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Inspiring the Next Generation of Innovators

Interview Tips

So, you’ve been invited to interview and you want to make a great impression?  You’ve come to the right place! The following are tips and actual questions that former applicants have been asked in interviews.

I’ve been invited to interview. How do I respond?
Preparing for interviews
Make a positive first impression
During and after the interview
Sample Interview Questions



I’ve been invited to interview. How do I respond?

  1. Read the email carefully and reply thoughtfully and promptly, being sure to answer ALL questions.
  2. Offer a range of options for interview times during business days/hours outside of your teaching commitment.
  3. Provide times for both a phone and in-person interview and be sure to include your phone number.
  4. If you are not interested in a position, please reply promptly (and considerately –Please see “Host Interaction” for guidelines on your response) so we can move forward with considering other applicants.

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Preparing for the interview

Do your research

  • Re-read the project description thoroughly.
  • Research the company and department and the work they do. Pay close attention to the mission, company function/products, and ties to the community/education.

Be prepared to sell your strengths:

  • Anticipate their questions.
  • Be ready to provide specific evidence for why you're a great candidate for the position.
  • Be prepared for “behavioral interview” questions that typically begin with phrases such as “Tell me about a time when…”, Give me an example when…”, and hypothetical scenarios.

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Make a positive first impression

For an in-person interview:

  • Dress professionally and be on time!
  • Map out the location.
  • Allow time to navigate and find parking.
  • Smile and offer firm handshakes at the beginning and end of the interview.

For a phone interview:

  • Call or answer a call at the agreed upon time.
  • Ensure you have good reception.
  • Take the call in a quiet location.
  • Be sure to smile, even when on the phone. It does make a difference!

Be prepared to sell your strengths:

  • Read the project description thoroughly.
  • Research the company and department and the work they do.
  • Anticipate their questions.
  • Provide specific evidence for why you're a great candidate.

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During and after the interview

  • Provide specific evidence for why you're a great candidate!
  • When speaking about your experience, use specific examples and emphasize your contributions and accomplishments.
  • Be sure to stay on topic when responding.
  • Ask questions that show curiosity and enthusiasm.
  • Re-iterate that you are interested in the position!
  • Consider sending a follow-up/thank you email soon after the interview. This could set you apart from others that the Mentor may be considering.  Please email the note to Ignited and we will forward it to the Mentor on your behalf.

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Sample Interview Questions

The following are actual questions former applicants have been asked during an interview.

The Position

  • Why are you interested in working here (in this particular department/lab)?
  • What strengths and ideas could you bring to a project such as this?
  • What do you hope to gain from this particular Ignited experience?
  • What do you hope to take back to your students from your experience?             

Job Skills

  • Tell me about yourself -- your background and experiences.
  • Describe your experience and comfort level with technology. What platforms/software are you most comfortable with? How much experience do you have using computers? How do you tackle the use of a new piece of software?
  • What specific software or lab skills have you used before?

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