Preparing for the job interview can be one of the most stressful parts of the job search. Luckily, there are a number of tools and techniques to make this task easier.
The key to any interview is being well prepared. It is important to write down, in advance, the answer to questions you are likely to be asked. This will help you focus your thoughts.
Tips for a Successful Interview
In a word, the interview atmosphere should be POSITIVE. Learn to articulate your strengths and emphasize the positive contributions you can make.
The phrase "crisp and professional" comes to mind when describing appropriate dress and grooming standards for an interview. First impressions are largely determined by dress and grooming, and a positive first impression is critical.
With the advent of the World Wide Web, employers assume that you have researched the company and are familiar with the corporate Web page. Your knowledge of the company will come in very handy during the interview.
Learn as much as possible about the particular position for which you are applying. Familiarity with the job description is desirable.
Arrive early with a smile on your face.
It is not acceptable to be late for an interview. Arrive early, "freshen up", and relax. Plant a smile on your face, and execute your best firm, dry handshake.
Listen to the questions. Answer the questions asked.
Be attentive to the question being asked so that you answer the question to the best of your ability. Stay focused on the issue at hand rather than on issues that may arise later in the interview.
Sell your skills, experience and education.
Be prepared to articulate your quantifiable strengths as determined by such things as skill, experience, and education.
Be able to back up your resume.
Be truthful. An interviewer will often refer to your resume when posing questions to you. Be prepared to amplify items mentioned on your resume.
Be prepared when they ask, "Do you have questions for me?"
It is expected that you will ask questions. Prepare several questions as some will be answered during the natural course of the interview.
It is important that you send a thank you note to the person with whom you interviewed. The note should be sent immediately following the interview.
It is important to remain enthusiastic during a second, (and subsequent), interview. You may have to restate your positive merits. Do so with energy, confidence and enthusiasm just as you did during the first interview.
Questions Interviewers Frequently Ask
The questions below are divided into two categories, traditional and behavior-based. You will recognize the difference between the two types of questions immediately. You will need to be prepared for both types of interview questions. The library in the Career Development Office has several books containing additional interview questions. One book contains 1800 questions if you want lots of practice!
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why would you like to work for this company?
- What are your short and long-range goals?
- In what university activities have you participated?
- What leadership roles have you held?
- What courses did you like best in college? Least? Why?
- How has your coursework prepared you for this position?
- How has your previous work experience prepared you for this position?
- Why did you choose this particular field of work?
- What do you do in your spare time for enjoyment?
- What do you know about our company?
- Have you read our web page?
- What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
- In what geographic area would you like to work?
- How do you determine when you are successfully doing your job?
- On what criteria do you wish to be evaluated?
- In what areas of this job would you expect to be most successful? Least?
- What can you do for us now? What can we do for you?
- How did your former employer treat you? Why did you leave that job?
- What are your plans regarding graduate school?
- Why was your grade in XYZ course so low?
- What would your co-workers say about you?
- What would your former supervisor say about you?
- Is there anything else I should ask about you? Is there any other information you wish to share?
- Give me one example of something you did recently demonstrating that you "went the extra mile", doing more than what was expected to get the job done.
- Tell me about a recent situation in which you functioned as the leader.
- Tell me about a project you completed recently that made you feel particularly proud.
- Give me an example of a recent failure, and what you learned from that failure.
- Describe for me the system you use to keep track of your responsibilities both on an off the job?
- Tell me about a time that you missed a deadline, and the steps you took to prevent that from happening again?
- Describe for me a recent situation in which you functioned as a member of a team and successfully completed a project.
- Give me three examples describing how the coursework you completed will assist your efforts in the position.
- Give me two examples of how your previous work experience will assist your efforts in this position.
- Tell me something about our company that you did not know until your read our web page.
- Describe for me two contributions that you can make to our company immediately upon hire.
- Describe a problem you encountered recently, and the steps you took to solve that problem.
- Describe a situation you encountered recently that required research on your part. What were the steps you took to complete that research?
- Describe an interpersonal conflict with a friend, fellow student, or colleague. What steps did you take to resolve that conflict?