Co-op Interview: Tips

Pre-Interview

  1. Educate yourself on the company you are interviewing for. What goods/services/products do they provide/make? What is the company history? Where do they conduct business? What other industries are they linked to? Why is it important to know this? Speaking to an employer about their own company shows them:
    1. You have a vested interest in the company; you want to make a commitment to be there.
    2. You are resourceful and professional.
    3. You are a self-starter and show good initiative
    4. You have a grasp on the industry and the company’s role in it.
  2. Are you connected? If you networked through a friend, family member, etc. to get this interview, be sure to touch-base with that person and discuss the interview and position. Be sure to mention your networked friend during the interview.
  3. Resume, Cover Letter, References, Portfolio... Be sure to ask what you need to bring with you to the interview.
  4. Practice. Be prepared to answer questions about your experience, skills, goals, etc.  Check out Big Interview for videos, tips and practice online interview sessions.

Interview

  1. Dress professional. It’s always better to be overdressed for an interview, rather than underdressed. Business suits, ties, be well-groomed and shaven, etc..., be presentable and look sharp!
  2. Don’t worry, be happy. Smile, relax and show enthusiasm, this shows the employer you are excited about this potential opportunity.
  3. Resume, Cover Letter, References, Portfolio... Be sure to always bring an extra copy of your resume with you to the interview.
  4. Honesty is the best policy. Have you been asking yourself over and over... "What if I give the wrong answer?"... well, don’t worry yourself. All you can do is be honest in your answers. Employers know if you’re trying too hard and you come across awkward during the interview if you do so. So don’t worry about giving the "right" or "wrong" answer, just give the answer you know naturally.
  5. Stand tall. Have confidence in yourself! Go into the interview with the mind-set that you are a potential asset to the company and they would be fortunate to have you. Do so not in an arrogant manner, but rather a persona that shows the employer you have the pride and drive in yourself to perform well and be proud of your results.
  6. Show interest, write it down.
  7. What about... Be sure to have questions prepared to ask those interviewing you. What do you ask? Well, what would you like to know about? Benefits? The company’s future? Advancement opportunities? Time off?
  8. Thank you. Be sure to thank all those involved with the interview for their time and consideration on your behalf.

Post-Interview

  1. What happens now? Be sure to take notes during the interview. Ask your interviewer (if they have not already given you this information) what the next steps are. Will they contact you? Are there any other steps you need to complete in the application process? Be sure you do not leave the interview with any unanswered questions.
  2. Thank you. Be sure to send a follow-up letter (or make a follow-up phone call) thanking the company for their time and consideration on your behalf.
  3. Homework? If the employer gave you any tasks to complete post-interview (completing forms, drug-testing, etc) that must be completed, be sure to complete these tasks ASAP. If you have questions, do not make assumptions, ask the employer.

What NOT to do

  1. Dress unprofessionally. Be clean and conservative in your attire and appearance.
  2. Arrive late to the interview.
  3. Speak unprofessionally. Avoid speaking negatively about previous employers, etc... or anyone at all for that matter. This will reflect negatively on your character and would not increase your chances of being hired for the position.
  4. "Pad" your qualifications. Honesty is the best policy, be sure you avoid overstating your actual qualifications. Should you do so, your employer will eventually discover your shortcomings upon employment.
  5. Talk too much or leave a question unanswered. Be sure you pay attention and listen carefully to the questions being asked. Once you are asked the question, answer it completely and avoid changing subjects. This shows the employer that you can follow instructions and pay attention to necessary details.

Sample Questions

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why did you choose to interview with this company?
  • How has your experience prepared you for our organization?
  • In your own words describe the ideal job.
  • What type of supervisor have you found to be the best?
  • What do you plan to be doing in five years time?
  • What do you know about this organization?
  • What do you know about this position?
  • What contributions could you make in this organization that would help you stand out from other applicants?
  • What qualities would you look for in an applicant for this position?
  • What sort of criteria are you using to decide the organization you will work for?
  • How has your education prepared you for a career with this organization?
  • What made you choose your major?
  • Have your university and major met your expectations?
  • What made you choose this college?
  • Do your grades reflect your achievements at school?
  • What are your two or three greatest achievements since you’ve been at college and why?
  • Which subjects have you enjoyed studying the most and why?
  • Which subjects did you dislike and why?
  • Do you have plans to continue your education?
  • How would a professor who knows you very well and one who does not know you very well describe you?
  • Given the chance, how would you alter the course of your education?
  • What are your career goals?
  • How did your part-time employment experience prepare you for permanent employment?
  • Which part-time job did you enjoy the most and why?
  • What are your two or three most enjoyable past work experiences?
  • I see in your resume that you like to _____________ (Hobby, etc.). Tell me a little bit about this interest.
  • Describe yourself including your strengths and weaknesses.
  • What sort of serious problems have you experienced and how have you handled them?
  • Which employers have you interviewed with or will you be interviewing with in the future?
  • Do you or have you in the past experimented with illegal drugs?
  • Would you be willing to take a drug test?
  • Do you drink alcohol socially?
  • If you had your whole life to live over, what would you do differently and why?
  • Which is more important to you, your salary or your job?
  • What have you found to be the biggest sources of motivation in your life?
  • What sorts of things cause you stress and how do you cope with them?
  • What is your definition of success?
  • What qualities should a successful supervisor possess in regard to job requirements and those who report to him/her?
  • If traveling is necessary for this position, will that bother you?
  • How would the community we are located in meet your needs?
  • How would you develop team spirit among the people that you supervise?
  • Do you like to work independently or as a team?
  • What kind of work environment do you like best?
  • How would you resolve conflicts with employees, coworkers, and supervisors?
  • In what ways have you learned from your mistakes?
  • In what areas do you need to improve your skills?
  • Why did you leave your last employer?
  • When would you be available for employment?