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The Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science

Preparing your next steps

You have applied for a position and have been offered an interview for this position! 

What should you expect?  Are there steps after the interview?  How can you be prepared as possible?


You may find interviewing exciting or scary, but they are still a part of most employment searches. One of the best ways to calm the nerves or focus your energy is to prepare and plan how you will best market yourself. 
Being true to yourself is important for you as well as the organization, but always be professional.
For additional information, please visit the Alumni Association's Career-Toolkit.  There are some tools that may help you in the process:

There are opportunities to do mock interviews with the Fleishman Center. After, if you would like a specialized mock interview please contact our office.


To demonstrate how your skills and qualifications make you an ideal candidate for the position.


  1. Express your strong work ethic and desire to learn
  2. Show that you fit in with the company’s culture, that you have a passion for their mission
  3. Prove that you can work independently and in a team environment

Be Prepared

  1. Research the company inside and out; review their history, as well as current events, and company culture
  2. Have thoughtful questions for the interviewer; that shows you are genuinely interested in the company and the position
  3. Review your résumé and application; make sure you can talk about everything in it and that you’ve included relevant experiences you want to emphasize.
  4. Practice answering expected questions with a related story that ends in a positive result.
  5. Be prepared to answer thoroughly and provide examples, but do not give long, run-on answers.

Before the Interview

  1. Practice your answers multiple times! Know your résumé and never exaggerate; any statement on the résumé is open to questions
  2. Take 3-5 copies of your most updated résumé to the interview
  3. Take a research presentation poster or interesting engineering project on a single piece of paper that you can discuss with the interviewer
  4. Dress to impress! Just don’t overdo it. Business professional attire is typical; make sure you are neatly groomed, your clothes clean and pressed
  5. Arrive 10 minutes early; plan ahead so you know where you’re going
  6. Think of good questions to ask your interviewer to demonstrate that you’re genuinely interested in the company and industry and that you’ve done your research.

During the Interview

  1. Be yourself; your answers should come naturally
  2. Relax; you have little to worry about if you’ve prepared
  3. Slow down; control the pitch of your voice and speak with confidence
  4. Pause, take a deep breath before your answer in order to relax your vocal chords
  5. Body language is important: you want to look professional, not uncomfortable; nod while you listen and make eye contact to show that you are listening and understanding; remember to smile
  6. Turn your weaknesses into strengths: explain how you’ve learned to overcome a particular weakness; don’t blame team members for a failure in a group project; focus on the positive, what you learned from an the experience
  7. Ask questions that focus on the work, not the pay
  8. Get the interviewer’s business card and contact information to send a thank you e-mail

Types of Interviews

  1. Behavioral: To see your ability to work in a team and to see your degree of work ethic; this type of interview acts as an initial screening of potential candidates.
  2. Technical: To verify your background and skills and how they correlate to the position
  3. One-on-One: This would be the most common interview, most likely with a single project leader or engineer of the desired position
  4. Panel: This consists of a group of 2-4 employees, most likely part of the team of the desired position; it allows the whole team to get to know you as opposed to just one person
  5. Phone: This is also a very common type of interview; it can be in the form of a one-on-one or a panel interview and takes the place of an in-person interview when the location or time prohibits a traditional interview
  6. Virtual: This has become more common and is beginning to replace phone interviews; it’s like a one-on-one interview, but it’s done via video chat
  7. Informational: A less formal type of interview; it could be meeting with an employee at a coffee shop to learn more about what he or she does; although not strictly an interview, it should be treated as if it were (the intent is to gain knowledge from someone more experienced in your interests, while also leaving lasting impressions for future opportunities)

After the Interview

  1. Send a brief thank you e-mail within 24 hours of your interview
  2. relate back to a topic you discussed with the interviewer
  3. offer to provide any other information they may need

Common Mistakes

  1. Don’t memorize your answers
  2. Never make up an answer; the interviewer will sense the answer isn’t true, and it’s unethical
  3. Don’t talk too much or simply recite a laundry list of your experiences

Sample Interview Questions

General Questions 

  1. Tell me a little about yourself / describe yourself in a few sentences. 
  2. What hobbies / interests do you have? 
  3. What are your greatest strengths / weaknesses? 
  4. What has been your favorite job/internship and why? 
  5. What is the most memorable accomplishment in either school or a job you have held? 
  6. Why are you interested in us (research completed)? 
  7. Tell me about a memorable experience in which you worked within a team (good/bad moments). 
  8. Why did you choose to come to Binghamton?

Behavioral Questions  

  1. Do you anticipate problems or do you react to them? 
  2. How do you go about solving a problem / issue? 
  3. Do you prefer to work with yourself or others? 
  4. Someone who doesn’t know you well or doesn’t like you. What are a few adjectives that person may use to describe you? 
  5. What types of people do you have trouble getting along with? 
  6. How would you describe your organizational skills? 
  7. How do you handle change? Conflict? 
  8. How do you go about making important decisions? 
  9. How do you work under pressure? 
  10. How do you react to risks? 
  11. Based upon what you know about this job, how does your ideal job stack up against this job? 
  12. Who are your mentors that inspired you to get in this line of work? 
  13. You have very little experience in the field. Why should we hire you? 
  14. Why shouldn’t we hire you? 
  15. What are some important values that you live by?

Creative Questions 

  1. What does success mean to you? 
  2. Discuss a creative solution you developed for a problem you encountered. 
  3. How many ping pong balls does it take to fill up the room? 
  4. How do you handle rejection? 
  5. What cartoon character would you be and why? 
  6. What kind of leader would you consider yourself to be? 
  7. What is your definition of ethics?

Do you have any questions for me?

  1. What does a typical day in your job consists of? 
  2. What kind of training programs does the company offer? 
  3. What are the growth opportunities like in the company? 
  4. What is the work environment like? 
  5. What challenges do you experience on a daily basis and which ones energize you? 
  6. If there is anything you could change about the company, what would it be and how would you go about changing it? 
  7. What is your favorite thing about working for this company? 
  8. Why did you choose to work for this company? 
  9. What is the one thing you would want everyone to know about this company that they might not otherwise find out?

Following Up and Job Acceptance

Many job seekers send resumes out, and then wait for an interview without following up. Furthermore, many interviewed candidates fail to follow up with a thank you correspondence. Often times, candidates will lose out on an interview or job offer because of failure to follow up.

  1. A few days to a week after applying follow up with the hiring manager or recruiter to reiterate your interest. 
  2. Make the subject line of your email stand out.
  3. In the body of the email say I am following up to make sure you have received all necessary application materials. I also want to express my interest in the position and how I think it will be a great match for myself and company xyz.
  4. Search LinkedIn see if anyone in your network is connected to someone who works at the company you're applying to.
  5. Alumni are always looking to help current students any way they can so don't be afraid to reach out and connect.
  6. Continue to do your research
  7. No matter how much you think you want the job, or how qualified you believe you are, never stop job-searching and applying.

Job Acceptance

Congratulations, they offered you the job/internship!

Final steps

  1. Get the offer in writing
  2. Review the total 'value' of the offer
  3. Decide if the offer meets your needs and you'd be happy working there; is it in line with your desired job descriptions
  4. Understand the benefit plans
  5. Relocation assistance
  6. Response time
  7. Advise any other pending employers that you need to make a decision soon (specify date)


  1. Show professionalism, they want to know that you are professional and that they picked the right candidate.
  2. Whether it is over the phone or email, show your gratitude for the job offer. Be sure to thank the employer for the opportunity and that you look forward to starting
  3. Confirmation statement - When accepting the offer in writing, be sure to include the following:
    1. Compensation
    2. Start Date
    3. Official Job Title
    4. A clear confirmation statement such as "I wish to accept the job offer"

After Accepting

  1. If you accept a job offer, you are committing yourself and must honor that commitment. Do not change your mind.  If you decide to change your mind:
    1.  It will reflect very badly on yourself and on the institution you are representing (Binghamton) which will reduce the likelihood of candidates from your institution  getting job offers in the future
    2. It also leaves a position vacant at the company which you declined without giving them enough time to find a replacement
  2. Once you have accepted an offer, don't continue looking for other job offers. Notify other pending offers/applications.
  3. Expect a pre-employment medical exam, including drug screening.

Preparing for your Position

Whether you are beginning an internship or a full-time position, it is important to be well prepared for the job and ensure your success in your new professional role.

Before You Start

  1. Review your information about the employer and the job.
  2. Contact your boss; see if you should study something before you report to work.
  3. Arrange housing and transportation.
  4. Be sure to make a test drive of your commute before your first day of work so that you are certain not to get lost or stuck in traffic
  5. What will you wear? Specific attire?
  6. Make a contact with someone in the company to ask question about the work culture in your new job
  7. Meet your contact outside of work prior to your start date
  8. Research the company and learn about their goals, philosophies, and priorities.

Your First Day

  1. The night before, prepare your lunch for your first day, set out what you plan to wear, and get to sleep early!
  2. Wake up 15 minutes earlier than you would on your first day
  3. Arrive on time
  4. Be appropriately dressed
  5. Learn and use people's names
  6. Once you arrive, remember to be polite, ask questions, make eye contact with colleagues, and keep a positive attitude!
  7. First impressions (good or bad) are huge and lasting
  8. Impress your employer with an energetic start

Human Resources Orientation

  1. Employee Handbook – overview and rules
  2. Employee Agreement – confidential info
  3. W-4 Form- for Federal tax withholding
  4. Employee benefits

Last Updated: 1/4/18