University Career Center

Employers can tell the difference between a candidate who enters an interview prepared and one who is just “winging it.” Below are a few points to help you prepare for your interviews including information on the STAR technique, one specific approach to interviewing. You may also want to learn more about Career Center resources that can help you practice your interviewing skills.

  • Anticipate specific questions that you expect will be difficult for you. For many people, open-ended questions (e.g., “Tell me about yourself”) or negative questions (“Tell me about a supervisor you didn’t get along with”) can be especially challenging. Preparing for these questions and practicing your answers can help ensure that you won’t freeze up during the interview. You may also want to focus on areas that might be especially challenging for your unique situation.
  • Prepare stories about yourself: your experiences, skills and personal qualities. You cannot anticipate every interview question, but if you’ve spent some time reflecting on your background and preparing stories that illustrate key points you’re less likely to be caught off-guard by unexpected questions.
  • Share concrete examples to back up your assertions, rather than making unsubstantiated claims. Examples from past experiences will help convince an employer that you can do what they need done, because you demonstrate that you’ve done it in the past.
  • Do your homework on the industry and the organization to ensure that your answers are relevant to the specific situation. See our section on researching employers for more on this topic.

The STAR Technique

The STAR technique (Situation or Task, Action and Result) offers one strategy to help you stay on track with your interviewing answers.

Quintessential Career’s article on the STAR technique has a brief description and a sample of the typical questions encountered.