Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Types of Interviews

boston college career center

As you go through the job-search process, you will probably encounter several different types of interviews. Here are some tips on preparing for each. For tips on preparing for informational interviews, see Network & Connect.


BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEWS


This type of interview requires you to talk about how you have handled specific types of issues in the past. For example:

  • Talk about a time when you worked as part of a team and there was conflict between the team members.
  • Describe a time when you had to put in extra hours to complete a project or assignment.
  • Summarize your customer service experience.

For more examples, check out Questions to Expect or the book High-Impact Interview Questions: 701 Behavior-Based Questions.

 

Answering Behavioral Interview Questions


When asked a behavioral question in an interview, your answers should describe the situation, your specific actions, and the results of your actions:

  • Situation: First, give a complete account of the event. Describe the situation and the task at hand. What were the key points?
  • Actions: Be specific about what you did, said, or thought. Separate your actions from the actions of others.
  • Result: What was the outcome? Describe what happened as a result of your actions.

Sometimes interviewers ask questions such as "Tell me about a time when you made a bad decision." Answer these questions in a way that shows that you learned from your mistake, and that the experience helped you grow personally and professionally.

 

CASE INTERVIEWS


Case interviews are used by consulting companies and other firms to assess your problem-solving abilities. Interviewers in these situations will observe your thought process, test your ability to think logically and organize your answer, and assess your confidence and communication skills under pressure. Getting the “right” answer is not nearly as important as the thought process you go through.

Here are some strategies for successfully completing a case interview:

  • Take notes as you listen to the question
  • Summarize the question and verify the objectives
  • Ask clarifying questions
  • Organize your answer, using a framework
  • Think out loud... but think before you speak!
  • Work numbers into the problem, if possible
  • Be creative and brainstorm
  • Exude enthusiasm and a positive attitude

Case Interview Resources at the Career Resource Library

Case Interview Resources on the Web

 

TECHNICAL INTERVIEWS


This type of interview requires candidates to demonstrate a particular skill set or knowledge that relates to the job, such as writing code for a computer programming position. You may be asked to solve puzzles, problems, or brainteasers, or answer specific targeted questions.

Technical Interview Resources on the Web