Career Center M30

Interview Preparation

Questions?

  • Career Center
    202-885-1804
    Fax: 202-885-1861
    careercenter@american.edu
    Butler Pavilion, Room 5th Floor

    Monday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Tuesday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
    Wednesday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
    Thursday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Fernando, Gihan S
    Executive Director-Career Center

Mailing Address

Key Considerations

Employers conduct interviews to assess three primary factors that influence their hiring decisions: your likelihood for success given your background and skills, your willingness to perform the position’s duties, and your cultural fit with the organization.

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LIKELIHOOD FOR SUCCESS

To convince an employer that you are the person it needs, you must articulate your unique qualifications and outperform other interviewees. Be prepared to answer common questions such as:

  • What do you know about our organization?
  • What led you to choose your major or concentration?
  • What is your greatest strength and weakness?
  • What do you consider your greatest accomplishment and why?
  • Why should this organization hire you?

WILLINGNESS TO PERFORM

Before investing heavily in you, an employer assesses your level of commitment to the position and organization. To convey your enthusiasm for the role and support of the organization’s mission, prepare genuine responses to these common questions:

  • Why are you applying for this position?
  • What are you most looking forward to in this role and why?
  • What activity do you believe will be most challenging and why?
  • What contributions can you make to our organization?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

ORGANIZATIONAL FIT

An employer asks questions like the ones below to measure your compatibility with its mission, goals, workplace values, procedures, and people. In the interest of both you and the employer, answer honestly.

  • What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
  • What qualities do you seek in a manager?
  • In what type of work environment are you most satisfied?
  • How would a colleague or professional reference describe you?
  • What situations are most stressful for you and how do you cope?

Mock Interviews

Utilize our Interview Prep tool to sharpen your interview skills.

Learn More


Your Turn

An employer always reserves time toward the end of an interview to answer your questions. Take the opportunity to learn more in order to determine if the position and organization are right for you. If you are not prepared to ask questions, an employer may doubt your intentions, so use the samples below as a starting point.

  • What would a typical day be like for me?
  • How will my performance be evaluated?
  • How do employees advance within the organization?
  • What do employees most enjoy about working here?
  • What significant changes or challenges to the job, department, or organization do you foresee in the short- or long-term?