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University of Mississippi Career Center Effective Interviewing.

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Presentation on theme: "University of Mississippi Career Center Effective Interviewing."— Presentation transcript:

1 University of Mississippi Career Center Effective Interviewing

2 What are some of the goals of a job interview? to get a job to figure out if a position is right for you to provide potential employers with a stronger sense of why they should hire you, your skills, how you stand out to provide further articulation and illustration of the skills listed and experiences provided in your resume

3 Some Goals of a Job Interview Employer evaluates candidate ◦ skills applicable to the job ◦ competence to do the job ◦ potential to contribute to the team/organization ◦ ability to mesh with team’s/organization’s mission, philosophy, and environment Candidate evaluates employer ◦ match between interests and job tasks/work ◦ degree of responsibility and challenge ◦ potential for growth and further education ◦ ability to mesh with team’s/organization’s mission, philosophy, and environment

4 How can you best prepare for a job interview? dress appropriately  depends upon business; “dress for the job you want”; better to overdress back up documents; e.g., writing samples, copy of resume, transcripts, other docs, references; letters of recommendation (dossier or portfolio) research the company  Google the company, talk to people about what they know, BBB, Chamber of Commerce make sure you know how to get there

5 Four Keys to Success understanding what to expect preparing and researching anticipating questions following up

6 Understanding What to Expect Conversational Behavioral Case or situational Stress situation Types of Interviews all four of these interview types can be one-on-one or might be a panel conversation

7 typically a question-and-answer discussion usually a relatively short interview (e.g., 1 hour) interviewer’s main goals are to: ◦ assess whether or not the job-seeker has the skills and abilities to perform the job ◦ evaluate whether or not the job-seeker possesses the enthusiasm and work ethic that the employer expects ◦ analyze whether or not the job-seeker is a team player and will fit into the organization Types of Interviews: Conversational (Traditional)

8 typically an assessment of past performance interviewers will expect to hear about specific situations and/or scenarios initial questions are typically followed by follow-up questions specific, key details related to situations/scenarios are expected interviewer’s main goals are to: ◦ assess candidate’s behaviors and approaches by exploring specific situations ◦ analyze past behavior to try to predict future performance Types of Interviews: Behavioral

9 primarily used by management and consulting firms to determine how well a candidate fits in a field or job typically interviewee is provided a problem or a scenario and asked to work through it interviewer’s main goals are to: ◦ analyze how well interviewee can identify and work through a problem ◦ assess problem-solving skills ◦ evaluate tolerance for ambiguity and ability to start on tasks ◦ analyze communication skills Types of Interviews: Case or Situational

10 typically used for jobs where high degrees of stress will be encountered regularly interviewers sometimes rely upon rudeness, sarcasm, or outright hostility to provoke a response interviewer’s main goals are to: ◦ assess how well interviewee deals with unexpected and/or stressful situations ◦ evaluate how well interviewee can work and communicate under pressure Types of Interviews: Stress Situation

11 Preparing and Researching research the field research the employer research the job, team, and context

12 explore different branches review trade journals/magazines assess various career paths know the major players be familiar with current trends goals are to: ◦ be informed about who you are professionally (and what professional community you are entering) ◦ be able to talk widely and wisely about trends, techniques, and tasks performed by professionals within different facets of your field Preparing and Researching Research the Field

13 review annual reports read the organization’s mission statement and philosophy documents research the organization history familiarize yourself with the organizational scheme look for recent performance markers or success indicators goals are to: ◦ familiarize yourself with what the organization does ◦ familiarize yourself with what workers in the organization do, write, produce, create, etc. ◦ assess how the particular job for which you’re interviewing fits into the bigger organizational picture ◦ get a sense of the key players in and key outcomes of the organization ◦ develop a strong sense of what they might seek in an employee Preparing and Researching Research the Employer

14 review the original job post/call research the “jobs” or “employment” area of the organization’s web site make contact and try to get a stronger sense of the specific job responsibilities analyze your possible role in relation to the team, unit, or division you would work in find out who you would report to analyze how success is evaluated and rewarded Preparing and Researching Research the Job, Team, and Context

15 goals are to: ◦ answer the questions you should be asking yourself (e.g., is this really a job I want? what will I gain by getting this job? what do I bring that this organization needs? ◦ become knowledgeable so that you can speak specifically as to how you fit in the job, team, and context ◦ have a strong sense of what you will be expected to perform, and how that performance will be measured and evaluated ◦ address questions like:  what might I be asked to answer?  how will they expect me to answer?  how might I be expected to demonstrate what I know and what I can do?

16 Before the Interview sleep eat choose your clothes the night before prepare the materials you want to bring with you—ideally, this is done long before the interview

17 What types of materials would you want to bring to a job interview? Letter of Introduction Resume Work Samples References Letter of Recommendations

18 Getting Introduced prepare and practice a two-minute introduction: “I am… I am interested in…” prepare to ◦ demonstrate knowledge about the employer ◦ express enthusiasm and interest ◦ relate your background to the company’s needs

19 Anticipating Questions “Tell me about yourself.” Hint: They’re not asking for your life story, and it’s not a trick question… interviewer is looking for: ◦ a brief statement of your professional status and career objective ◦ some detail about your progression to this point and strengths/ skills you can offer them

20 A Heuristic for Answering Questions identify the skill sought by the question so that you can best focus your answer give a STAR answer: ◦ Situation—what was the context? ◦ T ask—what was the specific problem or need? ◦ A ction—what did you do? (produce, write, create, etc.) ◦ R esults/resolution—what did you learn? what skills did you develop?

21 STAR Example ◦ Situation  quickly explain the situation—what happened? who was involved (e.g., clients, coworkers, customers)? ◦ Task  what was the particular problem that needed to be resolved? ◦ Action  what specific action did you take to resolve the problem? what did you do or produce? ◦ Results/resolution  what were the results of your action? what did you take from this experience? Can you tell me about a time from your work experience when your manager or supervisor was unavailable and a problem arose?

22 At the End of the Interview review what you’ve heard and state why you’re interested in the position consider asking: ◦ is there anything else I can provide— specific references or example materials? ◦ what’s the next step in the process? when is your decision date? ◦ how can I contact you to check my status?

23 After the Interview send a thank you or letter after being interviewed tailor the letter to the organization and to the interview itself individualize a letter slightly if you’re sending it to more than one person in the organization send it within 24–48 hours of the interview goals: ◦ shows you’re courteous ◦ differentiates you from other candidates and keeps your name in front of the potential employer ◦ proves that you’re interested in the job

24 10 Interview Bloopers 1. poor handshake (limp hand, tips of fingers, arm pump) 2. talking too much (talking too long, but not answering direct questions; nervous talking) 3. talking negatively about current or past teams, coworkers, employers/managers 4. showing up late or way too early 5. treating the receptionist rudely

25 6. asking about benefits, vacation time, or salary in an initial interview 7. not preparing for the interview 8. verbal ticks (uhmmmm, like, you know) 9. not enough/too much eye contact 10. failure to match communication styles (e.g., too informal, too businesslike )

26 be yourself (not who you think they want you to be) be ready to talk about why you want the job (and think about how they might respond to your answer) ask ahead of time the format of the interview (e.g., panel/one- on one? expected to perform a task?) ask about the function of your job in the larger organization ask about how the specific position you are interviewing for fits in the larger unit/team/department and within the larger organization/company be prepared to actually do/perform/write a task during the interview process (e.g., writing documentation, marking up a document for editing) ask the interview what their favorite aspect of the job is (and, perhaps, what their least favorite is) find out how writing is perceived and how people negotiate textual ownership issues HINTS:

27 HINTS CONTINED : carefully consider who you ask which questions take notes with you (with your ideas, goals, questions); take notes during the interview learning opportunities and experiences not, never “problems” ask if the organization has a policy toward funding/supporting employee professional development opportunities (e.g., STC membership and conferences, further education) stay focused (even if it’s a long interview); take notes to help stay focused get comfortable with pauses and strategies for giving yourself a bit of time to prepare an answer stay upbeat! (there will be painful moments—learn from them and move on) don’t get flustered (if you can at all avoid it—and practicing really, really helps) recognize the gatekeepers! (e.g., initial phone interview with seemingly unrelated person)

28 Preparing for Job Interviews For more help on Interviewing contact The Career Center at and setup an appointment with a Career Advisor.


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