Interview Tips Seminar Presented by: Robbie Ghames Student Assistant Cooperative Education Disclaimer I will cover general points and advice for you to follow; however, you must ultimately make your own choices. Sometimes there are no right answers as to how to answer a question. Getting a job is based on a combination of luck, the recruiter, what the company is looking for, and your preparation. Your Mission Your job as the interviewee is to create a favorable first impression for your interviewers and then convince them you are the right person for the job Co-Op Interview Day is… Not an interrogation – the employers that attend are very laid-back, friendly people! A step towards your career development – take it seriously! A professional event, however, let the “real you” shine through when you are talking to employers! The Marketplace is Competitive, So Have a Competitive Advantage! Research YOURSELF and THE COMPANY Be Prepared First Impressions The Interview Follow-Up Research Yourself Perform a “Talent Inventory” – Skills/Abilities? Weaknesses? What have you learned from your past jobs, volunteer work, hobbies, school and social situations? What do you find interesting about your major and why did you choose it? Decide what is important for your career objectives Research Yourself Employers are interested in project-based experience from school, life experiences, and volunteer involvement. Employers want to understand not only your experience, but also your personal qualities or performance behaviors. (e.g. self motivation, work ethic, and intellectual ability) What makes you UNIQUE? CONFIDENCE… Researching yourself will provide you with the confidence you need in the interview Remember, the interview process is a way for you to show off your talents, knowledge, and personality to employers Research the Company Once you learn about yourself, then you must find out what the company is looking for! What products do they make and/or services do they provide? What things are important to the company? Research the Company What size is the company? Who are their major competitors? Current news about the company or industry they operate in Research the Company Make sure the jobs they are hiring for are of interest to you! While doing your research, take notes… Jot down questions you have as you learn about the company. Write down things you find interesting about the company. You may be able to work them into the interview so your interviewer can expand on them. While doing your research ask yourself... Do I have what the company is looking for? What personal traits can I highlight to convince the interviewer that I am a good fit for their company? Answering these questions is crucial, otherwise, what incentive do they have to hire you? Be prepared to answer two important questions: “Why should we hire you?” (Use Talent Inventory Results) and “Why do you want to work here?” (Use impressive facts found during company research) Be Prepared Prepare answers to questions given at the Follow-up meeting. Practice – Ask a friend to conduct a mock interview. Knowing yourself helps to convey who you are. – – Make a list of all your skills, personal qualities, and knowledge. Include an example from your life that demonstrates that dimension of you. Be Prepared Behavioral Interview Questions – In a behavioral interview, an employer has decided what skills are needed in the person they hire and will ask questions to find out if the candidate has those skills. Instead of asking how you would behave, they will ask how you did behave. The interviewer will want to know how you handled a situation, instead of what you might do in the future. http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/interviews/a/behavioral.htm Be Prepared Behavioral Interview Questions – – – Refresh your memory and consider some special situations you have dealt with or projects you have worked on. Prepare stories that illustrate times when you have successfully solved problems or performed memorably. When answering, make sure you state a specific situation, the tasks that needed to be done, the action you took and the results. http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/interviews/a/behavioral.htm Be Prepared Sample Behavioral Interview Questions – – – – Give an example of an occasion when you used logic to solve a problem. Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it. Describe a decision you made that was unpopular and how you handled implementing it. Have you gone above and beyond the call of duty? If so, how? http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/interviews/a/behavioral.htm Be Prepared Sample Behavioral Interview Questions – – – – What do you do when your schedule is interrupted? Give an example of how you handle it. Have you had to convince a team to work on a project they weren't thrilled about? How did you do it? Have you handled a difficult situation with a coworker? How? Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure. http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/interviews/a/behavioral.htm Be Prepared Assess your strengths/weaknesses and major accomplishments Be prepared to discuss your various job responsibilities. Also, be prepared to explain why you did not work during a period of time, or why you quit or were fired. Be Prepared… to tell The Whole Story Bring extra copies of your resume to the interview. Your resume doesn’t tell everything about you. What else do you bring to the table? Talk about those things. Be able to go into great detail. Be Prepared Lay out clothing in advance Perform time-consuming chores (ironing, polish shoes) the night before. Eat something before the interview, but NOT: – – A big meal (may make you sluggish) Smelly foods like garlic or onion Arrive 10-15 minutes early. Use the extra time to review your notes, clear your head, and get comfortable. Take deep breaths and try to relax. First Impressions Impressions are formed within 30 seconds of meeting someone! Dress for Success – – Pay attention to the details. Conservative is the safe choice. Punctuality is crucial. A firm handshake is appropriate and projects confidence. Make eye contact and smile when you shake. “Potential employers expect candidates to be conservatively well-dressed and have good manners. Like it or not, there is a high correlation between appearance and the perception of professional abilities.” Clinton T. Greenleaf, III Copley News Service The Interview Know the interviewer’s name, shake his/her hand, make eye contact and smile. Pay attention to how the interviewer behaves (are they laid back or formal?). Speak clearly, avoiding slang or “filler” words. Do not Forget to Listen Listen through eye contact – stay with the person (third eye) Listen with nonverbal expressions – nod and appear interested Listen until the speaker is finished – do not interrupt The Interview Listening is a key interviewing skill!!! The Dynamics of an Interview Once an interviewer meets several candidates who more or less fit the criteria of the position, he or she won’t make a final selection by simply narrowing the list until he finds the most qualified candidate. He’ll select the candidate who makes him feel the most comfortable. The one whose style is closest to his. The one whose mind works the way his does. Not the one who, on paper, might be considered “most qualified.” The Interview If the interviewer asks you a question and you don’t understand, ask the person to explain a little more or ask the question again. Pause and think about your answers, but don’t leave the interviewer waiting—that is why you came prepared! Don’t just answer “yes” or “no”. The most productive interviews are 2 way communications. Don’t lie or exaggerate. The Interview Respond concisely – don’t ramble. Do not bring up salary or benefits unless the interviewer brings them up. Answer questions with specific examplesavoid generalities. As you answer questions, avoid use of negative terms. Take advantage of the opportunity to sell yourself. The Interview How to “Sell yourself to an employer” – – – – Be confident and enthusiastic Listen carefully; be polite and tactful Show how your talents, training, and experience will help you get ahead Display your knowledge about the firm and the job you are seeking The Interview Keep in mind you are also interviewing the company. Do you want to work for this company? Is this the right position for you? The Interview… the last 5 or 10 minutes The easiest interview question: “Do you have any questions?” YES!!! Remember to comment on how interested you are in working for the company. Definitely ask… – – What kind of projects will I be involved in? What is the next step from here? Thank the interviewer for his/her time and get a business card to aid in future correspondence. Power Questions What are you most hoping to find in the person you hire? What would be my first priorities on the job? Based on what we’ve talked about today, I feel good about the position. Do you have any concerns about my ability to do the job? Phone Interviews Do your homework, just as you would for a face-to-face interview. It is important to prove that you can do the job, even though you are not speaking in person. Mind your mannerisms. – Smile… As you talk your voice will sound much more friendly and enthusiastic. Follow-Up Write a follow-up letter ASAP. Your letter should not exceed one page. Remind him/her of who you are and when you met. Express interest in the job and highlight your great qualities. Thank them again for taking the time to interview you. Close with, “I look forward to hearing from you”. If you need help in preparing letters to employers, refer to our webpage. Follow-Up CHECK LETTER FOR MISTAKES E-mails can also be appropriate Once the letter has been received, call the interviewer. What Happens After Co-Op Interview Day? Co-Op Interview Day is used by recruiters to begin the screening process. After Co-Op Interview Day you may get an offer or a 2nd interview. Warn your roommate about employer phone calls! What To Do If... What do you do if your #1 company choice has not contacted you and you receive an offer from someone else? What do you do if asked for a second interview? Remember! To keep in touch with the Co-Op Office. DO NOT CANCEL ANY INTERVIEWS! You can also add more “Office” Interviews and more “Mail” applications. Be sure to print your interview schedule. Take note of any employer cancellations! Keep in Mind… Rejection is part of job hunting. Sometimes you will not click with the interviewer. The more practice you get, the better you’ll get at interviewing. Want to review tonight’s presentation? Good Luck Next Week!