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Successful Interviewing

Successful Interviewing

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SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEWING
The “Art” of interviewing requires advance preparation and an understanding of the important role thatstrong communication skills play in this process. Motivation, enthusiasm, and competent communicationskills are key attributes to market in the interview. The following information provides a comprehensiveoverview of the interviewing process. Additional information is readily available in the Career ResourceCenter, and via many career-related Web sites.
Different Types of Interviews
 Basic Clarification:
The aim is to achievegreater understanding of what you claimin your resume as your education,experience, or accomplishments, as wellas your goals and expectations of your manager or the company.
 Behavioral:
 
The aim is to test whether youhave encountered challenges similar to thoseanticipated in the work place and how youhandled them.
Case Interviews:
 
The aim is to test whether you can comprehend a complex set of facts,create a framework for analyzing them, andarrive at a logical and useful conclusion.
Group Interviews:
 
The aim is to test maturity,self-marketing abilities, leadership, and teamorientation. Conducted as part of the on-siteinterview, the process may include multiplecandidates and interviewers, and team buildingexercises. This process also takes place as partof interviewing meals and receptions.
Three CommonInterviewing Mistakes
According to recruiters, the top threemistakes Vanderbilt students make are….
1.Not Researching the Company orPosition.
 
This does not mean you have tomemorize the annual report or thecompany's Web page. Look for current newsat:
www.cnnfn.com
,
www.smartmoney.com
, or 
http://finance.yahoo.com
. These sites aregreat ways to find information on acompany and help formulate questions toask the employer.
2.Not Having Clear Goals.
Have ashort-term and long-term career goal. Youdo not have to know what you will be doingevery year until you are 40, but knowingwhat you want to do beyond "just graduatingin May/December" is critical.
3.Not Having Business-RelatedAnswers
.
If 
 
an interviewer asks you togive an example of your ability to deal witha difficult individual, rather than answering“well, my roommate…”, instead use anexample from a past work experience. Your answer should be more business related,dealing with your work experience or work from a student organization that could be business related. Show that you are thinkingoutside of the “West End Bubble.”
Interviewing Tips
Remember that interviewers arelooking at you from a differentperspective.
"What type of presence doesthis person have? Would I feel confident placing this student in front of my peers, his peers, potential clients, and my bosses?"
Don't be afraid to clarify a point orquestion
in an interview. Ask theinterviewer to re-read the question or ask specifics.
Take something to write with andwrite on
. Use a nice folder or a leather  portfolio.
35
 
Have prepared questions to ask 
andhints/tips to yourself written down when yougo into an interview. You can also takenotes while the interviewer is talking anddevelop additional questions frominformation you learn in the interview.
If you need to take a moment to think of your best answer, do so.
Interviewersappreciate a well-informed answer versus arushed response that does not answer thequestion.
Provide detail in your answers.
A“yes” or “no” will not do. Use the STAR Method discussed later.
Look over sample interview questionsin advance
and formulate how you wouldanswer each one.
Be prepared with documentation.
Many employers ask for a transcript and/or an application. Be sure to bring the mostupdated copies with you to the interview.
Always be professional
, even if youknow the interviewer on a personal level.This includes when writing thank youletters/e-mails.
The Basics of Successful Interviewing
Before the Interview
 
1.
Know yourself and your goals
--communication of your skills, talents,interests, past successes, and settings inwhich you thrive allows the interviewer toassess your overall communication abilitiesand suitability for the opening/company.
2.
Know the employer and the position
--knowledge of a company's corporateclimate, financial stability, product/service,size, and reputation allows you to presentyour compatibility with the company.Knowledge about the position, includingqualifications and duties, can be researched by reading the job description and lookingon the company’s Web site under their careers section. Refer to Chapter 5 to findmore information on how to research potential employers.
3.
Anticipate tough questions and haveanswers prepared
--remaining cool under  pressure is crucial in any work environment.Your ability to handle stress in the interviewcan demonstrate your ability to handle stresson the job.
4.
Dress appropriately
--first impressionsaffect your chances of communicatingeffectively. A well-groomed, conservativeappearance, consistent with the work environment, demonstrates your compatibility with the company and assistsin developing a rapport with the interviewer.
5.
Arrive early
--you will have theopportunity to get a small picture of theoperation. You will appear eager and prepared!
During the Interview
 
1.
Be yourself 
--compatibility is a two-waystreet. If you feel you must put on an act to please the interviewer, it is unlikely that agood match exists.
2.
Be positive
--you need not offer negativeinformation. When it does come up, befactual and do not offer excuses. Relatelessons you learned as a result of pastfailures to demonstrate your maturity and judgment.
3.
Listen attentively
--answering theinterviewer's questions effectively dependsentirely upon your ability to hear thequestion. You must be prepared to addressthe issues raised in your interview as well asspecific questions.
4.
Speak clearly and make good eyecontact
--assessment of your composure,confidence, and oral communication skills isenhanced when you can meet theinterviewer eye-to-eye and express yourself clearly in the interview.
5.
Stress your compatibility with the job/company and your ability to do well
--the interviewer will be interested in concreteexamples of specific strengths, skills, or 
36
 
abilities you bring to the job. Relate pastsuccesses enthusiastically.
6.
Ask questions
--you will be expected toseek information from the interviewer aboutthe company, job responsibilities, work environment, competitors, corporate culture,and standards of performance leading togrowth within the company. Your questionsshould demonstrate your interest, sincerity,and preparation. Allow the interviewer to bring up issues regarding salary and benefits.
7.
Remember proper etiquette
--socialskills demonstrated in an interview are anindicator of your ability to represent theemployer in the workplace. Companies wantto hire individuals who will fit in easily.
After the Interview
 
Follow up with a thank you letter
--notonly is it proper, it also reminds theinterviewer of your interest in theopening/company.
Are You Ready for aBehavioral Interview?
"Tell me about a time when you were on a teamand one of the members wasn't carrying his or her weight." If this is one of the leadingquestions in your job interview, you could be infor a behavioral interview. Based on the premisethat the best way to predict future behavior is todetermine past behavior, this style of interviewing is gaining wide acceptance amongrecruiters.Today, more than ever, every hiring decision iscritical. Behavioral interviewing is designed tominimize personal impressions that can affectthe hiring decision. By focusing on theapplicant's actions and behaviors, rather thansubjective impressions that can sometimes bemisleading, interviewers can make moreaccurate hiring decisions.One Manager of Staff Planning and CollegeRelations for Occidental Chemical Corporationin Dallas, says, "Although we have notconducted any formal studies to determinewhether retention or success on the job here has been affected, I feel our move to behavioralinterviewing has been successful. It helpsconcentrate recruiters' questions on areasimportant to our candidates' success withinOccidental." The company introduced behavioral interviewing in 1986 at several sitesand has since implemented it company wide.
Behavioral vs. Traditional Interviews
If you have training or experience withtraditional interviewing techniques, you mayfind the behavioral interview quite different inseveral ways:
Instead of asking how you would behave ina particular situation, the interviewer willask you to describe how you
did 
behave.
Expect the interviewer to question and probe. Think of "peeling the layers from anonion.”
The interviewer will ask you to providedetails, and will not allow you to theorize or generalize about several events.
The interview will be a more structured process that will concentrate on areas thatare important to the interviewer, rather thanallowing you to concentrate on areas thatyou may feel are important.
You may not get a chance to deliver any prepared stories.
Most interviewers will be taking copiousnotes throughout the interview.The behavioral interviewer has been trained toobjectively collect and evaluate information, andworks from a profile of desired behaviors thatare needed for success on the job. Because the behaviors a candidate has demonstrated in previous similar positions are likely to berepeated, you will be asked to share situations inwhich you may or may not have exhibited these behaviors. Your answers will be tested for accuracy and consistency.
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