Prepare for Interviews and Career Fairs

Explore our Career Success Guide’s Interviewing Skills section for tips, advice, and a Top 10 Interview Questions guide!

Prepare for an Interview

Taking the time to prepare for an interview in advance can help you ace the interview and secure a job offer. Below are some general tips to help you along the way:

  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early to your interview location.
  • Listen carefully; if you do not understand a question, ask for clarification before answering.
  • Emphasize your strengths and stay positive.
  • Pay attention to your nonverbal communication, such as posture and eye contact.
  • Say “Thank You” at the end of the interview, and in writing within 24 hours after the interview.  

  • Analyze the job description, make a list of the preferred qualifications, and identify how you meet and/or exceed them.
  • Prioritize your skills and qualifications in order of importance and don’t forget to mention them during your interview.
  • If a description is not available, ask the hiring manager for details and/or speak with professionals you know at the organization or in the same industry.
  • Research the organizations’ mission, vision, and values and be prepared to share specific ways you will help the organization reach its goals.
  • Search online to get a third-party perspective.
  • Connect with the organization and people who work there via social media outlets such as LinkedIn and the Fresno State Alumni Association’s Career Connections.

General

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Walk me through your resume?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why should we hire you?

Education

  • What are your major academic achievements?
  • How has your education prepared you for this career?
  • What courses have you taken that are directly transferable to this position?

Experience

  • What skills and/or experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
  • How well do you work with people? Do you prefer working alone or in groups?
  • How would you describe your leadership skills

Unusual

  • If you were a brand, what would be your motto?
  • What song best describes your work ethic?

While interviewers are focused on finding if you are the right fit for the position, it is just as important for you to decide if the organization is the right fit for you. Have a list of questions ready to ask in your interview. Below are examples of questions you can ask:

Your Role

  • What is a typical day or week like?
  • How does this position contribute to the organization’s success? 
  • What do you hope I will accomplish in this position?
  • How does the company culture affect this role?

Training

  • What would the first 2 weeks in the job look like?

Getting to know the interviewer

  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • What is your team’s greatest accomplishment?

Management Style

  • How would you describe the supervisor’s management style?
  • How do managers encourage employees to ask questions?
  • How does employee feedback get incorporated into day-to-day operations? 

Company Culture

  • How would you describe the company’s culture and leadership philosophy?
  • How would you describe the work environment here?
  • How frequently do employees make themselves available outside of normal working hours?

Performance Measurements

  • How are employees recognized for their hard work?
  • How often do you evaluate employee performance? 

Opportunities for Growth

  • What type of mentor system do you have in place?
  • What type of education/training opportunities does your organization offer? 
  • How do managers promote employee growth and success?

Next Steps

  • What are the next steps in the hiring process, and when can I expect to hear from you?
  • Is there any additional information I can provide to you?

Behavioral interview questions are designed to get you to reveal more about yourself, how you think, solve problems, and interact with others. They usually begin with, “Describe a situation… Give me an example… Tell us about… etc.”

The STAR concept is a structured manner of responding to a behavioral interview question by discussing the specific Situation, Task, Action, and Result of the situation you are describing, in a story-telling format.

Explore the Career Resources section below to access the STAR Stories for Behavioral Interview Questions Worksheet and practice using the STAR concept.

Prepare for Career Fairs/Employer Events

Career and Internship Fairs are held each semester to provide students with the opportunity to meet with multiple employers and discuss potential opportunities within their organization.

Prepare for the Career Fair

Career Fairs are networking events that allow students the opportunity to meet potential employers. Take the time to:

  • In advance, research the organizations attending the fair
  • Approach the employers in which you are interested
  • Introduce yourself and tell them what you like about their organization
  • Make contacts that you can follow up with during your job search

Get Your Materials Together

  • Update your resume and bring 30 copies.
  • Make sure your professional clothes are cleaned and ironed.
  • Visit the Clothing Closet to obtain free professional clothing!

Research the Employers and Prioritize

  • Log in to your HireFresnoState account to view a list of  see which employers will be attending the Career Fair.

Prepare Your 30-Second Commercial

Dress Professionally

Strategize and Break the Ice

  • Approach a low priority employer first to practice your commercial
  • Keep your eyes and ears open—there’s nothing wrong with eavesdropping on the questions asked and answers received by your fellow career fair attendees. You might pick up some valuable information!

Speaking with Employers

  • Initiate conversation with your 30-second commercial, using a firm handshake to make a great first impression
  • Show enthusiasm by smiling and speaking clearly
  • Ask for a business card and take notes on back after you walk away for follow up
  • End conversation with a thank you

Immediate follow through

  • Send thank you emails to all employers to whom you spoke
  • Follow through on submitting any information that you promised

In the next few weeks

  • Review your goals and company selection criteria
  • Re-prioritize the companies for which you would most like to work
  • Create a method for managing and recording your follow up (e.g. an Excel spreadsheet of contacts)

Watch this How to Work a Career Fair video and Complete a short Quiz afterward to ensure you are ready to succeed at your next career and internship fair or employer networking opportunity!

Don’t Forget to:

What you wear to your interview depends on the position for which you are applying, the organization’s culture, and the industry. Here are some quick tips:

  • Know your audience and dress at least one notch more formally than the people who already work there.
  • If you are still unsure, contact the recruiter, manager, or human services department and ask.
  • Check out our Pinterest boards for attire ideas and advices (pinterest.com/HireFresnoState)
  • Visit the Fresno State Clothing Closet for FREE professional clothing and accessories. 

  • StandOut – Log in with your Fresno State username and password to access 100’s of interview questions. Record, review, and share your practice interview for feedback.
  • Schedule a Mock-Interview appointment with a Career Counselor to receive live interview feedback and advice. Please call 559.278.2381, email us at careers@csufresno.edu or stop by the Career Development Center weekdays between 8am to 5pm in University Student Union Room 306.
  • LinkedIn Free Interview Preparation – Practice 26 common questions and privately request feedback from your LinkedIn connections (You need a LinkedIn Account to access this resource)

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