8 March 2022

Many students will be interviewing for opportunities in the coming weeks. Both on-campus and summer positions will use interviews to inform the selection process. Interviews can range from: 

Rachel Leatham
Rachel Leatham, Associate Director
  • Recorded, where participants respond to a set of questions by phone or using a camera;
  • Informal, where a 1:1 conversation is held between the candidate and the hiring official; 
  • Formal, possibly with multiple panels, including structured interviews with different team members and/or groups;
  • Technical interviews, where a candidate is asked to demonstrate their problem-solving abilities such as in coding for computer engineering; and,
  • Case interviews, where a candidate is run through a practice scenario and they need to demonstrate their analytical skills and make recommendations.   

The Career Center has a myriad of resources available for students, including an interview guide and appointments for practice interviews with a coach. We encourage students to ask their hiring managers for details on what to expect during an interview so that they can prepare accordingly. Additionally, students can research organizations via Carleton connections (looking at Carls on LinkedIn) or third-party sites such as Glassdoor

If they are open to a conversation, you can also help your Carleton student prepare for an interview. 

  • Normalize the interview process. You can share your own interviewing stories. Thinking back on your first interview experiences, what did you feel? What mistakes did you make and what did you learn from those experiences? What was the most surprising thing you learned during an interview? Sharing your own experiences can help to make the interview process feel less intimidating. 
  • Listen to their stories. Suspend any judgment about what they “should” be doing and listen to their insights. Ask your student what types of work they are interested in and why. Be curious about the opportunities they are seeking out. Ask them what they hope to gain from the experience and why it makes sense for them. Take this as an opportunity to see your Carleton student connect the dots between their learning, their interests, and their future aspirations. 
  • Build confidence. Helping your student to connect their previous experiences with prospective opportunities helps them to get into a confident mindset. Where have they made a difference in their community and the lives of others? What are they most proud of? What is a difficult situation they have faced and overcame? 
  • Visualize the end game. Help your student to think through what they want at the end of the interview. What is important to your student? Are they motivated by making a difference, earning a certain amount of money, being in a unique geographic location, being close to loved ones, something else or a combination of these concepts? What kind of a workplace would they thrive in? Where do they see themselves six months from now? Knowing how this prospective opportunity helps them to connect with their values and a higher sense of purpose can be a powerful insight. 

At the end of the day, interviewing is a great opportunity for hiring managers and applicants to learn more about each other. Applicants can explore whether their skills and interests match the needs of the organization. Hiring managers use the conversation to assess the potential of a candidate to carry out and advance their efforts. Helping your student to feel more comfortable in the interview process will help them now and throughout their career journey.