General Stages of an Interview

Any job interview can be broken down into four general stages: introductions, broad questions and answers, position-related questions, and the conclusion. Take a look at some of our sample interview questions and questions you can ask an interviewer. Think about when they may come up during the stages described below.


The common exchange of names, small talk, casual questions as you are escorted to the place of the interview is your first chance to impress. Topics may include weather, traffic, hobbies, etc., designed to make you more at ease/relaxed.

Broad Questions and Answers

The interviewer will begin to ask you questions about yourself, your education, your past work experience, other items on your resume, your interests and goals. You may also be asked questions about the organization and the job position.

Questions may include:

  • “Tell me about yourself”
  • “Why did you choose your major?”
  • “What are some of your extracurricular interests?”

Position-Related Questions

The interviewer concentrates more on the details of the job and the company and how you might fit in. You will be able to discuss how your experiences and qualifications fit the requirements of the job.

These questions require the most preparation in advance and include:

  • “What types of contributions do you see yourself making tot his company?”
  • “How has your experience and education prepared you for this position?”

You should ask pointed questions about the job and company based on your previous research. In addition to skills and qualifications, the interviewer will be looking for signs of your work ethic and your values.


The interviewer will summarize what has been said and clarify any questions you may have. This is when you need to reiterate your interest in this company and position and stress again how you are uniquely qualified for the job. The interviewer should explain the next steps in the recruiting process and how and when the next contact with you will be made. If the interviewer doesn't do this, ask them for the information before you leave.

  • Ask for a business card so you can send a thank you note with correct spellings and address.
  • Don't discuss salary or benefits unless the interviewer initiates it. These will be discussed when you are definitely being considered for the job or when an offer is made.