You’ve written your resume and attended networking events, but what about a job interview? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

As a Pulp and Paper Foundation scholarship recipient, we help you prepare for and choose which interviews you’d like to participate in. Yes, we said choose.

Since company members and industry professionals are eager to meet (and hire) you, we make it simple: we bring them directly to you. We coordinate job interview schedules for co/ops and full-time positions, so that all you need to do is choose the position and company you’d like to interview with and when you’d like to meet with them!

How do I prepare for my job interview?

We recognize that everyone has their own personal routines and rituals to prepare for and psych themselves up for a job interview. But we think there are three non-negotiables everyone should do first.

1. Know the type of interview. Is it an initial phone-screen, a video interview, or a more traditional in-person style interview? It’s also good to know how many interviews you can expect. Some companies do an initial phone call, a formal interview, and a second (and even a third!) interview for you to meet with the team and leadership.
2. Learn everything about the position. Read the job description carefully—more than once! Make sure you really know what the job is so that you know you’re not only qualified, but also that you’d enjoy the job. Sometimes it can be helpful to copy/paste the entire job description into a word cloud generator. Pay close attention to the words that show up most.
3. Research the company. This one might be obvious, but please don’t sleep on it! Read through the company’s website, their social media channels, and any recent news articles. What do they do? Who do they help? What makes them different from other companies? What values do they have that you also have?


The three most important parts of any job interview are preparation, preparation, and preparation! Here are three tips to help you before your interview:

  • Know your “why.” Why are you interested in this job, this company? Regardless of whether the company asks you directly why you want this job, you should go into the interview knowing why you want this particular job. Is the company’s mission inspiring to you? Do they have innovative products? Are they solving real-world problems that resonate with you? Know why you want to be part of it. If you don’t really want to join the company, they’ll be able to tell in your interview.
  • Know how you can help them. It may seem backwards, but your job interview isn’t really about you. Well, it’s about how you can help the company with their problems. Make the interview about them by showing you know what their problems are and that you’re part of the solution.
  • Practice interview questions. Do an internet search for the top 20 or so interview questions. Write down your answers referencing your own experiences and stories. If you can, use examples that directly call out issues that the company is facing. After you’ve answered these questions, practice by reading them out loud. Better yet, have a mock interview. Yep, just like we do every year here at the Foundation!

PRO TIP: Use the STAR method when preparing your answers for behavioral questions such as “Have you ever…”, “Tell me a time when…” Shape your answer based on a situation you were in, what your task or responsibility was, the action or exact steps you took, and share the result.


You’ve prepped and practiced, and the day has arrived for your interview! Here are three things to remember during your interview:

  • They already like you. It’s tempting in interviews to try to impress the people who are interviewing us. But this is also what tends to make many of us nervous! Remember that the interviewers already like you and are impressed by you. They’ve seen your resume and likely have already talked to you at one of the Foundation’s networking events or the info session—that’s why you’re there!
  • Know how to answer when you don’t have an answer. It’s bound to happen—you’re asked a question, but your mind goes blank! Don’t panic. Take a breath, repeat the question out loud slowly and then give the answer you’ve prepared. If you don’t have an answer, it’s important to be honest and don’t make something up. Try this: “What a great question. While I can’t recall this [insert question] in my personal experience, here’s how I would approach it in the future.”
  • Be prepared to ask questions. Your interviewers have set aside time for this, but you’ll really impress them if you ask questions that directly relate to the role, the team you’d be working with, and the future of the company. Try these:
    • Role: “What are the most immediate projects I would be working on and what would
      your expectations be of me in my first 90 days?”
    • Role: “What’s the biggest challenge I might face in this role?”
    • Team: “What’s a skill that your team is looking to fill with this role?”
    • Company: “What makes you most excited about the company’s future?”

PRO TIP: Feeling nervous before your interview? Try telling yourself, “I’m so excited for this interview!” It trains your brain to associate your feeling of nerves with something exciting rather than a potentially scary unknown.


Phew, you did it! And we’re sure you nailed it, too. Congratulations! Take a well-deserved break, but first, don’t forget this very important thing you need to do right after your interview:

  • Follow up with a thank you note. This seems simple, but you’d be surprised how often candidates forget to do this. It keeps you top of mind, shows your enthusiasm for the opportunity, and reminds them why you’re the solution they’re looking for. (It’s also just good manners!) Look at this example for reference:

Hi [insert name],
Thank you again for taking the time to meet with me today! I enjoyed talking with you [and any others] about the Process Engineer role and [add detail of something you talked about].

I appreciate that your team is looking for a candidate who is a curious, creative problem-solver with hands-on experience because I believe those attributes describe me!

I’ve demonstrated in my previous co-op roles that I can prioritize tasks, manage my time effectively, and collaborate across departments on projects and initiatives. If offered this role, I would [insert specifics from the question you asked in your interview on what you’d be working
on in your first 90 days].

Please let me know if you have any further questions. I’m happy to connect to answer them as best I can.

Thank you again for your time and consideration for this opportunity!

[insert your name]

We know that job interviews are a big deal and can be nerve-racking. But when you’ve prepared and practiced, you’ll feel more comfortable, confident, and successful. You got this!

If this topic encourages you, we’d love to hear about it! Learn more about how we help engineering students here.