Interviewing Tips

One you have posted your student position on the University Experiential Learning Jobs Database, students who are interested will contact you by email through our online system with their application attached. Please review each application and plan to interview 2-3 students who meet the position’s qualifications and needs. While selecting the right candidate is the primary purpose behind the interview, please keep in the mind that the interview process is an important learning opportunity for the student. It will provide them with experience, confidence, and will be an important tool in obtaining post-graduate employment.


  1. Keep in mind that some students will have no work experience. In these instances, ask questions from which you can glean work-related information based on the student’s extracurricular. See sample interview questions below.
  2. Ask questions that will gauge how well a student will fit with your department or lab such as “Do you prefer working independently or in a team?” and “What did you like most/least about your last job or volunteering position?
  3. Remember that employers are legally prohibited from asking questions related to any protected class (e.g. race/ethnicity/nationality, sex/gender/sexual orientation, marital/family status, disability, or religion). A seemingly innocent question such as “Tell me about your name” can be construed as discriminatory so be sure to keep your questions job-related.

The Interview

  1. Many students are nervous when interviewing, especially if it is their first interview. Devote a few moments at the start to put the student at ease with some small talk. Questions such as “What year are you and what are your aspirations after graduation” is a good ways to break the ice.
  2. Some students will arrive dressed professionally while others will wear more casual clothing. Give students the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their attire. This is a good time to address any dress code your office or lab may have.
  3. Provide some information about your department, essential job functions, time/attendance, training, personal conduct, and any other factors you deem important. Be clear about expectations and confirm the student’s understanding.
  4. Be sure to consider soft skills such as interpersonal skills, communication skills, and thought processes. These types of skills can be as equally important as experience.

Sample Interview Questions

General Questions

  • Do you have a resume that you would like to share?
  • What’s your major?
  • Out of all of the student positions available, why did you choose this one?
  • Do you enjoy answering the phone?
  • Who are you going to be in 10 years?


  • How many hours are you looking to work in this position?
  • Considering your course load and personal obligations, what hours and days are you available?
  • Are you available (or looking) to work during winter or summer break?
  • Will this be your only student job or do/will you have a 2nd student position?


  • Tell me about your work history.
  • Have you had any volunteer or community outreach experience?
  • Were you a part of any clubs or teams in high school?
  • Tell me about your computer skills, lab work, or programs that you’ve used in classes that you successfully completed.

If your position requires work-study:

  • Were you awarded Federal Work Study (FWS) this year?

If the answer is yes – AND – you offer the student the position, be sure to have the student show you their award type, award amount, and start/end dates. You will need this information to complete the ISR New Hire. The student has access to this information in SIS. Also, be sure to confirm with the student if they are (or) are not using their FWS award with any other department, as any hours worked beyond the award will be charged 100% to your department budget.