THE INTERVIEW… PREPARE & PRACTICE
Parts of an interview • Greetings and small talk • Interviewer gives details of the position and the organization • Interviewer asks you questions • You ask the employer questions • Closing: What are the next steps
Prepare for all aspects of the interview! • Research the employer. • Practice sample interview questions. • Write down questions to ask.
Learn as much as you can about the employer! • Approximate number of employees • Products and/or services • Types of clients • Growth and financial stability • Competition • Mission/Values/Vision statements • Typical career path
Know Yourself! In order to convince an employer to hire you, you need to have a focus. Think of your goals,interests, strengths, and experiences. Be able to discuss them.
Types of interview questions Broad-based questions such as: Why do you want to work with us? What are your strengths/weaknesses? Why did you choose this major/career? Where do you see yourself in five years?
The ice-breaker…or nerve rattler! “Tell Me About Yourself”
Have a concise, relevant response. I am a sophomore majoring in Chemical Engineering. I chose this major because I have always liked math and science and I have a natural curiosity for how things work. When I researched different majors, Chemical Engineering seemed to offer the most potential for leading me to a career I would enjoy. I am active in several organizations on campus and I am eager to begin a Co-op to apply what I know and also learn more about this field.
Behavioral based questions STAR: Situation Task Action(s) taken Result of your action(s)
Situation and Task Describe the situation you were in and the task you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.
Action Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did -- not the efforts of the team. Don't tell what you might do, tell what you did.
Result What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?
Sample behavioral based questions: Describe a situation in which you…. …employed good time management skills. …had to persuade someone to do something. …had to make a split second decision. …had to go beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
Give me an example of a time when you showed initiative. Example of Setting up the Situation: After working one week at my summer job with XYZ, the person who supervised my position left. I was asked to take on some of his responsibilities until a replacement was hired. I didn’t mind helping out, but I was a little anxious about being so new and taking on a higher level of responsibility.
Example of Describing the Task: One of the assignments I was given involved contacting vendors to confirm delivery dates of inventory items. The vendor numbers and delivery dates were written in a notebook and in some cases, it was difficult to interpret the notes.
Example of Describing the Action When I had a little down time between customers, I created a record in Excel showing vendor names, numbers, inventory items being shipped, dates and any adjustments being made to the order. I also recorded the date of the confirmation call so the new assistant manager would know that status.
Example of Stating the Result When the manager asked if I had been able to reach all the vendors, I showed him the Excel program letting him know I could transfer the information back into the notebook if he preferred. He was pleased with the file I created and asked me to explain the process to the other staff. He also asked if I could set up files for other data.
When preparing for the interview… Think of examples you might share if asked about: Showing initiative ~ Juggling responsibilities Leading ~ Coping with disappointment ~ Using logic to solve a problem ~ Achieving ~ Working under pressure ~ ETC!
WHAT TO ASK THEM • What is a typical day like for this position? • How are employees trained? Evaluated? • Does each employee have a mentor? • What type of assignments might I expect during the first six months? • What is the biggest challenge the organization faces today? • *Think of what YOU want to know!
Save $$$ questions until the 2nd interview • In the first interview, keep the focus on your qualifications and interest in the job. • You can inquire about $$, benefits, vacation, etc. during the 2nd interview. • Know your worth!!! Research salary ranges (in the geographical area) for an entry level employee with qualifications similar to yours.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW… • Inquire about next step. • Close with a smile and a handshake. • Send a thank-you note to everyone with whom you interviewed. • Make sure you have an appropriate outgoing voice-mail message and a good system for receiving messages.
Make the first impression a GOOD one! • Arrive ten minutes early unless they ask you to arrive even sooner for paperwork. • Be pleasant and professional to everyone!
When you first arrive, you may be asked to complete an application. • Follow directions. • Print clearly; be neat. They notice! • Avoid providing negative information. • If you don’t have a lot of experience, emphasize education, volunteer work, etc. • If something seems unclear, ask.
Posture, Expression & Handshake • Sit straight with legs uncrossed or crossed at ankles. • Stand straight with shoulders back and eyes ahead. • Smile!!! • Offer a firm, but not crushing, handshake.
Women’s Business Professional: • Suits or jackets and pants with button down shirts or pull over tops /camisoles and simple accessories • Jackets worn either with pants or skirts are business professional appropriate. • Always wear plain style, neutral colored hose to interviews.
Women’s Shoes: • Choose shoes with closed toes and moderate heels that do not impede walking • For interviews, black, navy, or neutral colored shoes are recommended
Women’s Accessories: Don’t! • Large and “dangly” earrings can be distracting. Choose smaller, more conservative styles. • Don’t carry a purse with a briefcase. Choose one or the other for interviews.
Head-to-Toe Mirror Check • Hair: neatly groomed, not distracting • Make-up: conservative, minimal • Breath: fresh/clean • Cologne/perfume: minimal if any at all
Mirror Check Continued… • Jewelry: conservative, minimal • Piercings: ears for women, anything else is a risk • Nails: clean, neatly manicured • Clothes: clean, pressed
Resources • http://www.quintcareers.com • http://www.jobweb.com • http://www.careerbuilder.com • http://www.collegegrad.com • http://www.wetfeet.com • www.careerjournal.com/jobhunting • Great Interview; Eyre, Osen, Williams
Look for these helpful items in theJones Resource Center, 336 Ferguson: • Numerous books with interviewing tips, sample questions, advice for handling tough questions, etc. • Handouts with sample questions including behavioral-based questions and questions a candidate should ask • Lists of Web sites providing information on all career-related topics