Job Interview Training
Interviewers will have no interest in you if you wait until the interview to prepare. Take preparation seriously. And if you don’t get the interview or the job, don’t get disheartened. You’ll need to send several resumes to get one interview and have several interviews before being offered a job. Look at each interview as practice.
Before the Interview
• Be sure to know how to get there, when you’re expected (date & time) and whom to report to.
• Know what skills the job requires and how your qualifications match those skills. Think of specific events that demonstrate you have the required skills.
• Prepare your resume for that specific company.
• Prepare answers to possible questions.
• Write down questions you may wish to ask the interviewer.
• Learn about the company.
• Make sure your hair is clean and groomed. Most employers want men’s hair to be short.
• Dress appropriately. Most often, men should wear a suit, shirt and tie and women should wear a dress or pant suit.
For the Interview
• Take two copies of your resume.
• Have a list of three references – people who know your character. Include each reference’s name, address, company, position and work phone. Ask references in advance for permission to list them.
• Have your work permit or other legal documents, if you’re an international student.
• Take a notebook and pen that works.
• Don’t take relatives or friends.
After the Interview
• Make notes on questions you were asked, to help with future interviews.
• Review notes you may have made, and fill in any details you didn’t have time to write.
• Prepare for a second interview.
• Decide if you want the job. You may decide that the company is not for you.
• Write a letter to thank them for their time. Do this right away. It helps to keep your name in the mind of the interviewer.
• If a job is offered, write to thank them and to confirm your acceptance.
• If you don’t hear from them in a reasonable time, call and inquire if they’ve made a decision.
Questions tell interviewers about your background and personality. In answering questions, say enough but not too much. Answer honestly but accentuate the positive. If you do not get the job, the interview was still good practice. Try doing several interviews before going on the job you really want. Remember, an interviewer is looking for balance not extremes. Be courteous but not submissive, confident but not aggressive, relaxed but not slovenly.
Questions to Expect
Questions generally fall into common categories:
• “Tell me about yourself.” Talk about accomplishments, skills, and abilities. Avoid talk of family, hobbies, or interests unless requested.
• “Describe a time when….” Use stories from your life to illustrate skills the company wants. Don’t use them all to answer one question. Often you will be asked how you have handled workplace conflict.
• “What are your worst characteristics/failures?”
Be honest but not negative. If you hate math consider “I’m not fond of math, I’ve always preferred English.” Confessing a failure shows maturity, but pick one unrelated to the job.
• “Why do you want this job?/Where will you be five years from now?” Be prepared to express your desires and match your skills to the position. The answer you give pertaining to your future needs to show ambition and commitment.
• “Give reasons why I should NOT hire you”
If you’ve applied for the job, there are no valid reasons you should not be hired.
• Personality questions: These often include a why? For example, who are your heros and why? If you were a piece of furniture what would you be and why? To answer the more off-the-wall questions, focus first on the why and then find an object/hero that fits the characteristic.
• Salary questions: Salary and benefits should be mentioned first by the interviewer. If asked what salary you want, ask what the job pays. If pressed, give a range.
• Current employment questions: If you dislike your current employment, avoid launching into how much you hate your company or boss. Confessing to differences of opinion is okay but don’t appear a trouble-maker or habitual complainer.
• Academic Questions: If you did poorly in school, don’t lie about it. Instead, emphasize improvements made. Saying you disliked school may indicate that on-the-job training would be lost on you.