October 18, 2013

Top Tips to Get You Ready for Interviews

It’s recruiting season …are you interview-ready?

Believe it or not, many companies are preparing for their summer internship and FT needs. As many of you already know, companies don’t work around your midterm schedule or when a big project is due. Hopefully you've already found some strategies to carve out time to focus on your career search (identifying companies and industries of interest, contacting alumni and applying online.) If a company is interested in you, they may only give you a 1-2 days of notice for an interview. And if that happens, we want you to be prepared!

Many times, students come into the Career Management Office with a job description and say, “Help me! I have an interview and I don’t know how to prepare.” The interview is the company’s chance to assess your fit with the organization, communication skills and technical abilities. So here are some general tips to get you interview-ready!

1.       Research the company and position. Showcase your specific interest in their company. If you can articulate the connection between you and the company; you become a stronger candidate because it showcases what draws you to that specific company.
2.       Talk with your connections to learn about company culture and insights on the interview process. Err on the side of being more professional.
3.       Take a deep breath and stay positive. When people are nervous, they tend to be a bit quieter and more reserved. Smile, make eye contact and say your name confidently.
4.       Use the job description to determine the types of questions they will ask. Does the job description have technical requirements? What are the top 3 listed responsibilities?

There are 4 categories of questions to prepare:
1.       Background/Resume questions. Know your resume inside and out. Anything on your resume is fair game and you should be prepared to explain and talk about any part of it. (Tell me about yourself.)
2.       Behavioral based questions are when the interviewer will use your past experiences as an indicator of your future performance in their company. Practice using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Results) method for answering these questions in 2 minutes or less. (Tell me about a time when you led a team through a difficult task.)
3.       Goal oriented questions will showcase how you see the particular position fitting in with your career goals. (Where do you see yourself in 5 years? How does this internship fit in with your long term career goals?)
4.       Your questions. Traditionally, every interview has time at the end for candidates to ask the interviewer questions. Have at least 1 question that showcases the research you've done on the company/position. (In my research, I saw that sustainability is a new focus for this group. Can you share any changes that have been made to support this focus area?)

If you want more details or sample questions, you can stop by the Career Management Office or check out our interview preparation tips for more resources. 

Let us know if you have any questions and we’re always here to help!

Jamie Elwell is the Director of Career Development at the Weatherhead School of Management.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I really love this post. Addition for the tips is you must be relax and be comfortable. Don't stress yourself and believe in your self.

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