Interviewing (Phone, Virtual, and In-Person), including the STAR Method

It’s a common myth that being a “people person” means you’ll automatically ace an interview. Interviews are a different style of conversation requiring careful thought and a thorough understanding of how your goals align with the opportunity at hand. Practicing is foundational to succeeding in interviews. To get you started, our Interview Guide shares ten tips for acing your next interview.

At the Career Center, you can schedule a “Practice Interview” appointment to test your interview skills in action. In this hour-long session, a career counselor will conduct a mock interview with you and give you live feedback to help perfect your interviewing skills. You will learn to use the STAR Method to help you prepare for questions like “Tell me about a time when…”. STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result. The Career Center’s STAR Response Worksheet will help you structure your answers to those questions. 

The Villanova University Career Center is pleased to offer a training system that features a new and innovative way to help students prepare more effectively for job interviews. Big Interview is an online system that combines training and practice to help improve interview techniques and build confidence.

Employers will often conduct interviews over the phone in the first round of the interview process, or if they are located at a distance from you and cannot arrange an in-person visit. The length of phone interviews can vary, so it is recommended that you ask the employer how long you should expect the conversation to last before scheduling your interview.

Phone interviews are similar to in-person interviews in that the types of questions asked and strategies for answering those questions are often the same. The fact that you will be speaking on the phone with the employer should not change your professional tone, enthusiasm for the position, or ideas about what to say in your answers.

Tips & Tricks for Phone Interviews:

  • When possible, use a landline phone. If this is not an option, find a place where you know you have excellent reception for a cell phone or internet call
  • Make sure the area where you will be for the interview is background noise free.  Background noises will distract you and the interviewer.
  • You can have some notes and thoughts in front of you for the call, but be mindful that if you shuffle them too much, the employer will be able to hear them.
  • Smile. Although the employer will not be able to see you, interviewees can tell when there is a smile in your tone. Be positive!
  • Sometimes it can help if you dress professionally for the phone interview even though you will not be seen. It may help put you in the mindset of a professional conversation.

Most organizations that recruit college students will include an on-site interview as a major part of the hiring process. The on-site visit is generally a full day of interviewing and related activities, at the organization’s site. After the visit is completed and an evaluation conducted, an offer may be made.

The on-site interview serves two primary purposes:

  1. Allows the organization to get a more in-depth assessment of the candidate prior to making a job offer.
  2. Allows the candidate an opportunity to see the organization and some of its people firsthand in order to make a wiser decision if an offer is made.