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The Art of Interviewing

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Know About Yourself

Strengths: List of Key Words Regarding Skills

  • Strongest skills: pick one or two times when you used skills successfully
  • Greatest areas of knowledge
  • Greatest personality strengths
  • Things you do best
  • Key accomplishments: work /school

Weaknesses: Areas of Growth

  • Be able to address any weakness with a plan for improvement. Some weaknesses common to college students could be:
    • Low GPA
    • No participation in outside activities
    • No related work experience
    • Gaps in work

Who and What You Are

  • Be able to address long and short-term goals, particularly within the organization with which you are interviewing

Know Your Prospective Employer

  • Details about employer and jobs
  • Product line, organizational structure, employment locations, reputation of employer, potential for advancement 
  • Mission statement of employer
  • Ask for a copy of the job description
  • You are interviewing company as well - both want a good fit!!

Know Your Competition & Bargaining Position

  • Assume that there is someone better prepared and more qualified

Handle Your Nervousness

Body Language: 65% of Interview Based on Non-Verbal Cues Including:

  • Eye Contact
  • Attentiveness
  • Smiling
  • Hand Shake – Very Important!!

Wear Appropriate Interview Outfit

See also: Dress for Success

Business Majors

  • Conservative
  • Dark suits
  • Skirts below the knee

Other Majors are More Flexible

  • Wear a blazer!!

Go Conservative

  • Minimal cologne or perfume
  • Conservative make-up, nails, hair, etc.
  • Remove visible piercings—nose, lip, cheek, tongue etc., for the interview
  • No visible tattoos
  • No visible cleavage

Before You Say “Hello”

  1. Arrive early to relax (check on the route the night before)
  2. Introduce yourself to the receptionist (may be asked for her opinion later)
  3. Greet interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake
  4. Your non-verbals and visual signals speak as loud as words (65%-93%)

Parts of the Interview

  1. Greeting-small talk
  2. Period of employer’s questions – mutual discussion of background and credentials
  3. Opportunity for you to ask questions
  4. Conclusion – restate interest and strong points, thank, ask whom to contact and when decision will be made
  5. Write a thank you note to employer
  6. Keep an interview journal – follow-up action, what you might do differently, hard questions to answer, etc.

Preparation for Questions

  • Review questions list and practice answering
  • Have memorized your list of skills and a summary statement
  • Your enthusiasm, self confidence, eagerness, and believability will affect outcome

Types of Questions 

(See also: Sample Interview Questions)

  • “What question were you prepared to answer that you were not asked?”
  • “If you were a type of food, what kind of food are you and why?”
  • “Why did you choose your particular major?” Here is your opportunity to share your commitment to your field—your teaching philosophy, your passion for the environment, children, music   
  • “What is the toughest decision you have had to make?”
  • “What can you do for our company/school district?”
  • Review Behavioral Interview Questions where you have to provide examples of past experiences of solving problems (the employer believes the best predictor of future success is by your past behavior).

Questions to Ask Employer

  • Who would be my immediate supervisor?
  • What are the possibilities for promotion?
  • What is the organizational structure, and where does this position fit in?
  • What is the extent of travel required?

What to NOT ask in the interview

  • Never ask a question about salary or benefits until it is brought up by the employer. Let them take the lead.
  • Be sure to research salary information for your field, so if they ask you what your salary expectations are, you can answer knowledgably.

Resources for Interviewing