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Cornell Engineers Interview Tips

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Interviewing Tips from Cornell Students

  • The first five minutes of the interview are the most important.
  • If you know the names of your interviewers ahead of time, Google them to learn what they do and have done.
  • It's not always what you say that matters, it's how you say it. Most of the interviewer is about how you present yourself.
  • It's OK to take a minute and think about the question; you don't have to jump to answer each question. Think out loud. Don't get frustrated.
  • Don't embellish or exaggerate your accomplishments/experiences so that the recruiter will think more highly of you.
  • Read books/articles on interviewing (see collection in 201 Carpenter Hall, CCS in Barnes Hall, or online).
  • If there is something that you want to tell the interviewer, make sure you get the chance to do so.
  • Know what makes you qualified: interest, transferable skills, and ability to learn all count. Relevant experience is not always necessary. Schoolwork or project team can show ability.
  • Don't go into too much technical detail unless asked, but be prepared to answer technical questions.
  • Don't be cute or downplay your abilities.
  • Don't be afraid to say you don't know. Give them your thought process and explain why you don't know the answer.
  • Be brave. Don't be nervous. Speak up if you think the interviewer has made a mistake.
  • Be able to go through every aspect of your resume flawlessly and be able to describe your work experiences well.
  • Research the employer extremely well! Know something specific about the organization that makes it interesting to you and why you want to work there (ask alumni if necessary).
  • Make your stories interesting and let them demonstrate why you'd be a good hire. Be unique. Make them remember you!
  • Be yourself! Show that you are relaxed and confident. No fidgeting.
  • Prepare thoughtful questions for your interviewer(s).  They will ask if you have any questions at the end of the interview.
  • Prepare examples of leadership and teamwork experiences to share.
  • Match tempo with the interviewer. If they are speaking slowly, then try to speak at the same rate.
  • What to do AFTER the interview: Send a thank you note to the interviewer and reiterate your interest in and fit for the position.
  • Watch the 10 Good Minutes for Engineers podcasts for interview tips from employers.