ECO Blog: Preparing for Interviews

Monday, September 20, 2021

ECO Blog: Interviewing

I enjoy interviews! Sounds crazy, right? You may be thinking that I'm referring to being on the giving side of the interview. True! But, I also enjoy being interviewed. Each conversation is an opportunity to speak about my experiences and make the case for why I am a good fit for a job, volunteer opportunity, or leadership opportunity. It's also a great opportunity to learn if the interviewer's organization is a good fit for me. I always learn something. And along the way, I usually meet some interesting people and hear their stories. Did I like interviewing when I was a student at UVA and looking for a job? After the first couple of times - somewhat - I came to understand and appreciate the process. Was I anxious during my first case interview? You bet, but I got through it and so will you. And today, I really enjoy the process. What has led to this general increase in enjoyment? In one word...Practice! 

Most of our majors will enter the labor market as full-time employees at some point in the next 3 years, some as soon as January 2022. Many of you have interviewed for part-time jobs, internships, and even full-time jobs already. Many more will follow suit this fall. For those headed to graduate school, the job interview may be postponed a couple of years, but likely by the quarter-century mark, most of you will have participated in several job interviews. My guess is that each person who has interviewed for more than one job is more confident and comfortable the second time than the first, and even more so after the tenth or twentieth. The biggest takeaway from today's blog posting is to practice for your interviews.

There are many categories of interviews and interview formats and here's a link here for you to review those. Most important for our purposes are the Screening Interview/HireVue formatBehavioral Interview, and the Case Interview. The Screening Interview may be resume-based or behavioral. And all of these interview types likely are virtual these days. The screening interview may be a recorded interview, and this recorded interview often replaces an initial call with a recruiter. Following the interviews or between interviews, candidates may be asked to take assessments for technical abilities and a personality assessment. Some personality assessments are built in-house by employers and others are sourced from third-party firms like Pymetrics.

Below is a list of tips to help you succeed in your interviews, followed by some of my favorite interviewing articles. Will you ever enjoy interviewing the way I do? Maybe, maybe not. But either way, you can be successful in the process through research, preparation, and practice. You've got this econ majors!

  • Research and practice. Find the interview style/format for your market and job function and prepare. You can find the info from recruiters, alumni, people in the jobs currently, employer websites, and websites like 
  • Prepare the answers to the essential interview questions before every interview. 
  • Be on time.
  • Look the part - dress professionally and if this is a virtual meeting - have good lighting and be sure the area in your camera's perimeter is neat and clean. 
  • If possible, research your interviewer before the interview. This will allow you to consider the perspective from which they are approaching the interview. For example, if they manage budgets, they may be looking at the employers' fiscal health. Asking budget-related questions would make sense, whereas questions about the firm's HR policies may not be as applicable.
  • Refer to your interviewers by their names in the interview. Using someone's name is memorable.
  • Craft your story and share it genuinely. Think about what led you to apply for the job and weave your narrative to arrive at that point.
  • You are interviewing the employer also. Assure the employer is a good fit for you by asking questions that allow you to determine if the employer fits your needs (your values, work style, compensation, career mobility, cultural fit etc.).
  • Relax and keep things in perspective.
    • You will receive job offers and you will get hired.
    • The interviewer wants you to do well. They want to hire you!


The Muse Interviews
Are you like, saying something without, like knowing, that it's like hurting your career? (I'm not a fan of the photo, but the topic is relevant for students of any gender.)
How to Master Effective Storytelling in Interviews


Behavioral Interview Question Bank from the ECO 
Interview Prep from the UVA Career Center
Consulting Case Interview Prep Materials in Collab
Sample Financial Analyst Interview Questions
Deloitte Federal Case Interview Practice Tips
ECO Prep Sign up Sheet for Case Interviews - Fall 2021