The employment interview is the single most important event in the entire job search process.
- Understand the purpose of the interview. The main objectives of the interview are to convince the employer that you are a desirable candidate, and for you to find out whether the employer is a good fit for you. A desirable candidate is:
- Poised, self-confident, mature, enthusiastic
- Pleasant to interact with
- Conscientious, reliable, has good judgment
- More interested in opportunities to grow rather than in immediate high compensation
- Adaptable, a fast learner
- Able and willing to work hard
- Eager to take on responsibility
- Interested in the particular firm
Ask questions, in order to elicit real information from your interviewer that will help you decide whether you want to work there. Be positive. Your answers should be upbeat in some way, conveying that you are enthusiastic, psychologically healthy, and pleasant to be around. Try to eliminate negative words such as “no”, “not”, “didn’t”, “although”, “but”, “however” from your speech. Most negatives can be presented in a positive way. Be Honest. Don’t let your enthusiasm cause you to exaggerate, and never pretend to know something- or someone- that you really don’t. No one expects you to be superhuman, so don’t try to avoid a question about your past or present job experiences or academic performance. Relax. Take the selection process seriously, but don’t add pressure by thinking that a wrong step will cause irreparable damage. Try to consider each interview to be a positive learning experience, regardless of the outcome.
Preparing For The Interview
- Self Assessment: Use your knowledge of yourself to develop self-confidence. Completely review your own background before the interview, and be prepared to discuss everything on your resume knowledgably. Be aware of both your strengths and weaknesses. Try to make up a short list of three to five of your strongest selling points, so that it will help distinguish you from other candidates. Assess your strong points and have them ready. State them at the opportune moment, calmly and clearly, without bragging but without undue modesty. The interviewer wants to know what you have to offer and doesn’t expect you to be demure about it.
- Research the employer. This will help you anticipate interview questions and to prepare thoughtful, intelligent questions to ask the interviewer. The more you know about the prospective employer, the better able you are to highlight relevant skills and demonstrate how your credentials correspond with the position for which you are applying. If you have researched the employer thoroughly, you can use your interview time to seek information that you were unable to find through available resources.
Typical Interview Questions:
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Why should we hire you?
- What do you know about our organization?
- In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our organization?
- How do you spend your free time?
- Tell me about yourself.
- Describe yourself in one word.
- What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
- What qualifications do you have that make you feel you will be successful in your area of interest?
- In what ways have your college experience prepared you for a career?
- Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?
- What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held?
- What type of people do you feel you work with best?
- What is your greatest personal asset? Your greatest weakness?
- How do you determine or evaluate success?
- What do you enjoy doing the most?
- What criteria are you using to evaluate the employer for which you hope to work?
- What two or three things would be most important to you in your job?
- How did you like ___ (work experience)?
- What are your ultimate career goals?
- What are your ideas about salary?
- Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten? Twenty?
- How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
- What one thing have you done that you’re most proud of?
- Why do you want to work in this city?
- Do you have any more questions?
- The First Impression: A job interview does not start with the first question. Hiring managers begin to assess candidates from the moment they arrive.
- Arrival Time: Arriving late is a serious misstep, but showing up too early could rattle your interview. Plan on showing up about ten minutes before the appointed time.
- Attire Appearances matter. Dress your best for the interview, regardless of the dress code at the organization.
- Body Language: Aim to look comfortable, but not too relaxed. Smile. Keep a natural posture, avoid crossing your arms, and do not fidget.
- Demeanor: You should be dignified, friendly, and confident. Shake hands firmly with everyone to whom you are introduced, and make eye contact. Avoid nervous mannerisms or nervous laughter. Before your depart, thank your interviewer and express your enjoyment of your meeting.
- What to Bring: Bring extra copies of your resume, in case the interviewer comes unprepared. Make sure your cell phone is not left on during an interview.