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Job interviews 101: During the interview

Two professionally dressed people talking at a table

Great news! They got your resumé, you got the call. Now what?

A job interview can be the most exciting and nerve-wracking part of advancing your career. Let’s get practical with some advice from the experts in Career Advancement Services. Check out part two of a three-part series featuring tips for before, during and after the interview.

During the interview

Make a good first impression

Try to be remembered for the right reasons. Be ready to go with time to spare — if you’re on time, you’re late. Dress professionally for your occupation and practice good hygiene.

The interview starts immediately. Be polite and professional to everyone. Also, be prepared for small talk. This is a highly underrated skill. Keep it light and positive, and avoid polarizing topics.

Tell me about yourself…

You got the interview because the employer already likes what they’ve seen on paper (a.k.a. your resumé). Now, they want to get to know you as a person and see if you’re right for the team.

Don’t just repeat the skills listed on your resumé. Be genuine, show your personality but keep it career focused — why did you choose this career path, why are you interested in the industry?


Remember the STARS strategy — situation, task, action, result, skills. Recall the stories you prepared before the interview and keep your responses to about one minute in length.

If you’re asked to describe a situation where you had a disagreement with a supervisor but that’s never happened to you, either give a closely related example or answer hypothetically.

An interview is a conversation, not an interrogation. Don’t let one less-than-great answer shut you down — treat each new question like a fresh start.

Career advice from a classmate

“My first video interview was challenging. Staring at myself on the screen was so distracting. I had a lot to say, but I was trying to say it from my head and sometimes I got lost.

A career advisor suggested I take a sticky note and put it over the screen so I wouldn’t be staring at myself. He also told me to itemize important things I wanted to say in a notebook and have that with me. Both suggestions were really helpful for my second video interview.”

Mariam Adeleke
Third-year Bachelor of Applied Technology Petroleum Engineering student

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