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Sault College Career Essentials

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1 Sault College Career Essentials
Interviewing Skills

2 Supplement resume information
The interview is an exchange of information between an employer and you, the candidate for a position. The primary objectives are to: Supplement resume information Show that you understand your strengths and weaknesses and have a sense of direction Enable the employer to evaluate your personality and attitudes in terms of the demands of the organization and the position Allow you to gain information about the organization and the job Give you and the employer an opportunity to discuss the desirability of further contact or an offer of employment Check out the SJC Document “50 Greatest Interview Questions”

3 Interview Preparation
First impressions count! Be punctual, look neat, clean, and well-groomed Turn off cell phones and pagers Greet each interviewer with respect and professionalism Make eye contact while speaking Employers may engage you in small talk to break the ice – participate, but be aware that you are still being evaluated Select the appropriate clothing for the type of organization interviewing you-keep fashion accessories to a minimum

4 Appropriate Attire for Women
A conservative dark navy or gray skirted wool-blend suit is the standard Beige, brown, charcoal, olive green and dark khaki, are also acceptable colours Patterns such as solids, soft plaids, tweed and hounds tooth are preferable Avoid wearing a dress Blouses should be cotton or silk and should be white or another light colour Shoes should be low-heeled and panty-house should be flawless and plain Makeup should be minimal, and in conservative tones Opt for a briefcase rather than a purse Limit jewellery to subtle earrings, a simple necklace, and a watch Limit perfume and other strong smells due to possible allergies

5 Appropriate Attire for Men
Try to find out what the attire is like where you’ll be interviewing and dress to match it or go one notch above that A classic suit is appropriate for a business professional – however, a sport coat and pants can work if you are in retail or real estate If you are in construction or a trade, casual slacks or jeans may be acceptable Dark suits are always best, with a lighter shirt Charcoal, navy blue, and dark olive green are colours that work well Wear a light colour shirt and a tie that is darker than the shirt Wear a silk tie that rests at your belt buckle Black shoes are always best Limit jewellery to a watch and a wedding ring if appropriate Limit cologne and other strong smells due to possible allergies

6 Interview Preparation
Know yourself-what are your own values and goals? Know the company and the job-research the company and make notes of how your qualifications match those on the job advertisement Know the interview details-where and when does it take place, and with whom? Consider points to stress-think of certain qualifications that the employer should know about, and times when you have achieved distinctive success

7 Interview Checklist Bring 2 copies of your resume, references, examples of your work, a pen and notepad Arrive 15 minutes early Wait outside the interview room until the employer invites you in Introduce yourself to the interviewer with a firm handshake Monitor the messages you are sending with your body language (e.g., fidgeting, slouching, hands on face, elbows on table) Maintain eye contact with the interviewer Project your voice using a positive tone Be aware of your facial expressions, as well as those of the interviewer Maintain a professional and courteous manner at all times

8 Interview Checklist Avoid yes or no responses – provide specific examples of your skills, qualifications and experience Answer questions honestly Avoid using slang expressions such as “ya” or “ya know” Listen carefully; ask for clarification if necessary Stay focused on the question and avoid long meandering responses Do not chatter needlessly in order to fill silences Take your time and think about your responses Take notes if necessary Be prepared to ask intelligent questions At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer and ask for a business card, then shake hands and leave

9 Types of Questions: Behaviour-Based
Behaviour-based questions are designed to elicit information about how you have performed in the past. These questions usually begin with phrases such as the following: “Tell me about a time when…” “Give me an example of…” Here is a list of common behaviour-based interview themes – use these to prepare for potential questions: Working effectively under pressure Handling a difficult situation with a co-worker Applying good judgement and logic in solving a problem Thinking creatively Completing a project on time Persuading team members to do things your way

10 The Situational/Hypothetical Question
An interviewer will use these questions to establish how you would react to and handle real-life situations on the job. Here are some examples: If you had met your project deadlines and your direct supervisor was unavailable, describe how you would remain busy. During construction, a contractor unexpectedly finds a very large object in one of the trenches where he is about to dig. He requests that you tell him how to proceed. How would you deal with the situation? You have a conflict with someone who is senior to you and is not your supervisor. Describe how you would handle it.

11 The Skill-Testing Question
Skill testing questions can be hands-on and are common in technical, scientific, and industrial/manufacturing fields. Here are some examples: Describe the difference between server-side and client-side scripting Provide a brief description of a diode Explain how to use an increment bore If you don’t know the answer, indicate your interest in learning. You may want to supplement an answer with something else that you do know.

12 The Problem-Solving Question
Examples of Problem-Solving questions would be: How many automobiles are there in Sault Ste. Marie? Estimate the size of the DVD rental market in Vancouver. Do not worry about the “right” answer, but to engage in a logical thought process that might lead you to the right answer. This 5-step process will help: Listen to what is being asked Ask clarifying questions to determine what the interviewer is asking Respond by explaining how you would gather data to make an informed decision Discuss how you would use that data to generate options Based on the data gathered, the available options, and your understanding of the position, explain how you would make an appropriate decision

13 Character Questions Can you identify three character traits that have made you successful? There are no right or wrong answers here – outline your positive traits that have aided your performance. Examples might include: Integrity, Ethics, Hard-Worker, Life-Long Learner, etc. What is your greatest weakness? Turn this question around and discuss an area that needs improvement, not an outright weakness. Give one or two examples of something that will not affect your ability to do the job. Reference a skill such as training in a certain area, something that can be easily acquired.

14 Difficult Questions and How to Handle Them
How do you explain the employment gaps that appear on your resume? Here you must deliver a clear and credible response. You need to convince the employer that you will not jump ship or quit shortly after being hired. If you have been incarcerated or ill you need to be upfront and honest about it, but explain to the employer that you have recovered and are looking forward to making a contribution to the work environment. I see you have had many jobs over the last five years. What seems to be the problem? Today job chopping is an issue for many workers because of corporate restructuring. If your job was eliminated, explain the situation honestly.

15 Classic Interview Questions to Prepare for
Tell me about yourself. What are your short-& long-term goals? How are you preparing to meet them? What is your mission statement? What do you think you will be looking for in the job following this position? Why do you feel you will be successful in this line of work? What supervisory or leadership roles have you had? What did you like/dislike about your last job? What motivates you to do a good job? What are your strengths/weaknesses? Why did you apply to our organization and what do you know about us? What courses did you like best/least? Why? What did you learn from your co-op or internship experiences?

16 Telephone Interviewing Tips
Begin by saying “I know we are unable to see each other, and this may make things difficult. If I say something you don’t understand, please let me know” Have a list of questions and important points about you or the company handy for quick reference When asked for this information, slowly recite the points you have written Use a cordless phone so you can walk around the room if needed Don’t interrupt the interviewer. Keep a pen and pencil handy so you can write down ideas and then address them when it’s your turn to talk Keep your resume available and handy at all times-be ready to provide examples of achievements and accomplishments with confidence Keep answers short – about 30–45 seconds for answering the average question

17 Overall, Employers are Looking for Employees Who:
Are punctual, arriving on time and staying until quitting time Are dependable Have a good attitude Have drive, energy and discipline Are there for more than a pay cheque Are self-disciplined, well organized, motivated and good at time management Can work on a computer Are committed to team work Are flexible and can respond to/adapt when circumstances change Are project- and goal oriented Have creativity and are good at problem solving

18 Your Own Questions You may have some questions that should be answered during the interview: What does this job involve? You want to understand exactly what tasks will be asked of you, so that you can determine if they’re something you would really like to do. What are the skills a top employee in this job would have to have? You want to know if your skills match those in order to do this job well. Are these the kinds of people I would like to work with, or not? Do not ignore your intuition if it tells you that you would not be comfortable working with these people. You want to know if they have the kind of personality that would make it easy for you to accomplish your work, and if they share the values which are important to you.

19 Making a Graceful Exit Choose the right words for a graceful exit, for example: “I hear that you are a great company to work for. I think we would make a good match.” “What you have told me about the job really excites me. I want to be part of your team.” “This sounds like an excellent opportunity. I believe I could make a great contribution here.” Do not say things like “You’ve gotta have me!” or put time limits on the employers. You will be eliminated for using these tactics.


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