Interviews Overview

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An interview is a chance to show an employer what can't be seen on paper. You'll demonstrate some of the skills and interests on your resume as well as your personality, enthusiasm, communication and people skills, and confidence. You'll also get the chance to learn more about the company from a direct source.



  • Uses your resume as the source for most questions.
  • Focuses on resume-listed past performance in academics, employment, and activities.
  • Requires that you be able to expand on each item on your resume in depth.
  • Often used as a screening tool to move forward to the next round of interviews.


  • Based on the premise that past behavior predicts future performance.
  • Evaluate skills abilities and interests.
  • Uses situation based questions such as "Tell me about a time" or "Describe how."

Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique for structuring your answers. Briefly explain the Situation and the Task that was at hand. Go into detail about your Actions (not your group’s or your team’s), and describe the end Result.

Example Question: Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills.

Situation Define the situation or “set the stage.” Every year, my student organization sponsors a fundraising event to benefit a local food bank
Task Identify the task/project that you performed. As Philanthropy Committee Chair, I was in charge of organizing the event last semester
Action Describe the actions you took/initiated. Make sure to use “I” language and focus on your specific actions and skills that you used to accomplish the task. I organized and led a committee of 8 members to handle logistics involved in the fundraiser. I managed the 2,000 dollar budget, created the timeline and delegated responsibilities to each committee. I primarily focused on marketing the event. Using social media and old fashioned flyering, I raised awareness of the event to the point that we had over 100 attendees RSVP.
Result Summarize the result. I was very proud of the event. 250 people attended the event and we raised $5,000 for the local food bank.


  • Presents interviewee with a problem, or case, to solve. Your answer is not as important as your analysis of the problem.
  • Usually used during in-person interviews and commonly used by consulting firms.
  • When answering, think out loud so the interviewer can get a sense of how you solve problems.
  • UVA students can download the Vault Guide for Case Interviews (accessible via Handshake).
  • Visit the Business and Technology Community page for more information on each of these


On-Grounds Interviews (OGI)

In On-Grounds Interviewing, an organization comes to the UVA to interview a number of candidates. These are usually screening interviews before an on-site visit.  Depending on the employer and their interview process they may involve behavioral and/ or case/ technical interviews.  If an information session is held the night prior to the interview, the employer expects you to attend.  This will allow you to learn more about the organization so that your answers and questions during your interview will be stronger.  Bring extra copies of your resume and other documents in case needed.  To browse OGI positions, you must complete the OGI orientation.  Learn more about OGI on the On Grounds Interviewing page. 

On-Site/Off-Grounds Interviews

On-Site interviews offer interviewees an opportunity to see the physical location of a company and possibly meet several members of the organization at once.  You may be asked to do a presentation, or prepare in advance in some other way. These interviews can range from an hour to multiple rounds in one day, or even be several days in length.  It's important to remember you are being evaluated throughout the process, including meals and travel, so be sure to treat every instance as though it is part of the interview. 

Panel Interviews

A panel interview typically involves several interviewers posing questions to a single interviewee. During a panel interview, questions may be fast-paced and/or framed while you're answering someone else's question. It's sometimes more difficult to achieve rapport during this type of interview, so remember to maintain eye contact with and involve each person on the panel. Be professional, and remember to smile. Get a list of all those in attendance for thank you notes. (You may ask for business cards at the end of the interview.) Remember that each person on the panel is important.

Group Interviews

Group interviewing is very different from an individual interview because you are interviewing simultaneously with your competition.  It's important to find a balance between sharing your opinion and dominating the conversation.  Be confident, but also be sure to respectfully acknowledge others' opinions. Express your views and work collaboratively within the group. The purpose of the group interview is to assess your ability to collaborate and communicate.

Telephone Interviews

These interviews are used for screening and they are generally brief - under ½ hour in length.  The purpose of the telephone interview is to narrow the pool of candidates before a more intensive in-person interview. An employer may call to arrange a time for a telephone interview or just begin interviewing. If you are not prepared for a spontaneous interview, ask the employer to reschedule or call back in five minutes. Please note that there may sometimes be exceptions to this rule, for example, if you are applying for a position in a remote location, the telephone interview may be used in lieu of an on-site.  To be successful in phone interviews, you should keep your resume and notes nearby. Answer with concise, well-worded responses and speak clearly and slowly as the interviewer is often taking notes. Remember to create a phone interviewing environment with minimal distractions and background noise, and ensure that you have a reliable connection.

Virtual Interviews

Virtual interviews are an increasingly popular way to conduct interviews. These interviews are often used as alternatives to face-to-face interviews or as screening to weed out weaker candidates before on-site interviews.  

Here are some tips to help you in a virtual interview experience:

  • Clarify with the employer who is going to initiate the video call.
  • Test out your technology. Test out webcam and voice quality, so you can fix any issues that may arise. 
  • Create an environment with minimal distractions and background noise.
  • Arrive early if your virtual interview is at Bryant Hall, or set up early if the virtual interview is off-site somewhere. 
  • Have a back-up plan in case technology doesn't work properly (e.g., a phone number where the employer can reach you).
  • Make sure you look professional. Dress as you would for an on-site interview, but be aware that sometimes clothes don't look as good on camera as they do in real life.
  • Treat your virtual interview just as an On-Grounds Interview or on-site interview.
  • While speaking during the interview, be sure to look into the actual web camera so that the interviewer on the other side has the experience and perception of eye contact. This will help you create a better connection with your interviewer.
  • Be sure to get their contact information so you can send a thank-you note!  

View our full Navigating a Virtual Interview page for more great information and tips. 

More to Explore

Schedule an appointment through Handshake, or by calling the UVA Career Center at 434-924-8900 M-F from 8 am-5 pm.

Discover updates, opportunities, and trending career-related topics important to UVA students.

Mock interviews are a great way to gain experience and confidence with interviewing, as they provide the opportunity for a formal “dry-run” of an upcoming interview.

Handshake: Select “General Mock Interview” under the “...