Student Supervisors

Interviewing Tips

Mastering job interview skills is a major step in a student’s progress toward becoming an able and self-assured participant in the world of work. The process of applying for a position and discussing his/her own qualifications and skills gives the student experience and confidence, which will assist in obtaining summer and post-graduate employment.

The main purpose of the interview is to determine if the student is capable of filling your employment needs. It also allows the student the opportunity to determine whether he or she feels qualified and comfortable with the position.

During the interview, both parties should come to an understanding of the expectations and style of the other person. Information can be gained that is not only vital to assigning the student to a particular position, but also instrumental in determining future training and supervisory needs.

  • Prepare for the interview by reviewing materials you will use. Know the job description. The more familiar you are with the description, the more useful the interview will be in selecting an employee.
  • Try to create a friendly, comfortable atmosphere. Be aware of body language - both yours and the student’s.
  • Emphasize a relaxed, conversational attitude. Use eye contact and smile. Most job applicants are a bit nervous when applying for a position, so devoting a few moments to putting the student at ease with “small talk” is often appropriate.
  • Structure the interview to the functions and responsibilities of the job. Be sure you ask the questions necessary to verify that the student has the qualifications needed.
  • Secure some basic information about the student’s class schedule and work background.
  • Have a written copy of the job description for the student to review. This will allow the student to organize his/her thoughts and be prepared to answer the questions posed in the interview and to formulate his/her own questions.
  • After the basic information has been obtained, further questions are often necessary to determine levels of skills or degrees of talent. Encourage the student to talk by using open-ended questions
  • Discuss goals and plans by using “why” questions whenever possible to help discover basic student motivation, values, or plans for the future.

Some example questions and a list of questions you cannot ask are found here