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The Focus Is You

The Interview 

Preparation

Spend time researching and thinking about yourself, the occupation, and questions you might ask at the end of the interview.

Know Yourself

Perform a thorough self-assessment so that you will know what you have to offer.

10 most marketable skills

  • Communication skills
  • Motivation/initiative
  • Teamwork skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Academic achievement
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Technical skills
  • Honesty/integrity
  • Work ethic
  • Analytical/Problem solving skills

These skills have been developed in numerous settings.  Don't overlook any abilities and experiences that you have.  Consider these questions...

  • How have I demonstrated the skills required for this position?
  • What are my strong and weak points?
  • What can I offer this employer?
  • Apart from my skills and experience, what can I bring to this position?

Know the Occupation and Organization

To present a convincing argument that you have the experience and skills required for the position, you must first know what those requirements are and information about the organization.

  • Conduct information interviews with people working in the field
  • Know the size of the organization
  • What is its history?
  • Have there been any recent changes?

Practice, Practice, Practice

It is better to fix it now...not later

Be Prepared

  • Prepare responses to possible questions
  • Prepare a list of questions to ask
  • Participate in Video Mock Interview or Peer Critique

Interview Day

First impressions are lasting

  • Review your resume
  • Arrive 10 minutes early
  • Eat something before the interview
  • Dress appropriately
  • Take a copy of your resume, credential file and portfolio (education), pen and paper
  • Shake hands—offer yours if they don't first
  • Wait until the interviewer sits or offers you a seat before sitting down
  • Keep nervous habits and body language in check
  • Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration
  • Ask when you should expect to hear from them

Answering Interview Questions

  • Smile and maintain eye contact—watch for clues from interviewer
  • Be aware of body language (yours and the interviewers)
  • Take time to quickly plan responses by pausing a couple of seconds before responding
  • If you don't understand a question, ask for clarification
  • Always expand...never answer a question with a "yes" or "no"
  • Always tie responses back to the position
  • Sell yourself and back up your responses with examples
  • Take care not to oversell
  • Be honest
  • Be very positive and avoid negative words
  • Don't complain about anything
  • Don't apologize that you don't have experience — sell what experience you do have
  • Don't be afraid to repeat important facts
  • Expect the unexpected

Asking Questions

  • Questions should elicit positive responses from the employer
  • Ask questions for which the answer was not readily available in literature or provided during the interview
  • Be careful to not ask too many questions
  • Avoid sounding critical by mentioning negative information you have gathered

Sample Questions (Be Prepared to Answer)

  • What are your long-range career goals, when and why did you establish these goals, and how are you preparing to achieve them?
  • What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How would a colleague describe you?
  • How has your college experience prepared you for a career?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What qualifications do you have that make you think you will be successful?
  • In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our organization?
  • Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and subordinates.
  • What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction?
  • What led you to choose your major field of study?
  • What have you learned from participation in extra-curricular activities?
  • In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?
  • Describe your part-time or summer jobs and explain what you learned from them.
  • How would you describe the ideal job for you following graduation?
  • What do you know about our organization?
  • What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
  • What criteria are you using to evaluate prospective employers?
  • Do you have a geographical preference? and Why?
  • Will you relocate?
  • Describe a major problem you encountered and how you dealt with it.

Sample Questions to Ask Employer

  • Are there professional growth opportunities for a person in this position?
  • What do you consider to be the strengths of this department/office?
  • How do administrators offer support if the need arises?
  • How would you characterize your department’s morale?
  • When will you be notifying candidates of your hiring decision?
  • What are your expectations for new hires?
  • What characteristics does a successful person have at your organization?
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The Focus Is You