Student s Guide To Interviewing..

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1 Student s Guide To Interviewing.. Provided by: Linda Thurman, Faculty Associate for The Office of Student Professional Development and Success, The W S Lee College of Engineering Congratulations! You have been invited to a job interview. Based on your resume and cover letter, your qualifications match those the employer is seeking in a candidate. The next step is the interview, where you will have the opportunity to convey to an employer your interest in the position and to present the skills you could bring to the job. The resume tells an employer what you've done; the interview enables you to tell the employer what you have learned from what you've done. Remember that an interview is a two-way street. It is a chance for you to get to know each other and to assess if this position and firm is a good fit. The interview allows you to gain insight into the job and the organization, and it enables the employer to determine if you have the skills and abilities needed to be an effective member of his/her organization. PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW Preparation is critical in conveying a positive and polished image and having a productive and successful interview. Before going on your first interview, there are three steps to take in order to prepare yourself. 1. Know Yourself Think about your skills, interests, and values. Consider your strengths and weaknesses. Be able to discuss decisions you have made and the thought behind them. Identify accomplishments you are proud of and things you might have done differently. Provide examples to demonstrate how you have developed your skills. Be able to articulate why you are interested in this field. Define your long-term goals. 2. Know the Employer and the Field Research the employer, the position, and the industry or field. Know what salary range is usual for this type of position. Read current periodicals and trade journals to learn about current trends in the field. Review mission statements, annual reports, and company literature. Think about the firm's competitors, its clients or customers. Be familiar with the employer's organizational structure. 3. Practice for the Interview Meet with an experienced individual to review your interview strategy. Participate in a videotaped mock interview. Review interview questions with a friend and/or use a tape recorder to critique your answers. Additional Tips Be your "best" self; let them get to know you and what you can bring to the organization. Think about what an employer wants to know and prepare examples. Prepare a game plan or strategy for every interview; make sure you share the information that you feel is most appropriate and relevant. Keep to the point. Don't bring up extraneous matters. Be as specific as possible. Don't try to dominate the interview. Let the interviewer guide the questions. Ask appropriate and well thought out questions.

2 Don't expect an offer on the spot. THE INTERVIEW Employers hope to learn as much as possible about you in the interview. They will be paying attention to: Nonverbal Communication Skills Messages are conveyed during the interview by what you say and by how you say it. Positive nonverbal communication will reinforce your verbal message. Greet the employer with a firm handshake. Maintain steady eye contact with the interviewer. Use positive vocal qualities and facial expressions. Sit attentively to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm. Dress in a suitable manner to convey a polished, professional image. Verbal Communication Skills Listen carefully to what is being asked and answer the question. Ask for clarification if you don't understand the question. Use clear, concise answers. Use proper grammar. Don't exaggerate and don't be negative. Be specific; refer to concrete experiences. Interview Etiquette Arrive on time. Introduce yourself. Get the correct spelling of the person's name and his/her exact title. Ask for a business card. Don't call the interviewer by his/her first name, unless invited to do so. Don't ask about salary and benefits until the employer brings up the subject. Send a thank you note promptly. BEHAVIOR-BASED INTERVIEWS More and more employers are now conducting job interviews that focus on experiences, behaviors and dimensions that are job related. Behavior-based interviewing rests on the premise that past behavior (performance) predicts future behavior (performance). Examples of past behavior may be drawn from courses, work experience, activities or internships. Your answer to a behavior-based question must tell a story by giving a specific example of a situation you handled successfully. If your response is not specific, you will find that the interviewer will continue to probe until you have provided concrete examples. To prepare: analyze both your skills and those sought by the employer; identify examples from your past experience where you demonstrated those skills. Be prepared to answer questions such as : "Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult boss." "Give me an example of a situation where you took charge." "Please describe a situation in which you were involved in a project as part of a team."

3 FIRST (ON-CAMPUS) INTERVIEWS AND SECOND ROUND INTERVIEWS The on-campus interview is a screening interview that will determine whether you are invited on-site for the next round. is an opportunity for you to present your qualifications and to express your enthusiasm about the position typically last about 30 minutes. is usually conducted by a friendly, encouraging individual who is trained to follow a fairly structured line of questioning. His or her main job is to make a recommendation about your candidacy. Since the recruiter will expect that you have researched the organization, you should plan to attend the employer information sessions that many employers offer on campus prior to conducting on-campus interviews. The second round interview Is an in-depth interview Is usually conducted at the place of employment by the person who has the authority to recommend hiring. May require responding to technical questions, or discussing a case study if you are interviewing at a financial services or consulting firm. May involve a tour of the organization and opportunities to meet with other employees. Can range in length from 60 minutes to a full day. An in-depth interview may involve interviewing with one person, interviewing with several different people in a series of one-on-one meetings, or interviewing with a group of people. When you are setting up the interview, be sure to ask what the schedule will involve and with whom you'll meet. In a group interview it is best to answer the interviewers' questions in turn and maintain eye contact with the individual whose question you are answering. Make an effort to make occasional eye contact with all of the individuals involved in the group interview. Keep in mind that you are being interviewed and observed throughout the time that you are visiting the organization, not only during the formal office interview. Don't say or do something when you think you are no longer being interviewed, such as during dinner with some of the younger employees, which may later be seen as "unprofessional". Remember, you are involved in the interview process from the moment you arrive until the time you depart. In each and every interview situation, there are common questions that will be asked. Don't wait until the interview to decide your response. Be prepared and think through your answers before you arrive. SAMPLE QUESTIONS ASKED BY EMPLOYERS 1. Questions about your college experience Why did you choose UNC Charlotte? Why did you choose your major? Which classes and subjects did you like the best? Least? Why? Do you think your grades are a good indication of your academic ability? Describe your most rewarding college experience. Have you participated in any extracurricular activities? What have you learned from participating in them? What do you like to do in your free time? 2. Questions about your characteristics What do you consider to be your major strengths and weaknesses? How would a friend or a professor who knows you well describe you? What accomplishment has given you the most satisfaction? What major problem have you encountered and how did you deal with it? 3. Questions about your work experience

4 What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held? What job have you enjoyed the most? What kind of work environment do you prefer? How did you like your last job and why did you leave? How did you get along with your former boss and co-workers? 4. Questions about the position/employer Why did you decide to seek a position with this firm/organization? What do you know about our firm/organization? What criteria are you using to evaluate a particular firm/organization? What factors are important to you in a job? What are you looking for in a supervisor? Do you have a geographic preference? Are you willing to travel? How do you handle pressure? How do you evaluate success? What are your long-term goals? Where do you see yourself in five years/ten years? 5. Open-ended questions Tell me about yourself. Why should I hire you? What makes you unique? What are your salary expectations? If we make an offer, how long do you plan to stay with the company? Are you interested in promotional opportunities? How do you work with others? Are you a leader... a follower? What is your ideal position and career path? Is there anything you would like to say to close the interview? Remember, listening, confidence and quality of presentation are the keys to successful interviewing. SAMPLE QUESTIONS TO ASK DURING AN INTERVIEW 1. Please describe the typical path of a in this firm/organization. 2. What will be my opportunities for advancement? 3. Where will this job fit into the organizational structure? 4. How will I be evaluated? 5. What issues or concerns are facing this department/organization/firm now? 6. What are the goals for this department/organization/firm for the upcoming year? 7. What new projects has this department/organization/firm undertaken recently? 8. Do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications that I might answer for you? 9. When may I expect to hear from you? What is the nature of your search process? THE END OF THE INTERVIEW At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. Make a short, concise summary of your qualifications and stress your interest in the position: "This interview has convinced me that my abilities match your needs. I am very interested in the position. Could I call you in a few days to check on the status of my application?"

5 AFTER THE INTERVIEW Within a few days after your interview, send a short thank you letter to refresh the employer's memory of you. This is your opportunity to mention any experience or skills that were not discussed in your interview. Try to offer new information, if possible. Use resume quality paper and type the letter. A "post-interview assessment" can help improve your technique and continue to build your confidence and skills. Analyzing the interview, and talking about how you were feeling during and after it, can be very helpful in preparing for the next interview. Consider: Discussing the interview with someone who listens well and cares about your success. Comparing notes with others who have gone through the interviewing process. Asking yourself: o What were my strengths in the interview? o What did not go as planned? o What can I do differently next time?? Keep in mind that the art of effective interviewing takes practice. Good luck! Source: Brandeis University and by Wendy S. Enelow of The Advantage, Inc. used with permission Questions about Yourself Tell me about yourself. What qualification do you have that indicate you will be successful in your field? How would it relate to our position? What do you have to offer? Describe three things that are most important to you in a job. What have you done which shows initiative and willingness to work? What do you consider to be your strengths? Your weakness? Tell me about a challenging situation or issue you had to overcome? What do co-workers say about you? Are you a team player? What is your philosophy towards work? Tell me about a suggestion you have made Tell me about your ability to work under pressure. What motivates you to do your best on the job? Describe your management style. Do you have any blind spots? Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a dispute between others. What position do you prefer on a team working on a project? Describe your work ethic. Career Goals or Plans What would you like to be doing 2-3 years from now? What type of position (s) are you interested in and why? How do you stay on top of topics, issues or technologies in your field? What do you expect from a job and/or from our company? What are your plans to further your education or level of knowledge? (grad school, P.E. licensure) Are you able to relocate or travel if needed? (domestically or international) What do you like most about engineering? What qualities do you think a successful engineer needs to posses? What have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year? Are you applying for other jobs? How long would you expect to work for us if hired?

6 If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Tell me about your dream job. What is more important to you: the money or the work? School/Education How does your education relate to this position (or how has your education prepare you for this position)? Why did you choose this engineering major? Why did you choose UNC Charlotte? What career related skills do you possess as a result of your academic preparations? What is your current GPA? (Too low? ask why isn t it higher?) Tell me about your most relevant class project or assignment? What activities do/did you engage in at school? What experience did you gain? How do you spend your time away from school? Interests, hobbies, etc What has your experience been in working in teams or in a team environment? Talk with me about your computer/technical skills: have you worked on:? How would your classmates and/or professors describe you? Previous Experience What have you learned from your past jobs, internships or co-ops? What specific skills acquired or used in previous jobs relate to this position? How does your previous experience relate to this position or to our company? Why did you leave your last job? Have you ever been asked to leave a position? What irritates you about co-workers? What has disappointed you about a job? What kind of person would you refuse to work with? What would your previous supervisor say your strongest point is? Tell me about a problem you had with a supervisor What have you learned from mistakes on the job? Tell me about the most fun you have had on the job. What has been your biggest professional disappointment? Specific to the Company/Job Why should we hire you? What do you know about our company and/or industry? Why do you think you would like this type of position? Industry? Company? What interests you about our product or services? How would you improve it? What kind of salary are you seeking? Why do you think you would do well at this job? What are you looking for in a job? Do your skills match this job or another job more closely? How would you know you were successful on this job? Are you willing to put the interests of the organization a head of your own? If you were hiring a person for this job, what would you look for? Do you think you are overqualified for this position? How do you propose to compensate for your lack of experience? What qualities do you look for in a boss? Do you have any questions for me?

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