The interview is one of the most important steps in the job search process, and thorough preparation is essential. To interview effectively you need to know what you have to offer, what the employer is looking for, and the kind of position you want. Being able to answer questions with relevant details and in a conversational manner is very important.
How can you make a good impression on the interviewer?
· Arrive 10 minutes early
· Wear professional attire (see dress for success handout)
· Do company research and prepare questions to ask the interviewer
· Avoid perfume or cologne
· Wear only simple jewelry
· Be confident
· Give a firm handshake
· Make good eye contact and smile
· Keep your answers to about one to two minutes
· Do not ask about salary or benefits but be prepared to give an expected salary range if asked
· Write thank you notes
· Follow up
What are criteria do employers look for in potential candidates/interviewees?
· Background and experience
· Knowledge and ability
· Interest and desire to work for their organization
· Good fit with the organization
· Enthusiasm and can-do attitude
Types of Interview Questions
· Personal - Questions about your goals and interests, qualities, strengths and weaknesses
· Resume/Application - Questions about your experience, education, and skills
· Behavioral - Questions used to see how you would respond to certain situations and require you to describe a complex problem which you have solved recently
· Case/Technical - Questions regarding a specific business scenario or logic problem. How would you solve the problem?
· Atypical - Questions that are unusual and allow you to show your creativity
· Illegal - Questions regarding age, race, disability, gender, national origin, religion, family, or relationship issues are illegal and should not be asked
How to Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions
Think of recent situations that demonstrate some of the most commonly sought after behaviors, especially leadership, teamwork, initiative, planning, and customer service.
Practice answering questions utilizing the STAR technique:
· S – Describe the Situation
· T – What Task(s) did you identify that had to be completed?
· A – What action did you take?
· R – What was the Result of your actions? OVER
Sample Interview Questions
· Tell me about yourself.
· Why are you interested in this position?
· What can you contribute to this organization?
· What are your strengths and weaknesses?
· Why are you the best candidate for this position?
· How have your educational and work experiences prepared you for this position?
· Where do you see yourself five years from now?
· Do you prefer working in a team or independently?
· What are you passionate about?
· What motivates you to do your best on the job?
· What do you expect your starting salary to be?
· What do you know about the trends in this industry?
· How do you handle stressful situations?
· Describe a major problem that you faced and how you dealt with it.
· Tell me about a suggestion that you made that was implemented at your work.
· Tell me about your ability to work under pressure.
· Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult co-worker or fellow student on a project.
· How did you handle the situation? What were the outcomes?
· If I asked a current or former supervisor to describe you and your work habits, what would he/she say?
· Give me some examples of leadership roles you have held. What made you a good leader?
· What do you think are qualities of a successful supervisor?
· Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.
· Give me an example of a time when you showed initiative and took the lead. How did you delegate the project effectively?
Sample Questions to Ask Interviewers
· What kind of training would be involved in this position?
· What kind of assignments might I expect the first six months?
· What are your growth projections for next year?
· Will I have the opportunity to work on special projects?
· What would a typical day be like for someone in this position?
· What do you like best about your company?
· How will my performance be evaluated?
· Do you fill positions from outside or promote from within?
· When will a hiring decision be made?
· May I have one of your business cards?