Mock Interviews

Do job interviews make you nervous?

Contact the Career Services Center today to schedule an appointment for a mock interview!

Let us know what position you are interviewing for and we will tailor the questions for you.

(541) 880-2354

Interview preparation

Getting ready for an upcoming career interview is about presenting yourself as the best candidate for the job. Employers want to know that you understand their organization and what the job entails. Research allows you to instill confidence with the employer that you are the right choice for the opportunity.

Review the job description

It’s important to be knowledgeable as to the required responsibilities, skills and qualifications. Be sure to research the listed position further using the web page and various resources.

Research the organization

  • What is the mission or purpose of the organization?
  • What does the "About Us" section of the company’s website present about the organization?
  • Has the organization been in the media lately?  What information have they shared?
  • What are the organization’s demographics (size, location, branches, subsidiaries)?
  • What does their human resource section indicate about their hiring process, standards, and benefits?
If you know a current or past employee, schedule a meeting to chat with them prior to your interview to learn about the culture and environment of the organization.

Four rules of interviewing

  1. Examine the intent of the question,
  2. Tell a story,
  3. Be positive,
  4. Keep it relevant.


Interview day checklist

  • Bring a folder or notepad, copies of your resume, and a list of three to eight questions to ask.
  • Look up the interview location address, directions, parking information, and the time you will need to get there.
  • Have the office phone number with you.
  • Allow plenty of time and arrive a few minutes early (no more than 10 minutes).
  • Turn off your cell phone and limit the number of items you take to the interview (avoid large bags or binders).
  • Do a last minute wardrobe check, everything is clean and buttoned or zipped.
  • Breathe . . . you’ve got this!

Thank you letters

Before you leave, write down the names of your interviewers or get business cards for correct spelling.

Send handwritten or emailed thank-you letters to each interviewer within two days of the interview.

Check the letter for spelling and grammatical errors.

Thank the interviewers for their time, show interest and enthusiasm, and mention something specific you discussed.


Interview questions

Behavioral vs. traditional questions

A "behavioral question" asks you about past experiences or situations, and is more defined than a traditional interview question. Think about the intent of the question as you choose how you will answer the question. 

Remember to keep the examples positive, and when discussing individuals to not address them by name.

Traditional Question: How do you work under pressure?
Behavioral Question: Tell me about a time you had an unexpected deadline?


Sample Behavior Interview Questions:  

  • Tell me about a time you worked with a difficult person.  How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time when you received constructive criticism.  How did you respond?
  • Give me an example of a time when you saw a need in your workplace.  What did you do to fix it?
  • Give me an example of a time when you used good judgment/logic in solving a problem?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
  • Give me an example of a situation where you assumed a leadership role.
  • Describe a new idea you had and how you implemented it.
  • Describe a situation in which you worked as part of a team.  What role did you take on?
  • Describe a time when you were faced with a problem that tested your coping skills.
  • Describe the most significant or creative presentation you have had to complete.
  • Tell me about a time when you wish that you had used better time management skills.
  • What was a specific mistake that you made, and how did you handle the situation.


Strategies for interview questions

Tell me about yourself.
  • Limit personal information (no hobbies, hometown, age, siblings, etc.).
  • Focus on achievements, accomplishments, and transferable skills.
  • Connect to the job description and organization.

What is your greatest weakness?
  • Keep it skill-based (try to stay away from personal characteristics).
  • Choose a weakness that is not central to the position.
  • Discuss what steps you are taking to improve this weakness.
  • Be sincere (no "I work too hard" or "I’m a perfectionist").

The S.O.A.R. answer model

The S.O.A.R. Answer Model is helpful in preparing for interview questions, as well as keeping focus during the interview when responding to questions.

Situation:  Begin by providing a brief context using a real life situation which you have experiences. This is the "before" picture which will illustrate what was happening "at the time" of the situation.  

Example:  I was just promoted to assistant manager in our department, and the department had doubled in volume growth, but was experiencing higher than average turnover.

Obstacles:  Outline the issues or define the problem. This will get the interviewer’s attention regarding what it is you have overcome.

Example:  Our turnover was over 25%. New hires required training and coaching from current staff. Our experienced staff were feeling stressed and overworked. Our work product diminished and was not being completed within timeliness and was adversely effecting our clients.

Action:  You would then explain the action which you took to resolve the situation.  

Example:  I was able to identify and prioritized what immediate steps I needed to take. I analyzed the work flow and matched the work product to the people best skilled to complete the assignment. I made sure that all employees had a job description that reflected what their responsibilities and were aligned with the new assignments. We had new hires shadowing senior staff which helped build a stronger mentoring relationship.

Results:  Finally, present the outcome of your actions. Share successes, as well as areas were you made corrections to continue a positive outcome.   

Example:  Our internal turnover dropped in half within the first year. Our organization morale improved significantly, the work product was able to be produced within time lines, and our clients benefited from our new approach.

As you begin your job search and start preparing for interviews, it is important to practice responding to various behavioral questions based on your past experiences. Experiences can be from a classroom, employment, internship, or any other relevant experience. Choosing a variety of experience examples is important.


Questions to ask employers

At the end of the interview, the interviewer(s) will give you the opportunity to ask any questions that you have of them regarding the job or the organization.  You should always prepare thoughtful questions based on your research of the company and/or career field. 

Some examples include:
  1. What is the culture of the organization?
  2. What characteristics would the ideal candidate have for this position?
  3. How would you describe the company’s culture and leadership philosophy?
  4. What is the history of this position?
  5. I read about (an interesting fact) on your company’s website.  Could you tell me more about this?
  6. How do you see new staff contributing to the (initiative, project, etc.)?
  7.  What are your goals for this position in the first year?
  8. What is your favorite part about working for this organization?

Brainstorm customized questions prior to your interview . . . . . I have researched [this] about your organization and [this is why I care] and can you tell me more?

Contact the Career Services Center

Building 4, Room 415