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Career and Professional Development

» Interviewing


There are a lot of elements to consider when preparing for an interview. Are you speaking in a strong and confident voice? How is your posture? Do you know the answers to common interview questions that are bound to be asked? Have you researched this company and industry's history, challenges and vocabulary/jargon so you will present yourself as a polished and prepared candidate?  

We know that these known components, combined with the unknown elements of each individual organization and interviewer's style, can be nerve-racking. The good news is, your Chapman career team is here to help.

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Practice Interviewing

Our entire Chapman family has access to InterviewStreama leading tool for all students, job-seekers, and talented professionals to use to practice their interviewing skills in a pressure-free environment. There, you can practice, record, and send interviews to peers, career coaches, and faculty for review. 

Additionally, every semester, Career and Professional Development conducts on-campus Mock Interviews. These speed-dating style events are the perfect opportunity to practice your interview skills with a variety of interviewers with varying styles and to receive instantaneous and candid feedback in a safe environment with low stakes.

Please do not wait until the day of the interview for your dream job to be in the 'hot seat.' Practice with your Chapman Family in a safe environment first. That way, when the big day comes, you will be polished, prepared and confident!  

Research the Company

The top 6 things to know about a company you are interviewing with:

  1. Their product or service and its history
  2. Strengths and weaknesses of the organization. For those of you with a business background, think the 'SW' of SWOT 
  3. Typical clients or customers of the company
  4. Company’s relative standing in the marketplace
  5. Location of company headquarters
  6. Specific details of the job you are applying for

Company information research tools:


Know the Industry

Being a valuable asset to an organization goes beyond technical abilities, academic knowledge and organizational awareness. It also extends into industry knowledge - what is happening with competitors, major challenges, opportunities, threats and key trends (culture, economic, demographics, and legislation.) For those of you with a business background, think the 'OT' of SWOT

Industry research tools:

Alumni: Please review the alumni access guide to Chapman library resources and contact a librarian for assistance.


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Tell me about yourself

One of the first questions that interviewers like to ask is “Tell me about yourself?”, it’s important to be prepared and really know how to answer that question concisely and confidently.  Doing the panther paw can really help in this process, as well as knowing your skills, strengths, accomplishments and goals.

Personal Qualities

  1. How do you organize and plan for major projects?
  2. When you are faced with a tough decision, how do you go about making it?
  3. How do you handle yourself when you’re in conflict with someone?
  4. How will you contribute to the organization?


  1. Why did you choose to go to Chapman University?
  2. What were the factors influencing your choice of a major? Why?
  3. Were there any unusual difficulties you had to overcome in college?
  4. Do you have any plans to further your education?
  5. Why did you choose this major? This career?


  1. What did you learn from (or why don’t I see any) internships on your resume?
  2. What have you learned from participation in extra-curricular activities?
  3. How do you determine or evaluate success based on past experience?
  4. What accomplishments have you achieved (if any) in your jobs or internships?
  5. Did you hold any positions of leadership in any organization?

Career and Job Expectations

  1. How has your education prepared you for your career?
  2. Are you seeking employment in a company of a certain size? Why?
  3. What criteria are you using to evaluate the company for which you hope to work?
  4. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
  5. How does this job help you achieve your long term career goals?

Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavior interview questions are based on the premise that past actions are the best indications of future behavior. 

Questions are asked that demand specific answers in order to discover if you possess certain job skills.  It allows the interviewer to understand in detail how you have acted in specific situations in the past as an indicator of how you will act in the future as their employee.

Formulating Appropriate Answers: Interviewers who ask behavioral questions expect answers with specific examples.  Therefore, when preparing for this type of interview, anticipate the job skills required in the position and think of past experiences where you have demonstrated these skills. 

Example: A job in sales requires customer service orientation.  Think of situations where you have dealt with customers and practice structuring your answer using the STAR method (The following tab).

Sample Behavioral Questions

  1. Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
  2. Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone’s opinion.
  3. Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.
  4. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
  5. Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.
  6. Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.
  7. Tell me about a difficult decision you’ve made in the last year.
  8. Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you’re required to prioritize your tasks.
  9. Can you think of a person or group you have worked with who saw things differently from you? And how did you handle it?
  10. In what areas of your present job have good verbal communication been most important?

STAR Method

The S.T.A.R. Method is a structured method to assist you in breaking down your answers to behavioral interview questions, making sure that you address each of the most important aspects of the question.

Situation – What was the situation that you were faced with related to the question being asked.

Task – What tasks were involved in the situation that you needed to accomplish?  The interviewer is looking for a specific event not generalized, the more detail the better.

Action – What actions did you have to take?  Keep the focus on you and your role in the situation.

Results – What were the results at the end? Was anything accomplished and by how much or how long? What did you learn from the experience?


Q:  Tell me about some things in your job that you have done beyond what has been required.

A: “Last summer, I was head lifeguard at a large public pool that employed 20 lifeguards (SITUATION).  One time, a parent called the desk frantic because she had tried to call her son for a couple of days and had gotten no response.  She demanded that I locate her son (TASK).  I knew I had to stay calm because she was upset.  I let her talk for several minutes, reassured her that I understood how frightening it must be, and carefully explained that I could not leave the desk to locate her son.  I didn't want to just transfer her to the R.A., in case she ended up talking to answering machine, so I asked if I could put her on hold, and called the R.A. on that floor.  He wasn't in, but luckily I found the Hall Director, so I transferred the call to the Hall Director (ACTION).  By then, my patience and efforts to help had calmed down the parent (RESULT).

Do you have any questions for me?

In every interview they will ask if you have any questions and it’s important that you’ve done your research and have at least 5 questions prepared to ask.  This will let the interviewer know that you took the time to prepare and are willing to invest time to learn more. This is also an opportunity for you to showcase the effort you put into researching their company and industry by asking pointed, specific questions that only well-researched persons or organization insiders would ask.

Identify areas where you may want to ask questions.

Asking questions shows your interest in the organization, gives an opportunity to show what you know, and demonstrates your motivation and willingness to go the extra step.  

  • Ask questions that are of genuine interest to you and will help you make an informed decision.
  • Ask questions that show the depth of your research and preparation.  Do not ask questions which could be answered on the organization’s website.
  • Ask questions specific about the daily responsibilities related to the technical more detailed aspects of the job.
  • Remember you can ask questions throughout the interview, you don’t have to wait until the end.  However, don’t monopolize the conversation let the interviewer lead.

Sample Questions

  1. What are the main objectives and responsibilities of the position?
  2. Where does this position fit into the company’s organizational structure?
  3. Can you describe the company’s culture?
  4. What are the organization’s strengths, and what major problems/challenges does it face?
  5. Are there training and development programs required/offered within the organization?
  6. What qualities are you looking for in a new hire?
  7. What is the next step in the process?
  8. When do you expect to make a hiring decision for this position?

Virtual Interviews

If you are preparing for a virtual interview, please consider reserving an on-campus interview room. Avoid the infamous dorm room wall or noisy roommate syndrome. We are here to help. Chapman's private on-campus interview rooms will provide you with a quiet, professional and private location that helps you project a professional image to your interviewer. Reserve your space today.


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Phone interviews

Phone Interviews generally serve as precursors (or screenings) for face-to-face interviews or even as follow-ups to the first in-person interview.  Regardless of what step of the hiring process a phone interview comes into play, you should always treat it as you would an in-person interview.  Here are some quick tips:

  1. Find an appropriate quiet and uninterrupted location where you’ll be able to speak with the interviewer clearly and privately
  2. Take the phone interview as seriously as you would an in person interview
  3. Listen to what the interviewer says – do not dominate the conversation Keep voice level, do not talk too quickly and breathe
  4. Keep your resume and cover letter in front of you to answer any questions that come up. Have a pen and paper ready to write down notes and any impromptu questions that you come up with.
  5. Make sure to have ready answers to common questions
  6. Send a “thank you” email at the end of the interview

Video and Skype Interviews

While video interviews are not as common as in-person or phone interviews, they are still much used by companies, especially when you are applying for positions outside of your county. 

  1. Look the part and feel the part
    1. Dress for a formal interview
    2. Watch your body language carefully – practice in front of a mirror to see what they will see
  2. Find an appropriate quiet and uninterrupted location where you’ll be able to speak with the interviewer clearly and privately
    1. Prepare your background – think neutral, a blank wall, no color/posters/door frame
    2. Consider the lighting
    3. Imagine the impact that the sound of a busy house versus the quiet of a reserved room will have
  3. Practice the interview first
  4. Smile!
  5. Stay Present
    1. Have a conversation
    2. Keep eye contact
    3. Lean forward
  6. Keep your resume and cover letter in front of you to answer any questions that come up. Have a pen and paper ready to write down notes and any impromptu questions that you come up with.
  7. Don’t ignore technical difficulties - address them immediately. If you cannot understand the question asked than you certainly do not want to give a nonsensical answer.

Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are not a job interviews. It is about people helping people, and a unique form of networking between two people. An informational interview provides you with insider insight. One person is working in a certain industry or field, and the other person is looking to learn more about the industry, field, career path, or employer.

Informational Interviewing by Barbara Bruno, Lynda Career Development Library

Have a Skype interview coming up?

Avoid the infamous dorm room wall syndrome. We are here to help. Chapman's private on-campus interview rooms provide students and alumni with a quiet, professional and private location to conduct Skype or in-person interviews.

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