This is one of my favorite mock interview questions precisely because every answer is different and you can always:
a) open with a really great hook and
b) tweak this answer to fit other questions (“Why should we hire you?” “Tell me about yourself.”)
In this case, what makes the candidate unique is engineering + languages & culture.
That is such a great combination! And one that most people don’t think of. In fact, engineering is one of those degree programs that is often exempt from campus foreign language requirements. But the student in this video makes a really good case for why you need those two things in combination. What kind of engineering are you going to do in a monolingual, monocultural bubble? This interviewee is ready to apply her engineering talents in the US, Russian, the Ukraine, and Spanish-speaking countries.
In terms of the nuances of interview questions asked to the unsuspecting as opposed to the prepared candidate, in this video you can see her spontaneous “before” answer and a more polished “after” answer. But in terms of what makes her unique, she can’t go wrong with here “engineering + languages” answer!
Darcy Lear is a career coach specializing in academic writing, job search documents, professional school applications, and interview preparation. To schedule a campus workshop or for help navigating your career transition, contact Darcy: firstname.lastname@example.org The mock interviews were conducted with University of Illinois Urbana Champaign students from Ann Abbott’s “Spanish and Entrepreneurship” course who worked with me on my social media presence as part of their course project in spring 2014.