So you’ve gotten a callback in your job application — congratulations! You’ve successfully impressed the hiring manager with your compelling cover letter and resume. It’s now time to make another impression by showing up on your job interview ready for anything. Let us show you how to prepare for a job interview with ChatGPT.
Job interviews can both be dreadful and exciting. Nerves can make the simple question, “Tell me about yourself.”, feel impossible to answer. But nail it, and you could be very well on your way to a lucrative job offer.
Often spot-on, honest, and meaningful answers are all you need to give. However, some interviews are designed to throw you some curve balls just to test how you’d react to pressure. Sounds like an obstacle? Don’t worry, job interviews aren’t meant to be a walk in the park. But with today’s artificial intelligence (AI) platforms, preparing for a job interview has become much easier.
You can use large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT to run through scenarios, try questions, and prepare answers that will impress your prospective employer. Let’s explore the possibilities of prompt engineering to prepare for a job interview.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an AI-powered LLM chatbot developed by OpenAI. It is trained on a massive amount of text data to communicate with users in human-like language. It can respond to various prompts and questions and even adopt a particular persona. For example, you can ask ChatGPT to generate common job interview questions for your target position.
However, ChatGPT’s performance is only as good as your prompts. You have to be specific and detailed to get the best output possible. It’s also important to note that ChatGPT isn’t flawless; OpenAI itself admitted that the LLM can generate “plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers,” so use a few other resources when preparing for a job interview instead of solely relying on ChatGPT.
Why Should I Use ChatGPT to Prepare for a Job Interview?
If ChatGPT isn’t perfect, why should we use it? Well, finding a human with whom you can role-play and practice your interview can be quite tough these days. Everybody’s busy.
ChatGPT can generate a list of common interview questions, allowing you to practice answering them. So, you can basically role-play and try out different situations and scenarios. you can ask ChatGPT to provide feedback on your answers, helping you identify your weaknesses and make adjustments. And because you’re practicing in a virtual environment, you can make mistakes without impacting your chances of getting an offer.
The AI’s output and your answers can essentially become your job interview cheat sheet. Having one can surely boost your confidence for your interview. Let’s take a look at ways how you can use prompt engineering techniques to simulate your job interview.
Ace Your Job Interview with ChatGPT
Our goal here is to teach you how to structure your prompts to get the output you’re seeking and effectively prepare for a job interview using AI. We will be showing different approaches to preparing for a job interview with ChatGPT. We will test various levels of prompt engineering to help you understand how they influence ChatGPT’s output.
Approach 1 – Ask For Interview Advice
Before asking ChatGPT to generate interview questions, ask the AI for some interview advice to pump yourself up before practicing. Follow these steps to get started.
Login to ChatGPT and start with something generic and refine it as we go along:
Give me some job interview tips.
ChatGPT gave a comprehensive but generic response to our prompt. It advised us on the things we should do before the interview and how to behave during and after the interview. Getting this guide is a good way to start preparing as it makes us aware of what we should do before the actual practice.
Let’s move on to the next step.
I'm applying for the [job title] position. How should I prepare for my job interview?
For this example, we are posing as a Data Scientist applicant. Below is an excerpt of the output.
With the target position included, ChatGPT was able to generate advice tailored for the job. It provided tips on refreshing your technical skills, data science tools and libraries, coding, data science projects, and other factors related to the position. It even added a helpful tip about employers assessing your other traits besides technical skills, such as problem-solving abilities and whether you’re a cultural fit in the organization.
Even if we hadn’t asked ChatGPT to generate interview questions yet, the AI gave some ideas on what you need to know and study before the interview. This is pretty solid advice because it helps you set your expectations for the event.
Let’s try a higher-level prompt in the next step. We’ll mention some potential weaknesses in your resume, such as a career switch with a significant gap in between.
There's a [duration] gap in my resume. That's because before becoming a [target position], I was a [previous profession] for [number of years or months], then I took a break to acquire [target position] skills. How can I explain in my job interview that the gap in my resume doesn't affect my competence?
Below is an excerpt of ChatGPT’s output.
ChatGPT’s advice on career gaps was also comprehensive and helpful. It told us to be transparent and honest, highlight what motivated us to switch careers, showcase our efforts, and more. One of the most crucial pieces of advice the AI gave is to draw connections between your previous experience and the skills required in your target position. ChatGPT suggested identifying overlapping skills and to emphasize how your previous experience can be applied to your target position.
Now that we’ve tackled general advice, position-specific advice, and potential weaknesses, let’s go for the final prompt in this approach: addressing salary and compensation.
How can you explain to the hiring manager that your asking rate is above the range? Let’s explore that in our next prompt.
How can I tell the hiring manager during my interview that my asking rate is above the range they disclosed in the job ad?
Below is an excerpt of the output.
Again, ChatGPT generated valuable insight for this prompt. The AI first mentioned gathering market research, which helps us determine the average salary range for our target position. Getting equipped with this information is crucial because it allows you to support or justify your desire for a higher pay.
In addition, the AI advised focusing on the value you can bring to the table, such as your skills, expertise, and experiences. You should articulate how your background makes you a valuable investment.
However, ChatGPT also advised delaying any mention of specific numbers until you have a clearer understanding of the job requirements. This is a clever piece of advice because you and your potential employers should reach an understanding about your expectations from one another. Even if the job has already stated your responsibilities, you should verify it with your potential employer and determine any support they’re willing to give, like training and benefits.
That said, considering ChatGPT’s responses to all the prompts for this approach, it proved itself a valuable tool for getting job interview advice. It generated extensive and insightful tips, helping us know what to expect and how to tackle the challenges we might experience during the interview.
It also mentioned using other resources, such as the company website, to prepare for your interview, reiterating our previous point that you should use other tools besides ChatGPT to get ready for your job interview. You can view the chat here and see the ChatGPT’s full response to all the prompts.
Approach 2 – Ask for Sample Interview Questions
Let’s now explore a more advanced prompt engineering technique in this next approach. After getting interview advice, it’s time to level up your preparation efforts by researching common interview questions. This will help you compose clear and concise answers that you might have to deliver during the actual interview.
ChatGPT can generate sample interview questions tailored for your background and target position. Follow these prompt engineering steps to find out the questions you might be asked during your interview.
Generate sample interview questions for a candidate applying for the [job title] position. The candidate was a [previous profession] for [number of years or months] before taking a [period of gap] break from the workforce to develop [target position] skills.
The questions were focused on the candidate’s previous experience, which is common during job interviews. In terms of career changes, which we’ve incorporated into our sample identity, prospective employers will typically for the reason, as you can see from ChatGPT’s first sample question. They want to know why you’ve decided to change careers to evaluate your transferable skills and experience.
ChatGPT also generated sample questions that focus on skills.
These questions are more challenging given their technical nature. They may not be asked during the initial interview, but if you pass that assessment and get endorsed to your potential manager, these could be questions you’ll get. It’s crucial to prepare answering them as early as possible to give yourself time to compose clear and impactful answers.
You might also get asked about your work ethic, key accomplishments, and challenges. Let’s ask ChatGPT to generate questions around those topics in the next step.
Generate sample questions about the candidate's work ethic, key accomplishments, and the challenges they've faced at work.
ChatGPT churned out another set of challenging questions, allowing you to thoroughly look back at your professional journey and identify turning points in your career.
Employers ask about work ethic and accomplishments to determine your level of commitment and the impact you’ve had on your previous jobs. They’re also interested in the challenges or obstacles you’ve faced to assess your problem-solving skills and give themselves an idea of how you’ll overcome similar challenges you might face in their company.
Note these sample interview questions are generated based on ChatGPT’s database, which is updated only until 2021. You can view the full chat here to see the entire list of questions. Employers might also ask other questions based on current events or latest trends, so it’s essential to research news about your field or industry to be prepared to answer them.
Approach 3 – Job Interview Roleplay and Performance Feedback
Now that we have an idea of the questions you might get asked, let’s proceed to practicing our answers by role-playing with ChatGPT.
Practicing answers may be the most exciting part of preparing for a job interview. Here, we’ll be using three approaches: job interview roleplay with feedback, job interview roleplay with critique and tips on how to improve, and job interview roleplay with a natural flow.
Job Interview Roleplay with Feedback
You are a hiring manager interviewing me for the [job title] role. Generate a job interview question based on the information below and ask more questions based on my responses. [Job description] [Your resume]
We’ll try this response, which is based on the sample resume we provided:
My skills and experience in SEO and digital marketing have given me a strong foundation in data analysis, interpretation, and communication. I’m also proficient in various digital marketing platforms. I believe that these skills would be valuable to your data science team.
As an SEO specialist, I was also responsible for collecting and analyzing data to identify trends and make recommendations. I also managed social media campaigns and reviewed website content to optimize it. I can use these skills to help your team collect, analyze, and interpret data to solve problems and make predictions.
I am also a creative thinker and problem solver. I’m constantly looking for new ways to get better results from any project I partake in. I believe that this skill would be helpful in identifying new patterns and trends in data and coming up with innovative solutions to problems.
Suppose this is your answer:
I had a project which was to increase web traffic by 20% in 6 months. I started by collecting our website traffic data from Google Analytics, focusing on metrics such as traffic sources, keywords, pages visited, and bounce rate.
Once I had a good understanding of our current traffic, I identified our weak areas. I discovered that we weren’t ranking well for some of the most important keywords in our industry, so I identified new target keywords and worked with the content writers to produce blogs and articles optimized for those keywords. I also collaborated with the UX designers to improve our website’s design and make it more user-friendly. Lastly, I increased our social media activity using new strategies to drive more engagement.
As a result, we were able to increase our website traffic by 25% in 6 months and grew our leads and sales.
This is our sample answer:
I created a clear and concise presentation of my findings, using visuals to illustrate my words, and spoke in a language that was easy to understand. Then I initiated a meeting with the content writers and UX designers individually to get their ideas, feedback, and insight. I also ensured to answer all their questions. Finally, I prepared a document that outlined my data-driven strategies, including my key findings and recommendations for how the writers and UX designers can contribute to the success of the project.
Here’s ChatGPT’s — AKA the “hiring manager” — response:
You can see that it recalls our first instruction, which was to generate follow-up questions based on our responses. It’s clearly asking us to elaborate our experiences so we can demonstrate our skills.
Now it’s asking us to talk about a situation that involves collaborating with other teams. We’ll use this as an answer:
During the project, the content team wanted to focus on creative and informative content, while the UX designers insisted that a user-friendly web design was more important. I aligned these two different perspectives by talking to the teams separately and noting their concerns and ideas. Once I had a good grasp of their perspectives, I met with both teams and proposed a game plan with both the content team’s and the UX designers’ priorities. I also stressed the importance of finding common ground and compromising.
The teams agreed to my proposal and we started implementing our strategies, which resulted in the project’s success.
Below is the follow-up question ChatGPT generated based on the answer above.
Let’s use this as the final question so we can start getting feedback from the AI. Here’s the sample response to this question and the prompt for feedback:
Here is ChatGPT’s feedback on our performance:
The AI was able to identify our strongest suits based on our answers. Also, the interview questions it generated were all thought-provoking. They had been challenging, but they opened opportunities to discuss our accomplishments, work ethic, and problem-solving skills in detail.
Job Interview Roleplay with Critique and Tips on How to Improve
What happens if we give vague and unenthusiastic answers? We’ll try a second approach and see how ChatGPT will critique our performance.
Let's redo this mock interview. Ask me the same first, second, third, fourth, and fifth questions. After my response to your 5th question, critique my performance and give me tips on how to improve.
Here’s our considerably shorter answer:
ChatGPT’s follow-up question in this round was different from its second question from the first round, because — if you can recall — we initially asked it to form the follow-up question based on our response. The AI is still following this instruction, which is worth noting. Check out the sample “bad” response below.
This time, ChatGPT generated almost the same follow-up question from the first round. Let’s see how it will react to our response.
The AI must have noticed our vague answers so it now urged us to provide more details. Keep reading to see the next output.
Now that we’ve answered five questions, ChatGPT provided the feedback after this response.
Clearly, the AI noticed the lack of specific details in our responses and encouraged us to give more comprehensive answers to improve our performance. It even advised us to focus on Python and its data science applications, as well as to mention specific frameworks and libraries to demonstrate our proficiency.
But despite the criticism, ChatGPT still lifted our spirits by saying that we have a strong foundation in data analysis and collaboration skills. This piece of positive feedback can help build your confidence when practicing for your job interview. View the full chat here to study the prompt engineering techniques used.
Now, let’s try the third approach in which ChatGPT follows the natural flow of a job interview and provides feedback.
Job Interview Roleplay Following the Natural Flow of an Actual Interview + Feedback
Act as a hiring manager interviewing me for the data scientist position. Following the natural flow and language of an actual job interview, ask me five questions, one at a time, based on the job description and my resume. Provide feedback on my performance after receiving my answer to the 5th question. [Job description] [Your resume]
This output is closely similar to the first response from the first round of practice. Let’s see how ChatGPT responds to our answer to this interview question.
The only noticeable difference this response has from the first round is the language used; here, ChatGPT said “Let’s move on to the next question” as a transition phrase before generating the second question, which made it sound more human.
Let’s jump to its feedback on our performance.
ChatGPT was still acting as the hiring manager here, as it asked us if there was anything specific we’d like to know about the data scientist position. This emphasizes ChatGPT’s ability to recall instructions from the initial prompt even if we already gave it several new prompts (Provided, of course, that the prompts are in the same chat).
However, despite our initial prompt about following the natural flow of a job interview, ChatGPT still used a few unnatural languages like “Question 1:”. This might be due to its narrow context window.
Still, what makes LLMs like ChatGPT a valuable tool for a mock interview is you don’t have to respond to its questions right away, unlike real-life scenarios where you’re put on the spot. You can take as much time as you need to develop an impactful answer. You can keep conducting a mock interview until you feel confident enough to answer faster and recite your responses aloud. You can view the complete mock interview here to use it as an aid to your own practice efforts.
Now, let’s determine the other ways ChatGPT can help us prepare for a job interview.
Using the STAR Method
When we asked ChatGPT for interview advice, it mentioned using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure our responses effectively. The STAR method is an interview technique that uses a straightforward format when telling a story. Its aim is to explain the following:
- Situation – the scenario and its key details
- Task – what you had to do during the situation
- Action – the steps you took to address the situation
- Result – the outcomes of your actions
You can use the STAR method to answer behavioral questions, such as the ones used in the job interview roleplay we conducted. The questions usually begin with “Tell me about a time when…,” “What do you do when…,” or “Give me an example of…”
Without preparations, answering behavioral questions can result in blabbering or going in circles. But with ChatGPT, you can articulate your answers concisely. Typing out your response as a practice allows you to recognize potentially problematic speech patterns, like veering off your point of being too wordy.
When you identify those weak areas, you can weed them out as you compose practice answers until you get used to your improved speech patterns and answering concisely becomes second-nature.
Let’s use a sample answer from our job interview role play and identify the STAR.
I had a project (Situation) which was to increase web traffic by 20% in 6 months (Task). I started by collecting our website traffic data from Google Analytics, focusing on metrics such as traffic sources, keywords, pages visited, and bounce rate.
Once I had a good understanding of our current traffic, I identified our weak areas. I discovered that we weren’t ranking well for some of the most important keywords in our industry, so I identified new target keywords and worked with the content writers to produce blogs and articles optimized for those keywords. I also collaborated with the UX designers to improve our website’s design and make it more user-friendly. Lastly, I increased our social media activity using new strategies to drive more engagement (Action).
As a result, we were able to increase our website traffic by 25% in 6 months and grew our leads and sales (Result).
Following this sequence when telling a story lets the narrative flow smoothly, keeping the listener engaged. We could say that ChatGPT identified the STAR method in our answers, causing it to give positive feedback.
Mistakes to Avoid When Using AI Tools to Prepare for a Job Interview
While ChatGPT and other AI tools can be valuable resources for job interview preparations, using the wrong practices may result in unsatisfactory outcomes. Take note of these mistakes to avoid when using AI to prepare for a job interview:
Relying on AI for Time-sensitive Information
AI is helpful for determining possible interview questions and getting tips, but you should not forget to research about the company, the average salary for your target position, and the most marketable skills in your industry.
Asking ChatGPT for this information isn’t advisable because its knowledge cuts off in 2021, so it couldn’t give updated answers. If you want to use an LLM to gather current information, Google’s Bard has a more updated database. You can also try Bing Chat or the Bing search plugin.
In addition, while LLMs can provide comprehensive feedback, it doesn’t replace human judgment. To ensure that your drafted answers will lead to an offer, research what hiring managers and other professionals in your field are looking for in candidates. If your stories and experiences align with their expectations, it may indicate that you have great chances of getting hired.
Giving Vague Prompts and Answers
Make your prompts specific to get the best output possible. Mention your target position and, if you have to, ask the AI to act as your prospective employer so you can have a more lifelike experience. And when answering AI-generated interview answers, ensure that it includes the key details in the STAR method if needed.
Not Practicing Offline
Practicing with AI tools will only bear fruit if you also practice offline. So whether your job interview will be onsite or virtual, practice the skills you learned with AI offline so you can get used to articulating answers aloud and projecting a confident image. Do the classic practice of speaking in front of a mirror so you can watch your body language and facial expressions. Consider recording yourself on camera as well; this can be a helpful practice for virtual interviews.
Adding this extra effort to your preparations will help increase your confidence, impressing your potential employer.
How Else Can I Use AI for Job Search?
You can use ChatGPT to write a compelling cover letter and outstanding resume. If you want a faster way to write both, you can also check out the best AI resume builders, which can also craft cover letters.
In conclusion, ChatGPT is a reliable tool for all things job-hunting, from creating cover letters to preparing for job interviews.
We’ve already explored how ChatGPT can tells us what to expect from a job interview and even craft our answers carefully and get feedback. But since AI doesn’t necessarily reflect actual human behavior, it’s not the be-all and end-all of attaining job interview success. ChatGPT and other AI tools are just resources for making certain tasks easier, not a replacement for human judgment and reasoning. It can make mistakes or provide inaccurate or misleading information.
Despite its imperfections, though, embracing AI allows you to acquire marketable skills in various industries. Remember that AI won’t replace you, but people using AI could. Use AI to your advantage now to be ready for a more tech-driven future.
A formidable prompt engineer, Dan Sanz blends a deep understanding of AI with practical insights into human-machine interaction. His work in prompt engineering in combination with years in the field of Data Science, are helping to redefine the possibilities for AI communication and engagement.