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HANDOUT:

#6

COURSE:
INSTRUCTOR:

Communication Skills
Kamil Siddiqi

Interviewing for a Job


Most students have little or no experience in interviewing for a career position. Such interviews
can be ego threatening and even traumatic, especially when an interviewer asks a question the
interviewee is not prepared to answer, for example: What is your major weakness?
As applicants progress through a number of interviews, however, they will become more
confident and be able to sell themselves because they have learned from practice and from their
own mistakes. THE MORE INTERVIEWS THE APPLICANTS HAVE, THE GREATER THE PROBABILITY
THAT THEY WILL BE OFFERED A JOB.

Job interviews come mainly from the following sources:


a. direct-mail approaches
b. newspaper advertisements
c. networking
d. college placement offices or
e. on-line want ads
Direct-mail Approach
If you send your application to one hundred selected firms, you can expect a rejection rate of
more than 85 percent. However, should you get six or seven job interviews from such a
campaign, your strategy has been successful.
Newspaper Advertisements
Newspapers and periodicals carry advertisements for a variety of job openings. You must prepare
a most comprehensive and convincing cover letter and resume for each opening, relevant to your
qualifications. Cover letters about known job openings differ somewhat from letters in a directmail campaign.
Networking
Networking is contacting FRIENDS, FRATERNITY, FAMILY MEMBERS, NEIGHBORS, and
ACQUAINTANCES who may know of job openings. Some experts estimate that as many as 90
percent positions are filled through word-of-mouth announcements.
College Placement Office
The placement office is more individualized and, in some cases, leads directly to an interview.
The placement office is a valuable location to find latest publications. Many companies send
placement offices their annual reports and other recruiting literature.
On-line Want Ads
Job announcements are also accessible with your computer. Many governments and universities
post their openings, and may offer a database of openings other than their own. Another approach
is to scan the home pages of companies on the World Wide Web. The home pages are prepared
by the company and have interconnected information, often including job openings.

Interview Planning
Planning is of paramount importance to the job interview.
Reviewing Your Qualifications
The interviewer looks for a match between company and job applicant. Your goal is to show this
match during the interview, to demonstrate that the pieces of this job selection puzzle do fit
together. Trained interviewers are not interested in statements, such as I am a self starter,
unless you can give evidence of your initiative. Be prepared to show that you are: DEPENDABLE,
ADAPTABLE, MATURE, and so on.
Any activity in which you have been involved can provide the necessary evidence. For example,
playing basketball or any other team sport requires the ability to work with others.
Earning part or all of your college expenses shows initiative.
A clear and logical explanation of why you changed majors or transferred from one
school to another can indicate decision-making ability and, perhaps, adaptability.
Leadership skills can be shown through various activities, including: working as a
counselor in a summer camp; or training your replacement for a job you left.
Researching the Company
Recruiters point to the interviewees lack of knowledge about the company as a serious
shortcoming. Companies ANNUAL REPORTS are the best source of such knowledge. A candidate
equipped with the following information, has a brighter chance of picking the job than the
ignorant one:

SIZE OF THE COMPANY


ITS PRODUCTS OR SERVICES
ITS POSITION IN THE INDUSTRY
ITS HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
THE LOCATION FROM WHICH IT OPERATES
ITS FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS
ITS EMPLOYMENT SITUATION
TYPES OF JOBS BEING FILLED IN IT

THE SUBSIDIARY SITUATION and


ITS PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

Types of Interview
i.
ii.
iii.
iv.
v.
vi.
vii.
viii.

Screening interview
Open-ended interview
Panel interview
Group interview
Stress interview
Office visit interview
Video-tape interview and
Computer interview

Screening interview sorts out potential candidates into groups to interview further, to reject, or to
hold for future decision. These interviews typically last about 30 minutes.
Open-ended interview follows no clear-cut pattern. Your answer to an initial question may
determine the next question.
Panel interview involves one interviewee and more than one interviewer. You might feel the
pressure of two or more interviewers questioning and observing you. But on the other hand, if the
company believes an interview with you is important enough to justify the time of two or more
recruiters, perhaps they are already impressed with you.
Group interview is the opposite of panel interview. In it, several interviewees are present with
one interviewer. You are likely to encounter a group interview in a social setting, such as a party
to which many candidates are invited, or a mass screening when there are a large number of
applicants for a few positions. Do try to impress your interviewer, but avoid direct comparison to
others in the room.
Stress interview is probably the most unpleasant of the eight categories. The interviewer places
you in a stressful situation and then carefully observes you. Today they are less frequent. For
high-level, high-stress executive jobs you are more likely to face stress interviews.
Office visit interview is not a single interview but a series of interviews that may incorporate
many of the other categories. A six- or seven-hour day, including lunch and coffee breaks with
company officials, is not unusual. Other activities, you may face, include psychological or ability
testing, building tours, discussion with potential peers or subordinates, and filling out of
application or travel reimbursement forms.
Videotape interview occurs in one or two ways. In some cases, the job applicant, on his own
initiative, may submit a videotape showing performance, describing personal characteristics,
explaining interest in the field and background strengths, and perhaps providing some personal
data. In other cases, companies ask applicants to respond to a series of questions while being
taped, either at the company or at a place of the applicants choosing. The videotape can reduce
recruiter time, allow replays, save travel expenses, and still transmit important applicant
characteristics, such as preparation, enthusiasm, and communication ability.
Computer interview requires the applicant to complete a survey of direct and indirect questions.
It allows development of a database and statistical analysis and minimizes costly face-to-face
interaction.
Most interviews are conducted by a PRACTITIONER or a PERSONNEL OFFICE SPECIALIST.
Flow of interview
A description of a typical screening interview will help you prepare for it. The interview may last
from 15 to 45 minutes, but 30 minutes is traditional. A typical 30-minute period might be broken
down as follows:
First 5 minutes:
Introduction, small talk, questions of low priority
Next 10 minutes: Focus on interviewees abilities and responses to interviewers questions.
Next 10 minutes: Responses by interviewer to interviewees questions
Last 5 minutes:
Closing comments, explanation of next steps

Questions most frequently asked


1. What are your future vocational plans?
2. In what school activities have you participated? Why? Which did you enjoy most?
3. How do you spend your spare time? What are your hobbies?
4. In what type of position are you most interested?
5. Why do you think you might like to work for our company?
6. What jobs have you held? How were they obtained? Why did you leave?
7. What percentage of your college expenses did you earn? How?
8. Why did you choose your particular field of work?
9. What course did you like best? Least? Why?
10. How did you spend your vacations while in school?
11. What do you know about our company?
12. Do you feel that you have received a good general training?
13. What qualifications do you have that make you feel you will be successful in your
fields?
14. What extracurricular offices have you held?
15. What are your ideas on salary?
16. How interested are you in sports?
17. If you were starting college all over again, what courses would you take?
18. Can you forget your education and start from scratch?
19. Do you prefer any specific geographic location? Why?
20. How much money do you hope to earn at age 30? 35?
21. Why did you decide to go to this particular school?
22. How did you rank in your graduation class in high school? Where will you probably
rank in college?
23. Do you think your extracurricular activities were worth the time you devoted to them?
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