Category Archives: Interviewing

Medical and Dental School Interviewing Workshop

As some of your Class of 2014 classmates can attest, some Medical Schools have started to interview applicants, and will continue to do so through April. The Medical School interview process might seem intimidating, but there are definitely things you can do now to prepare:

1. Do your research ahead of time. The good news is that most of the interview questions will be all about a subject that you’re an expert on: yourself! Make sure you’re able to speak about everything on your application, resume and transcript, and that you know how you want to market yourself in the interview. Make sure you have also researched the school and the specific program.

2. Practice your interviewing skills. Schedule a one-on-one 30 minute counseling appointment with a Wasserman Career Counselor to do a mock-interview. This can be a great way to get feedback on your interview techniques before you’re in front of Admissions staff.

3. Attend the Medical and Dental School Interview Workshop on September 23rd at 5pm at the Wasserman Center. RSVP on NYU CareerNet. In this workshop, students will learn and practice interview strategies that will help you ace the medical and dental school interview. This workshop will be led by Preprofessional Advisors, Career Counselors, and current medical students who very recently navigated the process. They will give you suggestions and tips for how to tailor yourself and speak confidently about your experiences in a way that will leave a lasting impression on admissions committees. You will also have the chance to watch and participate in mock-interviews that will help you hone your skills.

Interview Tip of the Week

What kind of things would prevent you from wanting to join our company? (Stumped me because I’ve always thought of reasons why I want to join, not the opposite)

This could be your chance to tell an employer the type of office climate or culture that’s really important to you (and why) or to use this as an opportunity to ask a question that you’ve prepared. If professional development opportunities, or working in a collaborative environment, or being able to contribute on a team is important to you, explain why, and ask the employer to elaborate about this aspect of the position or company. Just like the “what’s your weakness?” question, it’s important to stay positive. It’s also a good chance to show case what you do know about the company based on your research. For instance:
I noticed that you have a very strong professional development program. Is that something I would be able to participate in as a new employee? A big priority for me is finding an organization that I can grow in professionally.
Do you have an interview question you’re worried about? Check out How to Answer 10 Tough Interview Questions from Also join us for Acing the Interview, or schedule a mock interview through NYU CareerNet

Interview Tip of the Week

How many manholes are there in NY (and other confusing questions)?

When Google asked, “How many cows are in Canada” one year, a lot of people were thrown in for a loop. One applicant to Google answered this question with, “Enough to make sure we plenty of milk and cheese”.

You don’t need to have advanced agriculture knowledge or start pumping out math equations to answer this question.  So if the interviewers are not testing your accuracy then what in the world are they looking for?

How about some creativity? Or, what about your ability to think, critically?

It sounds easy enough, but is it really? Maybe. The key is to think in both a creative and critical way to respond without crossing the line into a lack of professionalism.

You also have to realize that the point of such questions is to see if you can keep your thoughts together even under pressure. So, don’t be afraid to answer in fun way. Just be sure to stay grounded.

Remember, you want to make the interviewer think of you at the end of the day, and these oddball questions offer a great opportunity to do just that.

Employers are testing you to see if you know how to think on your feet and more so your problem solving abilities. If you feel thrown off, take a second to collect your thoughts before answering. Just remember though, if you’re stumped, the last thing you want to say is “I don’t know”. It’s much better to give a clever and creative response rather than to brush it off, stammer, or otherwise show that you are unwilling to think.

So how many manholes are there in New York?

Interview Tip of the Week: Interview Follow-ups

So you’ve just walked out of your interview…Congrats! While’s you’re probably celebrating the successful interview you just had, it doesn’t just end there.


Interview follow-ups people! It’s an underrated, often forgotten, yet major role in your whole interview process.


Place yourself in your interviewer’s shoes for a moment. With the hundreds of interviews you have and the hundreds of interviewees you grill, how do you distinguish them from one another, and more than that, how do you pick the potential candidates?

This is where you step in and give them a reminder of who you are.


Right before you leave, don’t forget to ask your interviewer for his or her business card. On the card, there will be three things that you’ll need:

  1. Their correctly spelled name and title
  2. Their office’s address
  3. Their email address


Send them a thank-you email for the interview THAT VERY EVENING. Why? Well when they get to work the next day, your pleasant email will waiting for them first thing (or almost) in the morning.


Make a follow-up phone call. Give this part anywhere from 5-10 days after your interview. Let them know of your continued interest in the job, and even ask if there’s any more information they need from you.


Send in some “snail mail” too.  In this letter, express your interest in the job and summarize some of your strongest points as they relate to the job.


From that point on, alternate between a brief email or phone about once every week or two until the interviewer says you or someone else go the job.


Don’t let people tell you not to “bother” the interviewer with your persistence. THAT’S NOT TRUE! Interviewers and companies will be impressed with your tenacity and determination as they observe who follows up and about how many times, and besides, you want to leave a lasting impression, and what better way to do so than consistently remind them who you are and why you’re right for the job?

If you still have any questions or concerns, schedule an appointment with a career counselor. They will have all the tips you need to help you secure the job!

To schedule an appointment, just click here!

Interview Tip of the Week

Where do you see yourself in 5 years within the organization?

Employers ask this question because they want to make sure you are goal-oriented and are thinking about the future.  They also want to make sure the job you are interviewing for fits into your “future plan”.  Why?  Because if it doesn’t, you may leave the company quickly to pursue a role that does, and in general, employers prefer to hire candidates that have the intention of sticking around for a while. In a way, this is how the company tries to gauge how serious you are about them. Not many firms will hire someone who is only going to stick with them for a few months before moving on to another company.

A good answer to this question will show that you’ve given much though about your career, and more importantly that you’re eager to continue to learn and grow within their company. If anything, that is something that you should stress on. Even if you do have lofty ambitions and reasons why you may accomplish them, you must have credible reasons why and how you would achieve that kind of goal. In other words, keep your ambitions realistic.

Make sure you keep your future goals relevant to the industry/company you are interviewing with. One way to do that is to really think about what you want to get out of this job, and where you want it to take you.

One way to accomplish this is to find something about the current job opportunity that does match up with your long-term goals and then work that into your discussion. You want to highlight your skills and motivations while note absolutely committing yourself to anything. You should definitely make it clear that you want to invest yourself in the success of the company and continue to learn and improve your performance within the company.

It’s also great to assume in 5 years that you’d like to “own” something versus supporting it.  Whether that is a certain project, process, or anything else, taking on more ownership and responsibility is great 5-year goal.

If you know about the growth path in the organization, use that to your advantage.

Some companies have a clear structure for growth, which you may be able to learn from your company research.  If you can find that information, it’s great to have it up front and to use it in your answer.

Just remember though, that when you’re giving your answer to the interviewer, it’s really important to keep it down to earth and honest.

Attire for Successful Hire

You’ve heard it before: you only get one chance to make a good first impression, dress for success, dress for the job you want not the one you have. Here at the NYU Wasserman Center, we cannot emphasize enough the importance to dress professionally for your interview. Business formal is essential for interviews and company presentations.

Regardless of the work environment, interviews are professional meetings. Professional attire not only supports your appearance, but also demonstrates that you take the interview process seriously and it compliments the person interviewing you. Employers do take notice of your attire and it does factor in to your overall performance. For ideas and inspiration of professional attire, please visit the NYU Wasserman “Dress for Success” Pinterest pages.

For Him:

  • Suit: A suit looks polished and makes you look professional. To avoid looking sloppy, make sure your suit is tailored. The proper fit is key!
  • Tie: A tie pulls your outfit together while allowing you to express some personality.
  • Socks: Wear dark dress socks, no athletic socks. Mid-calf length is best for interviews so when you sit no skin is visible.
  • Shoes: Dress shoes. Shoes should be cleaned and polished so you are ready to shine.

For Her:

  • Suit: Women should wear a pants suit, a skirt, or a business formal dress. Make sure that your outfit isn’t too snug or that your pants aren’t too long. Skirt or dress should be at knee length.
  • Shirt: Blouses or button down shirts should be solid in color. Patterns can be busy and distracting during an interview. If you choose to wear all black, try to add a pop of color to add some personality.
  • Hosiery: Hosiery should always be worn on an interview. Try to stick to black or nude and avoid prints.
  • Shoes: Closed toed shoes are most professional for an interview. Avoid extreme styles or heights. Also, make sure that you are able to walk comfortably in your shoes!

Grooming and Finishing Touches:

  • Hair: Should be clean, combed and neat
  • Hands: Make sure you have clean hands, especially during the flu season!
  • Smell: Use perfume and/or cologne modestly.
  • Portfolio: Always have on you a professional portfolio. Backpacks and briefcases are bulky.

Mirror Check:

Try on your outfit before hand to ensure everything fits properly, looks neat, and, most importantly, looks professional.

Join us at the NYU Wasserman for Attire for Successful Hire
February 5th, 2013 | 5 PM to 7 PM| Sponsored by our Peers in Careers

Don’t let the wrong outfit cost you the job! Join our Peers in Careers and representatives from Macy’s as they offer fashion advice and showcase professional clothing trends. Learn to decode terms like “business casual,” and figure out how to add flair to your professional wardrobe. First 50 attendees will receive a Macy’s gift bag. All attendees will be entered into a FREE raffle. Free food and drinks!

RSVP through your NYU CareerNet account.

Interview Cancellations

Although there are sometimes extenuating circumstances, in the professional world it is never a good idea to cancel an interview, or worse, miss an interview.

The world is a small place, and word spreads quickly if a candidate cancels or misses an interview. It burns bridges with not only the company you were intending to interview with, but  also with other potential employers as well.

At the Wasserman Center, we work hard to build relationships with employers and professionals. It becomes difficult to maintain such relationships when candidates miss interviews. It reflects poorly on the university as a whole and creates a bad report that candidates do not take the interview process seriously.

If you must cancel an interview, you should make sure to give us at least four business days notice. This allows the employer to find another candidate as a replacement or allows them to free their schedule so that they are not wasting their time. In the professional world, time is extremely valuable. Oftentimes employers are flexible and willing to reschedule, the chances of rescheduling your interview are much better if you notify the staff ahead of time.

If you are no longer sure about your interest in company, do not sign up for an interview for the sake of signing up for an interview. While its good practice to take advantage of every opportunity, it also shows focus and diligence to identify a position or company you don’t feel fit for. Only sign up for interviews with companies that you are genuinely interested in working for. The company you may not be so interested in may be another candidates dream job.

If an unexpected situation arises, notify the employer or recruitment staff as soon as possible. Do not wait until after your interview was scheduled to address your absence. Please keep in mind, while some employers are flexible and understanding, other employers feel insulted.

If you ever feel you need help on how to maneuver the recruitment process or whether you feel fit for an interview, we encourage you to schedule an appointment through your NYU CareerNet with a career counselor. They will be able to answer any of your questions and give you advice on the interview process.

Engineering & Technology Jobs: “In Demand” Candidate Skills

Engineering and Technology jobs are in demand. If you don’t believe, me check out a quick summary of NACE’s Job Outlook 2012 survey.  Make yourself even more in demand by highlighting your technical skills and demonstrating your communication skills to potential employers. A great place to get started is at the Fall Engineering and Technology Career Fair on September 13th at NYU-Poly.

The Wasserblog has already shared basic tips about how to make the most of a career fair. If you missed it, check it out here. However, here are a few more STEM-specific tips to prepare for a career fair.

Technical Skills: Do your research and know what technical skills organizations are looking for. Be sure to include these skills user the “skills” section on your resume and know how talk about your skills. Share with potential employers specific examples of times that you demonstrated a desired skill on an academic project or during previous work experience.

Communication Skills: Technical skills alone won’t get you the job. You need to be able to talk about your skills and articulate what makes you unique and why you are a good fit for the position. Prepare your elevator pitch. It is one thing to say that you are a good communicator, but quite another to demonstrate your communication skills on the spot. The more you practice your pitch (with a career counselor, friends, your cat) the more comfortable you will be presenting it on the day of the fair.

How to Tuesday: Nailing Skype Interview by Professor Michelle Tillis Lederman

I have taught at NYU since 2005 and besides for the students themselves, the teaching fellow (TF) can make or break the class experience.  I didn’t realize this until I didn’t have a good one.  My fault really, the TF’s had been so competent, I got lax in my interviewing.  I hired this one without meeting him first.

After that debacle of a semester, I swore I would never do that again. But now that I live in New Jersey and have two kids, an in-person interview often isn’t feasible.   Thus the Skype interview.

There is just something about getting to see someone’s face, their body language, and look into their eyes – even through the computer.  But this type of interviewing is new for both sides of the computer screen.

When I interviewed my most recent TF via Skype she commented that it was weird and she didn’t know what to do with herself.  I gave her some quick advice and have since given it a lot of thought.   My biggest take away is that we should ACT AS IF.  Act as if you are on a face to face interview.  Here’s what I mean:

  1. DRESS FOR SUCCESS:  Not just the top but from top to bottom – including shoes.  How you feel and carry yourself is, even if subconsciously, greatly impacted by what you are wearing.
  2. SIT PROFESSIONALY:  Don’t lie on your bed with your computer on your lap or sit with your feet up.  Sit at a desk.  Sit forward in your chair so your energy is in your body.  Keep your feet planted on the ground to enable gesturing.
  3. MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT:  Look directly into the camera or at the screen of their video when you are talking.  It keeps you connected to the conversation and projects confidence.  A few things that will help…
    1. CHECK YOUR CAMERA ANGLE:  Be aware of what they see and remove anything that does not reflect professionally or looks like it is climbing out of your head.
    2. REMOVE DISTRACTIONS: There are a lot of distractions when you are home.  Eliminate as many as possible.  Close the door, schedule it when the house is empty. The other person can’t hear the ambient noise and doesn’t know why you are looking off and appearing distracted.
    3. PERSONALIZE:  This one is not unique to the Skype interview, but the technology gives you an advantage here.  When I interview my TF, I heard a dog bark and asked her what breed.  She had her furry friend jump into the camera shot and we were able to build rapport over our common love of dogs.  Don’t be afraid to share a little of yourself and give the interviewer a glimpse into your life.  Just make sure it is the information you want to share.

Guest post by Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability.

 Michelle Tillis Lederman is the author of The 11 Laws of Likability and founder of Executive Essentials, a training company that provides communications, leadership, and team-building programs, as well as executive coaching services. Also an Adjunct Professor at NYU, Michelle believes real relationships lead to real results and specializes in teaching people how to communicate to connect. She has appeared on CBS, Gayle King, NPR, and Martha Stewart Living and her work has been featured on New York Times, Working Mother, MSNBC,, USA Today, AOL, Forbes, CNBC, and Connect with Michelle on Facebook or on Twitter.    





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Skill Building Thursday: What’s Your Biggest Weakness? Finding the strength in it!

The interview question that gives people the most anxiety is “Tell me about your strengthens and weaknesses.” It’s more comfortable to talk about your strengths. In fact most people walk into an interview with the purpose of impressing the interviewer with what they can do best. So why do they ask you about your weaknesses?

Because being able to recognize, assess, and improve the areas where your lacking is a key skill. Lets think about how companies grow and improve. At the end of the fiscal year, they assess what they did well and what didn’t work so well. They may look at revenues, talk with clients, or request feedback from employees. Yes, its good to hear how well they performed, but they really want to know how they can improve. So why wouldn’t they expect that from their from an employee?

Knowing your areas of improvement shows that you’re actively thinking about how you can better yourself and grow with the company. Here are some tips to prepare for this question:

  • Think about areas in your life where you didn’t do something so well. It can be current or in the past.
  • Write down the steps you took to improve. Did you seek advice? Take a class? Read a book?
  • Next, write the results. Did you completely improve? Are you still working on it? What’s your progress
  • Finally write down how can you relate this experience to the job you’re applying for? How will utilize this skill at the job? Or how you can utilize those steps in the future to overcome a challenge at the company

Once you’ve written it down, make sure you practice your telling your story so that it sounds natural. Good luck!