student in an interview smiling


Have an upcoming interview? Congratulations! Now, how best to prepare?

Employers evaluate candidates in three areas: Competencies, Interest, and Fit. Employers want to know: Can you do the job? Do you want to do the job? Will you be a good match for the organization? An interview is a time for you to highlight your strengths and skills that will help you add value in a particular role. It's a chance to show your enthusiasm and motivation for wanting to work with the organization. And, it's an opportunity for you and the employer to determine if your values, goals, expectations, and work style will be a good fit.

Policy on Student Travel/Campus Visitors

Student travel for interviews– All interviews including second rounds should be virtual for the fall semester, so that no student travels for interviews before leaving campus for the semester. Students should not be placed in the position of potentially violating travel policies that may change day-to-day.


Students hosting on-campus in-person employer event – No student or student organization should host an on-campus in-person employer information session in combination with or in lieu of a corporate hosted virtual information session.  Given the student Behavioral Compact, we want to make it easy for students to do the right thing; scheduling and/or hosting an on-campus in-person event is excessive responsibility for students.

Interview Preparation 

Use the Applications & Interviews Workbookto outline your competencies and fit for a specific position and draw connections between your values, interests, strengths, skills and goals, and the employer's values, mission, business needs, culture, and goals. You can also work through the sample behavioral interview questions to practice using the S.T.A.R. technique. 

Preparing for a coding interview? Check out the resources and workshops Women in Computing at Cornell (WICC) offers to help you get ready. 

Interview Practice

Schedule a Practice Interview (for undergraduates)

Sign up for a practice interview with a trained, undergraduate Peer Advisor through our online calendar. This service is for Bachelor of Science students in the College of Engineering only. Please fill out the Practice Interview Preparation Form and bring it to your appointment, along with a copy of your resume and a job description.

Schedule a Practice Coding Interview (for Undergraduates)

The Engineering Career Center has a trained Coding Peer Advisor who can help students prepare and practice for coding interviews. To schedule an appointment for a practice coding interview, sign up on our Coding Peer Advisor calendar (this service is available during the academic year only).  Please fill out the Practice Interview Preparation Form and bring it to your appointment, along with a copy of your resume and a job description.

10 Good Minutes for Engineers Podcast

Listen to 10-minute interviews with employers at leading organizations (e.g. Sensata Technologies; Nokia; EY; Accenture; mongoDB) as they share skills and qualities they seek in potential candidates, "red flags" in interviews, and strategies for answering tough questions

Optimal Interview

Record answers to typical interview questions, and watch the videos back to understand how an employer may view not only your responses, but your body language and communication style.  

Instructions for using Optimal Interview (part of Optimal Résumé)
1. Create an account with Optimal Résumé and log in
2. Select "Create New Interview"
3. Name the Interview (this is for your record only, so name it whatever you'd like)
4. Select Interview Type (e.g. Basic, Technical, Behavioral, Consulting, etc.)
5. Select Format (video recommended)
6. Scroll down and select "Continue Interview"
7. Click on the first video to watch the interviewer ask the question
8. Click on "record answer" to record your response
9. Click on the third video to hear an explanation of the interview question

Interview Etiquette 

After your interview, you will want to write a thank you note to each of your interviewers, so don't forget to ask for their contact information! A few tips on writing effective thank you notes:

  • Compose and send your thank you note as soon as possible since the conversations will still be fresh in your memory.
  • Be formal and professional in your language (e.g. "Dear Ms. Jones," not "Hey Sarah"). 
  • Keep the message short.
  • Reiterate your interest in the position/organization.
  • Make reference to at least one thing you discussed in the interview that strengthened your interest in the position or organization.
  • If there was something you mentioned in the interview that didn't come across well, feel free to mention/clarify in your note.
  • If you have any additional questions, include them in your thank you note.  

Next Steps

  • Before the interview, be sure you have all details covered. See Step 7 in the Applications and Interview Workbook
  • Following the interview, be sure to send a thank you note to everyone you meet. Review Step 9 (Review what you've learned) in the Applications and Interview Workbook
  • Before you receive an offer be sure to visit our Job Offer and Negotiations resources page.


Interview structure, format, and questions vary greatly depending on the position and industry.

Learn more about the different types of interviews, tips on how best to prepare, and professional dress in the following sections.

Next Step: Check out Job Offer?