Improve your interview skills! Learn what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for during the interviewing process. Find out how to answer challenging questions. Learn what chimps can teach you about effective interviewing.
Employers are looking for two things during the interview process:
Knowledge, skills and experience
The STAR Method
Whether you’re asked a yes/no question or a situational or behavior question, one of the
best ways to answer an interview question is by using the STAR Method:
Tell me about yourself
I’m from Vermont but I went to school in Boston. I graduated with a degree in business,
and have been working at Non-Profit Org as a marketing associate.
I like sports and my favorite food is pasta. I’d like to continue working in marketing.
Better Answer (using the STAR Method):
I’m a marketing professional with a degree in business. For the last two years, I’ve been
working at Non-Profit Org as a marketing associate. I’m responsible for marketing and
event planning for our fundraising activities.
I created a marketing plan for our annual fundraiser, which had net earnings of over
$35,000. I really enjoyed the experience, and am excited about continuing my career in
In the second answer in the example above, the person being interviewed identified a
situation or task they were currently involved in, discussed the actions they took and the
result of those actions.
How To Prepare
Having a strong knowledge of your strengths, skills and experiences, and how
they align with the job you’re interviewing for, goes a long way in making your interview
Prior to going in for an interview, take time to analyze the job description and make
connections between your experience and the role. Make sure to highlight these
overlaps during your interview.
Research the organization. Get an understanding for their business, and how this role
supports it. If possible, mention things you’ve come across in your research during the
interview, or ask questions about them to gain a better understanding.
Take notes after each interview about things you did well and areas where you need
Practice. Recruit a friend to interview you, or practice by yourself by reviewing
commonly asked interview questions.
Researchers estimate that 70 percent of communication is non-verbal. That means
that what you say is important, but so is what you do.
Smile during your interview. It will make you appear happy and pleasant to work with.
Sit up straight. Good posture is perceived as a sign of confidence.
Make eye contact. Much like good posture, eye contact is seen as a sign of
confidence. This rule, however, on applies to North America. In some countries, it can
be seen as a sign of disrespect. Be sure to research local customs if interviewing for a
Give a firm handshake. This is also seen as a sign of confidence.
Don’t be late. Arrive at least 5 minutes early, and give yourself plenty of room for traffic
jams and other unexpected issues.
Ditch the cell phone. During interviews, put your cell phone on silent. For phone
interviews, use a landline instead of a cell phone.
Take notes. But don’t overdo it either. Too few notes and you’ll like you don’t care. Too
many and it will look like you’re not actually paying attention.