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Interview Tips

While a resume can get your "foot in the door," the interview is the most important element in the job search process. Through interviews, you and the employer have a chance to exchange information and participate in a discussion to determine whether you are a good fit for their organization and whether the organization is a good fit for you.

Interview Preparation


Create and Rehearse your Elevator Pitch

Create a concise, memorable summary a.k.a., your elevator pitch, for introducing yourself. Highlight your most relevant experience, accomplishments, abilities and future goals that relate to the position. You can use this introduction in response to the prompt "Tell me about yourself."


Select your Interview Attire

Make a good first impression!

If you are in need of interview attire, visit the Cardinal Closet in Wickes Hall across from the Career Services office.


Schedule a Mock Interview

The best way to prepare for an interview isto acutally do it! Schedule a mock interview today!


Prepare Questions for the Interviewers

Interviewers expect you to ask questions. Asking questions helps show genuine interest in the position and organization.

Interview FAQs

While no standard set of interview questions that every organization uses exists, based on the job roles and requirements you can start to get an idea of the types of questions that may be asked.

Check out this guide on some of the most recent popular interview questions along with tips on how to answer them!

Phone Interview

  • Phone Interviews are a popular first step in the interview process. You may receive a call from the HR or Hiring Manager for a short phone interview as a sort of pre-screening.

In-Person Interview

  • Historically the most common type of interview, especially in the final rounds of job interviews. All the same preparation tips listed at the top of this resource page will apply.
    • Rules of Etiquette
      • Arrive 10 - 15 minutes early
      • Turn off your phone and don't be on it while in the lobby or waiting area
      • Treat everyone you meet as though they are the decision maker
      • Maintain eye contact and posture. Body language also plays a big role during interviews

Video (Virtual) Interview

  • Virtual interviews are typically conducted over video chat tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. They work very similarly to a phone or in-person interview, but extra preparation should be taken to ensure no technical issues occur during your interview.
    • Additional Preparation Tips
      • Make sure you have a well-lit, quiet location free from distractions to use during your interview. Need a space? Contact the career services office to book our conference room!
      • Test the video platform before your interview. Make sure to test your microphone, camera, and speakers on your computer.



Traditional Questions

  • Common Introductory Interview Questions
    • Tell me about yourself.
    • What are your greatest strengths / weaknesses?
    • Why should we hire you?
    • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Behavioral Questions

  • Behavioral questions ask about your past performance in certain situations based on something that has happened. Behavioral interview questions ask you to tell a story or give a specific example that demonstrates a skill or competency.
    • Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty to get a job done.
    • Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?
    • More Sample Behavioral Interview Questions

Situational Questions

  • Situational questions will ask about hypothetical circumstances, mostly around things that could/might happen on the job. These questions typically look at your problem-solving and assess how prepared you are to manage these circumstances.
    • What would you do if a manager asked you to perform a task you have never done before?
    • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you learn from this experience?

Experiential Questions

  • Questions about your experiences with a certain task. This gives the interviewer the opportunity to ask specifics about required job duties. Make sure to not lie about skills on your resume, as they may also pull questions from your experiences/skills listed.
    • This job focuses a lot on using Microsoft Excel, how much experience do you have?
    • One of the main responsibilities of this position is giving presentations. Please tell me about your experience with public speaking.

You will likely be asked this question, so use it to your advantage. Stay clear of personal information. Answer using the most recent and relevant information. Having a concise summary of yourself, in the form of a 30-second "elevator pitch" is the best way to answer this question.

Circle with Check mark Do Include:

Red X in circle Don't Include:

  • The Basics: your name, SVSU major/minor, and year in school
  • experience: work experience, volunteer work, projects related to the position of interest
  • Distinctions: your top, relevant accomplishments, strengths, and skill sets
  • The Future: your educational and career goals as they relate to the position
  • Your age, marital status, ethnicity, and other potentially discriminatory information
  • Details about your family, friends, co-workers, etc. Keep the focus on you!
  • All of your work experience - stick to what is most relevant for your listener
  • Hobbies, unless you are able to make a clear connection between them and the position

Example: "My name is Coop Cardinal, and I am currently a sophomore studying Accounting at Saginaw Valley State University. For the past two years, I have been a student employee in the Career Services office, assisting with on-campus student employment and ensuring departments are properly tracking their budgets for student workers. I also recently completed a presentation with the Finance Club where we won first place. I welcome the opportunity to go further with Rehmann and enhance my accounting and auditing skills through this internship."

STAR Method

The STAR method is a technique to learn and use for interviewing when you answer behavioral questions about previous experiences. By utilizing this method, you are ensuring that your answers are clear, thorough and complete.


  • Briefly describe the background of your example and include your role.


  • Share the details of the problem or responsibility you were charged with in the situation


  • Describe the various courses of action you could have taken and why you chose a certain action. Detail what you did in this action


  • Describe the outcome and/or resolution of the situation. If positive, what was successful? If negative, what could you have done differently?

Never leave a job interview answering this question with "no." By asking an employer a question or two, you will exhibit interest in the employer and the position. This is also your chance to ensure the company is the right fit for you! Preparing these questions in advance is easy. Also, pay attention to the questions they ask you during the interview. Ask the interviewer questions that show that you learned new information about their company or organization:

  • What would a typical day be like?
  • Can you tell me how success in this position is measured?
  • Who would I work with most closely on a daily basis?
  • What do you consider the most challenging aspect of this position for someone who is new to your organization?
  • What are your major projects in the coming year?
  • What type of employee tends to succeed here, and what qualities are the most important for succeeding here?
  • Can you describe what your company culture is?
  • What do you enjoy about working for this organization? What attracted you to it?
  • What kind of professional development opportunities would be available to me?
  • What is your timeline for the hiring process or next steps?

Be sure to research the employer prior to the interview to avoid asking questions that are already on their website.

Reach out to the people who interviewed you and thank them for their time and consideration. This can be done with a quick email or even with a LinkedIn Connection.

Best Practices and Samples


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