Interviews are a common practice that give the hiring organization an opportunity to assess whether the candidate is the right fit and allows the candidate to make an informed choice of whether the opportunity fits their expectations. Interviews can be daunting — but you don’t need to be afraid! Read below to understand the ins and outs of the process and don’t hesitate to meet with a CNS Career Coach for an interview prep appointment or mock interview.

Preparing for an Interview

Getting ready for an interview involves practice, research on roles and companies, as well as being strategic about your experiences and learnings. It’s also important to take note of some professional practices, such as what to wear and how to write personalized thank you emails.

We especially love Big Interview, an online system that combines training AND practice to help improve your interview technique and build your confidence. Big Interview offers a variety of tools including on-demand, virtual mock interviews for all experience levels and hundreds of industries.

Understanding Modes and Types

Regardless of what situation and context your interview is in, you’ll likely come across these typical modes and types of interviews. 

Modes of Interviews

Interviews are usually conducted in the following ways:


These are usually 15-30 minute short interviews conducted by a recruiter in the early stages of your application. Their purpose is to screen candidates and ensure that they meet the minimum requirements set by the hiring managers. It’s common to have one before you’re moved forward in the hiring process, but it’s possible additional phone screens may be requested. 


In-person interviews put you in direct communication with the hiring manager and other stakeholders in the hiring process. They can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours depending on the company or role you’re applying to. The varying length is dependent on how many members from the hiring organization need to meet with you. You may also be asked to complete a series of in-person interviews during the hiring process. Since this is an in-person interview, it’s essential to be mindful of body language and professional etiquette.


Virtual video interviews are often substituted for an in-person interview and have the same intentions as the in-person ones: to help you and the hiring panel understand whether this is the right fit. You may be asked to do a series of video interviews with various members of the hiring organization or with a committee. Video interviews may occur via Zoom, GoogleMeet, Microsoft Teams or a similar app. Make sure you practice using the app with a friend before your interview and check that your camera is properly positioned at eye level and your background is tidy.

Learn more about tips on preparing for the different modes.

Types of Interviews

It’s very important to know what kind of interview you’re being called for and prepare accordingly. Explore the different interview types below to understand what to expect and how to prepare for an effective interview:

After the Interview

Congratulations! You completed your interview. However, the story doesn’t end here. It's a common and appreciated practice to follow up after the interview for many reasons: 

  • Email a thank you note to the interviewer — if you don’t have access to their emails, you can ask the recruiter to forward your thank you note
  • Provide the interviewer with updated contact information if it has changed since you last communicated
  • If you’ve received other offers or have deadlines and need to hear back from the company, contact the recruiter or interviewer to give them an update and explain your timeline. If you’ve accepted an offer, email them to politely remove yourself from their consideration promptly.

Not sure what to say?

Ethical Practices for CNS Students

The College of Natural Sciences Career Services Office strives to provide services and programs to empower students in career exploration, professional development and networking opportunities to connect with employers. It’s important for the professional development of students that they learn to conduct themselves in an ethical manner. Failure to honor agreements with recruiters reflects poorly on the student as well as the university. 

All students are expected to read and understand these guidelines in addition to the consequences of violating these guidelines. 


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