Preparing for Your Job Interview at UMass Amherst

Getting invited for a job interview at UMass Amherst is exciting! It means you have passed the initial screening and the employer is interested in learning more about you However, interviews can also make candidates nervous, especially if you’re not sure what to expect.

In this article, I’ll provide an overview of common interview practices at UMass Amherst to help you prepare and boost your confidence. I’ll cover the types of interview questions asked how to handle inappropriate questions as well as interview etiquette expectations.

Most Common Interview Questions at UMass Amherst

You will probably be asked both general and behavioral interview questions at UMass Amherst.

Some examples of common questions include:

  • Tell me about yourself. Make a short elevator pitch that talks about your experience, skills, and why you want the job. Focus on details most relevant to the job.

  • Why are you interested in this position? Show your enthusiasm for the role and how you are a great fit Mention specific things that appeal to you about the job duties and company

  • Why do you want to work for our company? Demonstrate you’ve researched the employer. Explain why you’re excited by their mission, values, and work culture.

  • What are your strengths? Pick 2-3 top strengths relevant to the job and provide examples of using them. Quoting your performance reviews can add credibility.

  • Tell me about your biggest weakness and a thing you’re working on getting better at, but frame it as a strength. Explain the actions you’re taking to address it.

  • Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership. Use a specific example from work, school, or activities. Explain the situation, your actions, and the positive results.

Preparing stories ahead of time for common behavioral interview questions will prevent you from being caught off guard.

Handling Inappropriate Interview Questions at UMass Amherst

While illegal interview questions are uncommon, you may get asked for personal information not relevant to the job.Insensitive questions about your family status, health, religion, etc. are inappropriate.

If asked an inappropriate question, stay calm and professional. You have a few options:

  • Politely ask for clarification on why the interviewer needs this information.

  • Decline to answer the question, refocusing the discussion on your qualifications.

  • Answer only as it relates to your ability to perform the job duties.

The key is maintaining poise and tactfully steering the conversation back on track. Consider whether an employer asking inappropriate questions is someone you want to work for.

Interview Etiquette Expectations at UMass Amherst

Beyond your answers, interview etiquette impacts the impression you make at UMass Amherst. Follow these tips:

  • Dress professionally. Follow the company dress code and err on the formal side. Well-groomed and modest is best.

  • Arrive early. Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early to get settled and avoid feeling rushed.

  • Be polite to everyone. Treat receptionists, assistants, and staff with respect to show your character.

  • Make eye contact and smile. Nodding, leaning forward, and engaging demonstrates confidence and interest.

  • Listen closely. Avoid interrupting and let the interviewer finish speaking before you respond.

  • Ask insightful questions. Prepare queries showing your understanding of the company and role.

  • Send thank you notes. Email each interviewer within 24 hours restating your interest in the position.

By following these etiquette guidelines, you’ll make great impressions during your UMass Amherst interviews!

Examples of Case Interview Questions

If you are interviewing for consulting or investment banking roles at UMass Amherst, you may encounter case style questions. These assess analytical thinking and problem solving under pressure.

Examples include:

  • How would you determine the number of gas stations in Massachusetts?

  • If you managed a small café, how would you go about pricing the items on your menu?

  • Estimate how many bottles of wine were sold in the U.S. last year.

To prepare, research case interview best practices. Practice working through sample cases aloud to polish your approach. Clarity of communication is key as you work through the problem.

Smart Questions to Ask the Interviewer

When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, be ready with thoughtful queries to show your engagement.

Some options:

  • What are the biggest challenges facing this team/company right now and how can this role help address them?

  • What performance goals would you have for someone in this position in the first 90 days?

  • What types of professional development opportunities are available to help employees advance their careers?

  • What do you enjoy most about working for UMass Amherst?

  • What is the timeline for next steps in the interview process?

Asking intelligent, researched questions demonstrates your interest in the employer and commitment to the opportunity.

How to Handle Salary Questions

While interviewers at UMass Amherst cannot require you disclose your salary history, pay may still come up. When asked about compensation requirements, avoid giving a direct number. Instead, respond with a range based on your research of typical pay for this role in this location.

For example: “Based on my experience and skills, I would expect a salary in the range of $XX,000 to $XX,000 for this type of position. I’m open to discussing the details of compensation if an offer is made.”

This keeps the conversation broad while signaling you have done homework on pay norms. Be prepared to justify your range by quantifying the value you’d bring.

Strong interview preparation and understanding UMass Amherst’s practices will help you present your best self and land the job. Use the tips in this guide to project confidence and professionalism throughout the process. With practice and diligence, you’ll be ready to excel in your upcoming interviews. Best of luck!

Screening & Interviewing Image

Completed by Hiring Manager

  • Before they look at the applications, hiring managers will ask the Office of Human Resources for a demographic report of all the applicants. If you don’t have as many different kinds of candidates as you’d like but don’t want to lose good ones, please tell the candidates you’re interested in your timeline and ask them how it fits with theirs. You might be able to move forward with some candidates while you keep reaching out to more people to make the pool more diverse. If there aren’t as many different kinds of candidates as expected because of the demographics of the field and/or area, the search may be put on hold while more steps are taken. OHR can also provide options for increased outreach if needed. If you’ve used up all of your options and the list of candidates still doesn’t have enough diversity, OHR will help you figure out what to do next.

*All applicants are asked to give demographic information in Workday, such as their gender, race, ethnicity, status as a veteran, and status as a disabled person. This information is given voluntarily. The information is shared with a limited group in order to ensure confidentiality. There is a chance that OHR will look at the demographic information but not share it with you if your pool is less than four people.

  • Meet with the Search Team to talk about the role’s must-haves, such as the skills and abilities needed, and what it means for a candidate to be a good “fit” for the role. This will guide the search. Naming the term “fit” this way keeps the focus on the skills that are really needed for the position.
  • Make a screening rubric (here are some examples of numerical and non-numerical screening rubrics) that spells out exactly what is needed for a good candidate. This way, everyone on the Search Team will know what to look for. The criteria should be based on the duties and skills listed in the job description. The criteria should be explained in the context of the job, not just listed, so that everyone on the Search Team knows what to look for in candidate materials. The criteria should include DEI skills that are relevant to this role. Put into context information that might not show success potential, like extra degrees or the prestige of the school attended. As important selection criteria, think about the candidate’s ability to bring intellectual and experiential diversity to the department and work well with students and coworkers from different backgrounds.
  • Use the Bundle Resumes task in Workday to get all the candidate materials.
  • To reduce bias, you might want to remove personally identifying information from candidate materials. (example of redacted CV, example of redacted cover letter)NameAddressNames of schools attendedYears attendedYou might want to have someone who isn’t directly involved in the search screen for minimum requirements so that only candidates who meet the minimum requirements have their information redacted.

Completed by Hiring Manager

  • To handle job openings, use the Quick Reference Guide (QRG).
  • Review all candidate materials in Workday
  • As each candidate is chosen, hiring managers should give them a disposition code or status. For example, if a candidate meets the requirements, the Move Forward button should be used to “disposition” them. The Hiring Manager will then decide what to do next in the hiring process. Please keep in mind that candidates don’t get any automatic messages. They won’t be told or contacted in any other way about this status change. Decline: Select this option if the candidate isn’t qualified or if they decide not to be considered. Move Forward: Select this option if the Hiring Manager wants to move candidates on to the next stage of the screening process, which is the interview. The stages are Review, Phone Screen, Interview, and Offer. To make sure the process works right, each candidate has to go through each step.
  • You can download the materials to print, share them with other campus partners, and so on. , use the Bundle Resumes task in Workday.
  • You can lessen your implicit bias by giving yourself enough time to read all of the application materials, being aware of and aware of your own biases, and practicing constructive uncertainty (challenging yourself when you find yourself making snap decisions or jumping to conclusions too soon). Some people find it helpful to learn more about biases at https://implicit harvard. edu/implicit/takeatest. html .
  • Screen candidates using your Screening Rubric (sample screening rubric)
  • Choose qualified internal candidates to interview and move them forward in the process by changing their “Step/Disposition” status to “Phone Screen.” (Dispositions and Moving Candidates Forward in Workday QRG)We usually give all internal candidates who meet the minimum requirements for the job a first job interview over the phone. The hiring manager should find out from the internal candidate if they don’t meet the minimum requirements and let them know. OHR is available as a resource if necessary. Internal candidates who don’t meet the minimum requirements for the job don’t have to be interviewed. It is up to the Department Head/Supervisor or Search Team, with help from OHR, to choose from the qualified applicants who they want to move on to the next round of interviews.
  • The Hire Manager should let OHR know about your progress. We’ll send you an up-to-date comparative demographic analysis of your pool. If there is a difference between how diverse your initial pool of candidates was and how diverse your first-round interview list is, you may be asked to show how certain candidates did on your rubric and/or to find more candidates.
  • Once your first list of candidates for interviews has been approved, you can use the following template to get in touch with them: “Dear ____,”

Thank you for your interest in the position of ______ at Amherst College. We were very interested in reading your application materials and would like to invite you to a first-round phone (or Zoom) interview with our search committee.

Insert language here regarding available dates and times

To make sure you can go to this interview, please call our Office of Human Resources at 413-542-2372 and ask for help.

We look forward to speaking with you soon,

Completed by Hiring Manager and Search Team

  • The first round of interviews and screenings should happen over the phone or Zoom. Zoom has more accessibility features, such as closed captioning and the ability to add interview questions to the chat. Zoom also makes it easier for bias to happen, like making judgments based on how someone looks. Please take steps to avoid bias if you choose a Zoom interview.
  • Use the above criteria and what you think are the most important skills and abilities for a candidate to be a good fit for the job to make an interviewing rubric (example interviewing rubric). These factors guide the interview questions that are always asked of all applicants. (Sample Interview Questions).
  • The interview process should be as uniform as possible, with the same people asking the same questions to each candidate. The questions should be asked in the same order and by the same people. The Search Team should be able to use all of the questions to judge how well they meet the criteria in the rubric. Follow-up questions may be different for each candidate and may be needed to get more information that is needed to judge the candidate. You can ask questions about a candidate’s resume or experiences, and the answers may be different for each candidate.
  • Instead of interviews that are more like chats, make questions based on the rubric. This way, each question will let the team judge the candidate’s skills and abilities in a way that is directly related to the job.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is important to Amherst, and all candidates should be asked about the DEI skills needed for this job. But asking about DEI skills is not the same as asking about a candidate’s identity, and you should not do either. Please look over our list of things and questions you should not ask in the interview.
  • The hiring manager or search team should set up times that work for both parties for the interviews.
  • Hiring managers should tell candidates about the main duties of the job, whether they can work from home or in an office, the starting pay rate, the schedule, and any other relevant details. Having early conversations about pay will help the process go more smoothly and make sure that everything is clear. ).

Second Round/Final Interviews

Select candidates you are interested in inviting to the next step of the interview process and move them forward in the process by indicating “Interview” as their new “Step/Disposition” status (Dispositions and Moving Candidates Forward in Workday QRG). Second-round interviews typically take place on campus or via Zoom.

The Hiring Manager should reach out to OHR to share your progress. We’ll send you updated demographics for this smaller pool and give you an updated comparison of demographics for your pool.

How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions Sample Answers


Does Amherst require an interview?

Does Amherst College offer interviews? Admissions does not offer an Amherst interview as part of the application process.

Is early decision a good choice for Amherst College?

Because of the level of commitment required, ED is a good option only for those who have decided early in the college search process that Amherst is clearly their first-choice school. Early Decision applications must be submitted by the November 1 ED deadline; notice of our admission decision will be sent by early-to-mid December.

How does Amherst review application materials?

Amherst uses a holistic approach to the review of application materials to develop a multi-dimensional perspective of the applicant. We give the greatest weight to your academic transcript.

Does Amherst accept official documents?

Amherst has partnered with, through which counselors may upload materials directly for applicants. Official documents can also be submitted by email to [email protected]. We cannot accept official documents that have been emailed to our office by applicants themselves.

Can I apply to Amherst College if I have a bachelor’s degree?

Please note that Amherst College does not accept applications from individuals who have already earned a bachelor’s degree. Amherst College will continue its test-optional policy for all applicants. In June 2023, we formalized our four-year test-optional pilot program as our policy for all applicants.

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