Interview Skills

Your résumé and cover letter might get you an invitation, but a good interview can advance you to selection. The resources below can help you prepare for an interview.

Getting Started

Whether you are interviewing for an internship, a student job on campus, an entry-level position, or graduate school, it's important to know about the interview standards and norms. Below are resources to help you know what to expect.
 

What should I wear?

Depending upon your industry, you may dress in business casual or business professional clothing. Business casual is between casual and formal. This style includes business dress pants or khakis, knee-length skirts, button-down shirts or blouses, closed-toed shoes like loafers or low heels, and simple accessories. Business professional is in more conservative settings or industries like finance, government, or law. This style includes well-tailored and tidy dresses, dark-colored suits and ties, neat button-down shirts or blouses, and closed-toed business shoes like Oxfords or low heels. If you’re unsure about the interview setting, you can ask the person who invited you.

Learn more about the types of business attire and how to define business casual by industry (e.g., agencies, education, entertainment, finance, medical, tech).

If you are experiencing financial hardship that prevents you from purchasing professional clothing, please visit our Career Clothing Closet

General interview questions assess your knowledge, qualities, and aspirations. These include interview prompts like "Tell me about yourself" and "Why should we hire you?" Below are examples of general interview questions and how to answer them using the M.S.R. method.
 

Behavioral interview questions ask about your past experiences and require examples that demonstrate your character and abilities. These include interview prompts like "Tell me about a time when...?" Below are examples of behavioral interview questions and how to answer them using the S.T.A.R. method.
 

Situational interview questions assess how you would handle a particular situation on the job. These include interview prompts like "What would you do if...?" Below are examples of situational interview questions and how to answer them using the A.R.C. method.
 

The interviewer may have finished asking their questions, but it does not mean the interview assessment is finished. Below are examples of how to answer the last question, "Do you have any questions for us?" and how to follow up after the interview.
 

Job Interview Practice

We provide an online job interview practice system called Big Interview. This AI-feedback interview practice tool mimics a real-life interview, evaluates your answers, and provides feedback for improvement. You can submit your practice interview video for AI review and for review from our peer career advisors. You can also participate in the online training courses provided to increase your confidence.

Log In: Job Interview Practice

Additional Support

Career advisors, students and campus mascot Eddie smile while at a booth outside the Career Center

Career advisors are available by individual appointment. We can help you develop your interview answers and provide strategies to show your best professional self in the interview. We also provide interview practice sessions where you come dressed in professional clothing and practice in a formal setting. Schedule an appointment with a career advisor.

We offer workshops throughout the year to help you build your skills in interviewing for professional internships and jobs. Sign up for workshops on the Career Center calendar.

Employers host events where you can learn more about how to prepare for their interviews. Sign up for employer events using Cal State LA Handshake.

We provide new and gently used interview and career-appropriate clothing, uniforms, and seasonal necessities in partnership with basic needs support programs and external corporate partners. Learn about the Career Clothing Closet.