot review the company brochure and expect to be ready for an interview. This is the time to read business periodicals and review web sites to discover as much about the company and the industry as you can. Talk with junior-level employees or people who know the company well about its reputation, products or services, or where it is viewed in relation to its competition. All of the information you collect will not only help you in your interview; it will also aid you in making a decision if an offer is extended.

The Evening Prior to the Interview

If you are to meet with a representative from the company the night before your interview, be sure to dress in business casual, yet professional attire. A collared shirt with dress slacks for men and a blazer and skirt or pant suit for women are appropriate. Know the representative's name and the time and the location of your meeting. The evaluation of you as a candidate begins well before the day of the interview. You will be judged on how you conduct yourself throughout the entire hiring process. Do not be careless. Everything you do and say will reflect on the final decision, so be sure to conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times.

Interview Day

Interviews can last one hour to an entire day. The number of people with whom you talk during the day may vary. You might speak with as few as three or as many as ten people. This can make for a very long day. You need to be as alert at 4:30 p.m. as you were at 8:30 a.m. that morning. In some interviews you might talk with more than one person. This is not to create a stressful situation, but rather to allow you to talk with as many people as possible. When meeting these individuals, you will usually be asked some of the same questions. Remember, you are only being repetitive to yourself. Do not leave out important information because you have already discussed it with another individual. Numerous "behavioral" questions will typically be asked during the face-to-face interview.

First Impressions Mean Everything

The first few minutes are absolutely critical to interviewing success. Many interviewers will make a snap judgment about you good or bad and spend the rest of the interview validating that impression. You need to be comfortable with your own style, and be prepared to present an attitude that reflects your sincere interest in getting the job. Exhibit confidence, enthusiasm, and a high level of interest during the first minute of the interview. Be yourself and do it your own way, but do it!

Sample Format of a First Face-to-Face Interview (One Hour)

Warm Up (3-5 minutes)

  • Greeting: smile, firm hand shake, look the employer in the eye, be confident
  • Establish Rapport
  • Explain Structure of Interview
  • Verify Data on Resume, etc.

Employer Collects Evaluation Data (15-20 Minutes)

  • Open-Ended Questions: Prepare answers for these questions
  • Behavioral Questions
  • Probing Questions
  • Determine Whether Match Exists: Are you right for the employer? Vice versa?
  • Strengths, Liabilities, Weaknesses

Employer Answers Questions/Offers Information (3-5 Minutes)

  • Explain Training Program
  • Describe Position
  • Answer Candidate's Questions: Prepare questions in advance

Close Interview (2-3 Minutes)

  • Learn About What Happens Next

REMEMBER: The most prepared candidate usually makes the best impression during an interview.

Fun tip:  Don't leave home without a professional-looking notepad (a padfolio).  Jot down a few key words and phrases to jog your memory about important information you want to share.  Create a list, in advance, of questions you plan to ask during and at the close of the interview. 


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