Interviewers come in many styles, shapes, and sizes. They may be trained professionals or rank beginners. They may be pleasant and encouraging or rude and opinionated. Likewise, there are several kinds of interviews, depending on the personality and preferences of the interviewer and the instructions from the employer. Generally, in on-campus and consortia interviews students will be involved initially with a screening interview, one from which the interviewer makes a recommendation about whether to consider a candidate further. The screening interview is usually (but not always) conducted by a friendly, encouraging individual who has been trained to follow a fairly structured line of questioning.

Telephone Be ready for a telephone interview from the moment you apply for a position. Many times a company will ask you questions the first time they contact you to begin assessing your qualifications. Keep a list with you of the positions you have applied for, the company it is with, the job description and any other pertinent information. The fact that they cannot see you is a challenge but also a benefit, use your notes. Group Some employers will interview several candidates at the same time or you might find yourself in a social setting with the other candidates during the interview process. Keep in mind that the employer is always evaluating you. You want to be seen as a team player.

Panel A panel is the reverse of the group interview. There are several people from the employer. You might be interviewed by 210 people at the same time. Be sure to make eye contact with each person. When a question is asked you want to direct 50% of your eye contact to the person that asked the question and the other 50% to the other members of the panel. Try to get everyone’s contact information so that you can write each of them a thank you letter. One-On-One This is the traditional format for interviews. Make good eye contact and try to match their “style”. If they are very conservative and don’t smile it would not be a good idea to try humor in the interview. On-Campus The main challenge is that you usually only have 30 minutes with the recruiter. So be sure to use all the time to your advantage. If there are company representatives in the waiting area, take advantage of the extra “face time” by speaking with them. Remember, they are always evaluating you On-Site When you get an interview that is at the employer’s place of business you need to stay on your toes. You want to be nice to everyone from the receptionist to people you pass by in the parking lot. You never know what their position is at the company. Plan your route to the location and make sure you allow for traffic. You do not want to be late to an interview! Arrive about 15 minutes early but you want to be near the employer about 1 hr before your interview so you can make sure you have everything together. Take the last 45 minutes to get some water or a bite to eat if you are hungry.


What Employers tell
When asked what they look for in potential employees, many employers respond by mentioning all or most of the following traits: A well-written resume and cover letter Demonstrated initiative and uniqueness in approaching the employer Following up with the employer to schedule interview

Employers look for more than technical or specific job-related skills when hiring new employees. Certain characteristics have been found to be essential in developing an effective team. Employers look for these characteristics during the hiring process. Knowing these characteristics and being able to identify them in yourself will enhance your success at interviews and increase your chances of getting the job that you desire. Certain characteristics that are highly desirable to employers are:

Excellent listening skills Strong written and verbal communication skills Problem-solving skills Proven ability to get along well with co-workers Dedication, reliability and good attendance record For an interviewer to identify your strengths in these areas, they need to ask behavior-based or situational questions such as “Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a co-worker, and how you resolved it.” This type of question is becoming more and more common in interviews. Make sure to offer examples when asked open-ended questions. Answering with just a “yes” or “no” leaves the employer wondering if you truly stand behind your answer.

Interview Information
The Purpose of an Interview : Communicate information about yourself – convince employer to hire you because you are qualified for the position Goal of Candidate: Gather information on position and employer. Evaluate position, job-setting, co-workers.Determine if position is suitable – “Do I want to work here?”


Goal of Interviewer: Promote organization. Attract the best candidate, gather information, and assess candidate’s qualifications. Determine if the candidate fits the position. Research the Position Make sure you understand the details, requirements, and responsibilities of the job you are applying for. This information can be typically found by reviewing interview bulletins, recruiting information, and company literature. Additionally, conducting your own informational interviews can often provide valuable information. Finally, be able to relate your skills and qualifications to the stated job responsibilities.

Research the Organization How long has it existed? What is its mission? What does it produce? Who does it serve? Size? & Location? Visit the organization's website to help you research companies and organizations. In addition, expand your search by conducting informational interviews.

Prepare and Practice Develop specific examples that highlight your skills. Make sure that you can answer each question honestly and sincerely without sounding like you prepared them. But remember, this is not an exhaustive list of possible interview questions, but rather some general samples to help you begin thinking about what may be asked during an interview. Anticipate Difficult Questions Can you explain your low grade point average? Why did you change you major three times? Do not try to avoid these questions, explain the situation honestly and in a positive manner. Try to turn a weakness into a strength, i.e., “Yes, my GPA is low, but this is because I worked thirty hours a week to put myself through school.”

Prepare Questions for Your Interviewer What are the educational opportunities?

What training will I receive? The end of the interview is usually reserved for your questions. Do not just ask generic questions, and do not ask questions that could easily be found in company literature. Ask questions that will help you determine if you are a good match for the position and organization, such as the questions above.


Ten Rules about Interview

1. Keep your answers brief and concise. Unless asked to give more details, limit your answers to two to three minutes per question. Tape yourself and see how long it takes you to fully answer a question.

2. Include concrete, quantifiable data. Interviewees tend to talk in generalities.

Unfortunately, generalities often fail to convince interviewers that the applicant has assets. Include measurable information and provide details about specific accomplishments when discussing your strengths. 3. Repeat your key strengths three times. It’s essential that you comfortably and confidently articulate your strengths. Explain how the strengths relate to the company’s or department’s goals and how they might benefit the potential employer. If you repeat your strengths then they will be remembered and—if supported with quantifiable accomplishments—they will more likely be believed. 4. Prepare five or more success stories. In preparing for interviews, make a list of your skills and key assets. Then reflect on past jobs and pick out one or two instances when you used those skills successfully. 5. Put yourself on their team. Ally yourself with the prospective employer by using the employer’s name and products or services. For example, “As a member of __________, I would carefully analyze the __________ and ______.” Show that you are thinking like a member of the team and will fit in with the existing environment. Be careful though not to say anything that would offend or be taken negatively. Your research will help you in this area. 6. Image is often as important as content. What you look like and how you say something are just as important as what you say. Studies have shown that 65 percent of the conveyed message is nonverbal; gestures, physical appearance, and attire are highly influential during job interviews. 7. Ask questions. The types of questions you ask and the way you ask them can make a tremendous impression on the interviewer. Good questions require advance preparation. Just as you plan how you would answer an interviewer’s questions, write out any specific questions you want to ask. Then look for opportunities to ask them during the interview. Don’t ask about benefits or salary. The interview process is a two-way street whereby you and the interviewer assess each other to determine if there is an appropriate match.

8. Maintain a conversational flow. By consciously maintaining a conversational flow—a dialogue instead of a monologue— you will be perceived more positively. Use feedback questions at the end of your answers and use body language and voice intonation to create a conversational interchange between you and the interviewer.

9. Research the company, product lines and competitors. Research will provide information to help you decide whether you’re interested in the company and important data to refer to during the interview.


10. Keep an interview journal. As soon as possible, write a brief summary of what happened. Note any follow-up action you should take and put it in your calendar. Review your presentation. Keep a journal of your attitude and the way you answered the questions. Did you ask questions to get the information you needed? What might you do differently next time? Prepare and send a brief, concise thank you letter. Restate your skills and stress what you can do for the company. Because of its importance, interviewing requires advance preparation. Only you will be able to positively affect the outcome. You must be able to compete successfully with the competition for the job you want. In order to do that, be certain you have considered the kind of job you want, why you want it, and how you qualify for it. You also must face reality: Is the job attainable?

Day of the Interview
Material to Bring to an Interview As appropriate, you should have copies of the following with you at every interview: resume, transcript, references, portfolio, work sample, and performance evaluations from previous employers (if you have them). Make sure you can leave the copies with the interviewer because they will not have time to read them during the interview. Also bring a notepad and pen.

The Routine of an Interview Most interviews can be divided into four major sections: the introduction, the employer sell, the candidate sell, and the closing. During the “introduction” the employer will use the first few minutes of the interview, to create a comfortable, friendly environment so that a meaningful conversation can follow. A mutual topic of discussion such as the weather, sports, or a major news story, etc., will normally be pursued. The "employer sell" will cover organizational structure, products or services, geographical location(s), specifics on the position under consideration, salary (usually not discussed during an initial interview), benefits, etc. The "candidate sell" is the time spent answering questions about your goals and qualifications and demonstrating your communication skills.During the "closing", both parties should indicate their level of interest in the other and understand what the next steps to be taken will be.

Contact Log It is important to maintain current records of all your job search activities. Record all contact and address information for each organization to which you apply, updating the log with each follow-up call or letter, interview, etc. Accurate records can help to remind you about the current status of each job opportunity, as well as when a follow-up should be done.

Interview Ethics Interview only when sincerely interested in a position with the employer. Provide accurate information on your qualifications and interests. Never falsify data such as GPA, academic major, coursework completed or extracurricular activities on a resume or in an interview. Notify the Cooperative Education and Career Services Office, at least 24 hours in advance, if you cannot make an on-


campus interview or employer presentation. Acknowledge invitations for on-site interviews promptly, whether you accept or reject them Notify employers well in advance if you must postpone or cancel an on-site interview

Dressing for the Interview
Wear clothing that indicates you are ready to go to work today.

Men Necktie should be silk with a conservative pattern Dark shoes (black lace-ups are best); clean and polished Dark socks (black is best) Short hair always fairs best in interviews No beards – mustaches are acceptable (keep neat and trimmed) No earrings No heavy cologne

Women Always wear a suit with a jacket; or a sheath dress with a jacket Do not wear extremely high-heeled or platform shoes Do not wear open-toe shoes or mules (they are more casual) Conservative hosiery at or near skin color (and no runs!) If you wear nail polish (not required), use clear or a conservative color One set of earrings only Conservative makeup No heavy perfume No heavy cologne

Men and Women All clothes should be neatly pressed. Conservative two-piece business suite (solid dark blue or gray is best) Conservative long-sleeved shirt/blouse (white is best, pastel is next best) Clean, polished, conservative shoes Clean and well-groomed hairstyle Clean, trimmed fingernails Minimal cologne or perfume Empty pockets – no noisy coins No gum, candy or cigarettes


Preparing the Interview
An interview provides the hiring manager a perfect opportunity to identify the applicant best qualified and best suited for the organization. Conducted properly, it is a valuable tool in the hiring process. Prior to the interview:

As you prepare for the interview consider the following: Be prepared (develop a list of questions to be utilized for all applicants in the same job) Ask open-ended questions Refrain from asking any questions about age, sex, ethnic origin, race, religion or political beliefs, and medical conditions/disabilities. During the interview: Record the applicant’s responses Introduce yourself and your position Briefly describe the organization structure Describe the position the applicant is applying for Explain that you will be taking notes during the interview to assist you in remembering their responses Explain that all applicants will be asked the same questions Ask the applicant if he/she has any questions After the interview has concluded: Thank them for coming to the interview Explain that you are in the interviewing phase Explain that you will be making a decision within the next ____ days/weeks/months Inform them if they will be asked to come back for a second interview Inform them whether or not they will/will not be contacted if they are not chosen for the position.

Before the Interview
Before your interview find out everything you can about the company (read their annual report which can be obtained by telephoning them). Re-read your application, thinking through your own career and the questions they might ask you. You should try to anticipate the general questions which they will ask and also prepare some questions to ask them.

To do well at the interview you will need to convince the interviewer you are technically qualified to do the job. You will also need to show that you are sufficiently motivated to get the job done well and that you will fit in with the company's organizational structure and the team in which you will work.

You should dress smartly for the interview and should leave home earlier than you need to on the day of the interview you may be delayed by traffic or for other reasons. Be courteous to all employees of the company. At the interview itself you must be positive about yourself and your abilities - but do not waffle.


Here are some tips:

1. Assemble all necessary papers Resume or personal data sheet Know your resume well enough that you can discuss every line if necessary Licenses, Social Security card and/or military records Samples of work, if relevant List of questions you want to ask the interviewer about the job Many employers will use your resume as a source of questions during the interview. Review your resume prior to the interview and be able to develop answers to questions that relate to your employment and educational experience listed on your resume. Be prepared to discuss gaps in employment. If called upon, you must be able to demonstrate the skills you stated on your resume. Focus your answers on the skills and experience that will be most useful to the position you are interviewing for.

2. Learn all you can about the prospective employer What are the products and services? What is its reputation? What types of jobs are available? What are the hiring policies and practices? What are their salary ranges? What are their goals?

Researching the company you are interviewing with and the position you are pursuing demonstrates genuine interest and initiative. It will be obvious to the interviewer whether you did your research or not. Many interviewers will focus questions on finding out how much preparation you did for the interview.

One can research a company utilizing many different sources: The Internet Company brochures and year end statements The area Chamber of Commerce Networking – ask friends, relatives, teachers, social and business contacts

You do not need to know everything possible about the company. The information most helpful for the interviewing process includes knowing the product manufactured or service offered. You should find out the size of the company and if they have multiple locations. Who are their competitors? Did they recently merge with another company? What is their sales volume and is that down or up from previous years?

3. Identify what you have to offer. Your education, training and experience—what you have done, know how to do and can do. Remember all the skills, abilities and talents you possess that will make you an excellent employee.


4. Consider your potentials as an employee Why do you feel you can do the job? What makes you qualified for the job? What do you have to offer the company or organization? Why do you want to work for the employer in question? Pre- Interview Checklist Before you leave home for your interview, check the following: Have you researched the organization you are interviewing with?

Do you know the interviewer’s name? If not, get it from the receptionist before the interview. Have you formulated answers for usual interview questions?

Do you have all necessary information for the interview? This includes items such as resume or personal data sheet, names and addresses of references, pen and note pad. Is there someone you could do a practice interview with? You will benefit from suggestions for improvement.

Do not forget the most obvious research, simply knowing where you are going BEFORE the interview. What is the company address? How long should you plan for travel time? Drive by the company to be sure that you know how to get there and how long it will take. Also, remember to give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes in case they ask you to complete their job application. Other tips on preparing for your interview:

Consider how the position relates to your talents and goals, such as specialty area and opportunities for advancement. Schedule the interview at a time that will not conflict with your working hours. Most interviewers will understand you not wanting to take off work at your current position to interview for other jobs.

Find out the name and position of the person you will meet with and get his/ her telephone number in case an emergency arises.

Be prepared with answers to why you want to work at that particular organization, and how you would be the best candidate for this position. Understanding the company, their mission and their environment will help you with these questions.

Dress properly for the interview. Dress slacks, dress shirt, a tie and possibly a sport coat for men. Women should wear a knee length (or longer) skirt or pants, and blouse. If a skirt is your choice, be sure to wear nylons. Don’t forget the dress shoes.


Interview Self Evaluation

Think about an important interview you have had. Evaluating your performance in that interview will help you to prepare for a future one: 1. List 3 things which made the interview a success. 2. a) List 3 things about the interview that you would change b) For each of these three items, explain what you are going to do to improve for your next interview. 3. Were some of the interviewer’s questions difficult to answer? What were they? How would you respond if asked again? 4. What skills/qualities was the employer looking for? How could you better present these skills next time? 5. What further information do you need in order to determine if you would accept an offer? 6. What do you like/dislike about this company? (Consider a graph or other way to rate and compare the companies with which you have interviewed).

Selling Yourself
What to Say Introduce yourself with a smile and firm handshake. Maintain good eye contact during conversation. Demonstrate to the recruiter what you want to and can do for the employer today, based on employer research. Give two minute commercial. Answer questions with: " Yes, for example (accomplishment/result statement)" and " No, however (accomplishment/result statement)" Show interest in what the interviewer is saying, by nodding your head and leaning toward him/her occasionally. Give positive answers to negative-based questions. Ask the recruiter prepared questions. Initiate the next step by asking what the next step is.

Ask for the recruiter’s business card for future contact. Immediately after you leave make notes of important points of discussion.

The "Tell me about yourself" question Here is an example about how to answer the first question most interviewers ask. “Tell me about yourself” It also allows the job seeker to share with the interviewer the most important thing they want to know – “Why should I hire you?”


1. Personal and Education This part is used to give the interviewer relevant information concerning you personally and about your educational background. This does not include personal information such as marital status, children, etc. This does include information such as: hometown or state and/or personal attribute(s). The education should be either the latest obtained and/or major field if relevant to job objective.

2. Early Career/Life Experiences This part is used to share with the interviewer past work and life experiences relevant to the job objective.

3. Recent Work History/Life Experiences This is the time for the job seeker to relate to the employer two accomplishments/results of the job seeker that indicate why he/she is the best candidate for the position sought.

4. Why you are here In this part, the job seeker speaks with enthusiasm that he/she is here for the specific position sought.

What to Do Arrive 10-15 minutes early. Use time wisely to review employer research information. Have pen and paper. Asking to borrow a pen indicates lack of preparation. Be enthusiastic. Recruiters remember a positive attitude. Listen carefully to the interviewer’s complete question before responding. If needed, pause and take time before answering difficult questions. Keep going even if you feel you made a mistake. Carry extra resumes, references, etc. organized in a portfolio Unless asked, do not discuss salary and benefits.

Preparing for an Interview

Know Yourself What are my skills and abilities? What are my strengths? How do my skills and experiences relate to the position and employers’ needs? What contributions will I bring to the employer? Am I willing to relocate? How do my values compare to the philosophy of the organization? What points do I want to be sure to get across during the interview? How does this position fit into my career goals? If interviewing in a country other than your home country, do you understand the cultural expectations?


Prepare Yourself Obtain a copy of the job description. Use the employer information and the employer’s websites to gather information (annual reports, employee handbooks, policy statements, employee newsletters) on the organization. Locate the employer’s home page on the Internet. Conduct informational interviews with persons in similar positions to learn about the career field and how your skills may apply. Develop a list of appropriate questions that reflect your research. Be sure to know the culture of the country where you are interviewing. U.S. employers are expecting you to articulate your future career goals and past accomplishments. They are assessing you according to American values such as selfconfidence, initiative, directness, and individualism.

Practice Review attached list of questions most asked during an interview as well as list of questions to prospective employers. Practice answering interview questions (out loud). Schedule a mock interview, through the Office of Career Services, to gain experience and feedback. Be aware of your body language…what is your body language under pressure? Remember to smile and be yourself!

Checklist Confirm date, time and place of interview. Pack several copies of your resume; a list of references, including names, titles, addresses and telephone numbers; writing samples if appropriate; and letters of recommendation. Dress appropriately (conservative business attire). Be punctual. Plan to arrive early. Research the Occupation: Know the area in which you are interested: Read articles written by people who are in the field. Inform yourself about future trends. Check if your interests and abilities compare to the requirements of the position. Find out the average income earned by people in the occupation. Some methods of finding this information include:

Conduct information interviews. Reading the information in the Connection Centre (Student Life & Career Services), either through Internet or hard copy publications. Talking to friends, relatives or others. Researching the Organization: Before the job interview, you should research the organization. It is easier to convince an employer that you would be of benefit to the organization if you are knowledgeable about it. In addition, information obtained through research can help


you decide whether you want to work for a specific organization.

General areas to research: How old is the organization, and what is its history of development? Where are the plants, offices, or stores located? What are its products or services? If the organization sells, what are its markets? Retailers? Wholesalers? What are its new products? Is it a public or non-profit organization? What purpose does it serve? How is it funded? Whom does it serve? What functions does it perform? How does this organization rank in the industry? What is the financial status of the company? Last year’s sales? Growth record? Are there any plans for expansion? What is the organizational structure? How does the organization fit into the community? To what degree is it committed to solving community problems? What problems does the organization need to overcome? (By identifying the problems that the organization faces, you can match your abilities to these ends during the interview.)

One of the best ways to find company information is on the Internet. You should be able to find plenty of information to get you started by exploring the Web with a good browser and search engine. Just entering the company name in the search engine will usually result in success.

Here are five things that most employers want to know about you. 1. They want to know if you are qualified for the position. What are your greatest strengths? Do you have experience in this field? What do you believe you bring to this job? Why should I hire you?

2. They want to know what motivates you. What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort? Where do you see yourself five years from now? What is more important to you, the money or the job? What did you like most about your last job? 3. They want to know about the negatives. Why did you leave your previous job? What did you like least about your last supervisor? What is your greatest weakness? What did you like least about your last job?


Why have you been unemployed so long?

4. They want to know if you are a good fit. What kind of people do you find it hard to work with? Tell me about a time when you worked as a member of a team. In what kind of environment are you most comfortable? Do you prefer to work alone or with others? 5. They want to know if you want their job with their company. What are you looking for in a position? Who else are you interviewing with? Why are you interested in this position? What do you know about the company?

Selling Yourself
What to Say Introduce yourself with a smile and firm handshake. Maintain good eye contact during conversation. Demonstrate to the recruiter what you want to and can do for the employer today, based on employer research. Give two minute commercial. Answer questions with: " Yes, for example (accomplishment/result statement)" and " No, however (accomplishment/result statement)" Show interest in what the interviewer is saying, by nodding your head and leaning toward him/her occasionally. Give positive answers to negative-based questions. Ask the recruiter prepared questions. Initiate the next step by asking what the next step is. Ask for the recruiter’s business card for future contact. Immediately after you leave make notes of important points of discussion.

The "Tell me about yourself" question Here is an example about how to answer the first question most interviewers ask. “Tell me about yourself” It also allows the job seeker to share with the interviewer the most important thing they want to know – “Why should I hire you?”

1. Personal and Education This part is used to give the interviewer relevant information concerning you personally and about your educational background. This does not include personal information such as marital status, children, etc. This does include information such as: hometown or state and/or personal attribute(s). The education should be either the latest obtained and/or major field if relevant to job objective. 2. Early Career/Life Experiences This part is used to share with the interviewer past work and life experiences relevant to the job objective.


3. Recent Work History/Life Experiences This is the time for the job seeker to relate to the employer two accomplishments/results of the job seeker that indicate why he/she is the best candidate for the position sought. 4. Why you are here In this part, the job seeker speaks with enthusiasm that he/she is here for the specific position sought.

What to Do Arrive 10-15 minutes early. Use time wisely to review employer research information. Have pen and paper. Asking to borrow a pen indicates lack of preparation. Be enthusiastic. Recruiters remember a positive attitude. Listen carefully to the interviewer’s complete question before responding. If needed, pause and take time before answering difficult questions. Keep going even if you feel you made a mistake. Carry extra resumes, references, etc. organized in a portfolio Unless asked, do not discuss salary and benefits.

Resume, Cover Letter and Interviewing Tips
RESUME Why should I use a resume along with my application? A resume can help Human Resource Services staff and the hiring supervisor understand what skills, experience, and education you have that are relevant to a job. A well-done resume makes your application look more professional. You can use a resume to help demonstrate your communication skills.

What should I include in my resume? Use your resume to help target your job search. Include relevant job history, education, volunteer experience, and memberships/associations. Use your resume to highlight important work experience and skills. Do not include information regarding marital status, parental status, religious affiliation, photos, age, or weight.

Resume Language Use action verbs such as “developed,” “managed,” “coordinated,” and “maintained.” Don’t use “I” to start every sentence. Do use your own words to explain your experience Proofread carefully! Resume Information Keep your name, phone number and address current. Include dates of employment in a month/year format (example: 05/02 – 08/02). Include references. Use a separate sheet if necessary.

Resume Appearance Use 1” margins on all sides.


Use a standard font that is easy to read. Use bold font and italics to highlight information. Make sure to leave some white space in between sections. Don’t label your resume. The title “Resume” is unnecessary. Your resume can be longer than 1 page. A good rule of thumb is 1 page for each 10 years of work history. COVER LETTER Why should I include a cover letter along with my application? A cover letter can be a helpful tool to highlight your skills. Use a cover letter to show how your skills are appropriate for the job. A cover letter can also be used as a marketing tool – think of it as your personal sales brochure! You should use a cover letter anytime you use a resume.

Can I use one standard cover letter on each of my applications? You will need to submit a separate cover letter with each set of application materials. Since the cover letter is a way to help interest employers in your skills and how they are suited to the particular job, it is a good idea to customize your cover letter for each position that you are applying for. What information do I include in my cover letter? Identify the job for which you are applying. Include the title and vacancy number. Mention where you found out about the job (newspaper ad, web page, etc.). If you were referred by someone, mention that person. Briefly highlight your skills and experience. Don’t include all of the information found on your resume. Tell the hiring supervisor what he/she will gain by hiring you. Close the letter by stating what you would like to happen next. Mention where you can be reached by phone or email. What format do I use? Your cover letter should be in standard business letter format.

Should I include a cover letter if I submit my materials through email? Yes.

INTERVIEWING The job interview is your chance to impress the interviewer with your skills and confidence. These few simple steps can help you prepare.

Before the Interview Review the job duties included in the Vacancy Notice. Research the department. Dress professionally. Don’t wear perfume or cologne. Bring extra copies of your resume. Bring a pen and paper to write down any information you might need to remember. Prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer. Prepare answers to any questions you think you might be asked (see sample questions below).


At the Interview Arrive on time. Try to be a few minutes early if possible. Try to relax. Be yourself. Show self-confidence – make eye contact; answer questions in a clear voice. Remember to listen. Think before answering questions. Try to make your answers as clear as possible. Avoid negative body language – crossing your arms, swinging your foot or leg, slouching, covering your mouth while speaking. When given a chance, ask any questions that you have prepared in advance. You can also follow up on anything that the interviewer tells you during the interview.

After the Interview End the interview with a handshake and thank the interviewer for his or her time. Find out when the department plans to make a hiring decision. Follow up with a short “thank you for the interview” note.

Common Interview Questions Tell me about yourself. Tell me what interested you in this job. Why did you leave your last job? What are some of your strengths? What are some of your weaknesses? Describe your workstyle. Do you prefer to work by yourself or with others? What are your career plans? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What supervisory experience have you had? Tell me about your favorite supervisor. Why should I hire you?

Questions for an Applicant to ask in the Interview What level of responsibility can I expect in this position? Why is this job available? What training programs do you have for new employees? Is there a typical career path for a person in this position? How are employees evaluated? Do you like working here? Tell me about a typical day in this department.

Sample Interview Questions
Personal Motivation and Traits How do you feel about your present workload? What motivates you to do your best work? How can we best help you get your job done? Tell me about a time you went "out on a limb" to get the job done? What are the disadvantages of this line of work?


What do you find most frustrating at work? Tell me about a project that got you really excited? How do you define doing a good job? What makes a job enjoyable for you? Under what conditions do you work best? What is your greatest strength/weakness or deficiency? Tell me about a work task you enjoy.

Goals What are your 5-year goals? Tell me what "success" means to you. What does "failure" mean to you? Do you consider yourself successful? Do you set goals for yourself and how do you do that?

Communication Tell me about a work situation you had that required excellent communication skills. Do you prefer to speak directly with someone or send a memo? How would you grade your ability to communicate with upper level management, customers, and peers? What was more important on your job, written or oral communication? Flexibility Tell me about the last change which occurred in your office. How did you handle it? I'm interested in hearing about the last time you took a risk. What was it and in retrospect, was it the right decision? How important is communication and interaction with others on your job? How many departments did you deal with? What problems occurred? Tell me about a time when a work emergency caused you to reschedule your work/projects. Give me an example of the last time you went above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done In what areas do you typically have the least amount of patience at work? Stress Tell me about a deadline you had to meet. How much advance notice did you have? You have worked in a fast paced environment. How did you like the environment? What kinds of decisions are most difficult for you? What is the most difficult work situation you have faced? What types of jobs do you have the most difficulty with? What do you do when you're having trouble with your job? What do you do when you have a great deal of work to accomplish in a short period of time?

Manageability What do you do when you're having trouble with a boss? If your boss knew you were interviewing, what would he say? What do you feel an employer owes an employee? Your supervisor tells you do to something in a way you know is dead wrong. What do you do?


If your supervisor unfairly criticized you, what would you do? Would you like to have your boss's job? Why or why not? Tell me about a time when your manager was in a rush and didn't give you enough attention. What are some of the things about which you and your boss disagree? What are some of the things your boss did that you disliked? In what areas could your boss have done a better job? I would be interested to hear about an occasion when your work or an idea was criticized, what was criticized, who criticized you, and how did you handle it? Describe the best manager you ever had. The worst. What qualities did each of them have?

Critical Thinking Interviews
If you are interviewing with a consulting company you have a high probability of running into a Critical Thinking or Case Interview Question. These might sound ridiculous but they are gaining clout with big business. This type of interview requires much more of a two way communication between the candidate and the interviewer. They are not necessarily looking for the “right” answer but rather they want to see common sense, creativity and problem solving skills.

Question: How many jellybeans will fit in a 747? Possible answer: Does the plane have seats in it? As that would affect how many I could fit in. Also when do I need this information and what will we use it for? What size jellybean? Can I grind them up or melt them to get more in? Do we want to get more in? Does it have to take off and land? Can I fill up the fuel tanks? Etc…

Question: Why is a man-hole cover round? Possible Answer: Because it is covering a round hole and that is the most effective use of materials. Also because a round cover cannot fall into the round hole it is covering. Or they might ask you about a current case they are working on. You want to use the same problem solving skills as you would in a Hypothetical Interview: Steps to problem solving: 1. Gather relative information 2. Evaluate your information 3. Prioritize the information 4. Propose and weigh possible solutions 5. Choose and propose your solution


6. Discuss how you would evaluate the effectiveness of your solution

Introductory Questions
What five adjectives describe you best? Why should I consider you for this position? Why are you the best candidate for this position? Tell me about the one thing in your life you're proudest of. You've changed jobs frequently. What makes you think that this position will be different? What qualities do you think are necessary to make a success of this job? Describe your ideal job. How did you find out about this job? What do you know about the job? What do you know about the this department? Is there anything that will prevent you from getting to work on time? Is there anything that will prevent you from working the job’s regular hours? What kinds of work interest you the most? What interests you most about this position?

Job Performance Questions
What were your most significant accomplishments at your last job? What is the biggest failure you've had in your career? Why do you believe it was your biggest failure? What were your three most important responsibilities in your last job? What was the most important project you worked on in your last job and why did you choose this example? Describe how you have progressed through the ranks and landed in your current position at ABC Company? How have you added value to your job over time? How have you had to reinvent or redefine your job to meet your companies changing needs? What proactive steps did you have to take to increase the output of your position?

Cooperation with Co-workers What types of people have trouble getting along with you? Do you prefer to work by yourself or with others? Tell me about the last time you had a conflict with a co-worker, what was the conflict and how did you resolve it? How would your co-workers describe you? The successful candidate for this position will be working with individuals who have been with the company for a long time. How will you mesh with them? What kind of people did you have contact with on your previous jobs (titles/positions)?


What kind of person do you get along with the best? Define cooperation. Tell me about an occasion when, in difficult circumstances, you pulled a team together. What do you find most challenging in working with co-workers? Do you function more effectively as a team member or as an individual contributor? Describe the most difficult customer you have dealt with. What was the situation and how did you handle it? Describe a group project you were recently involved in. Describe your role, the purpose of the project, how you handled differences of opinion. What was your outcome? What do you do when you know you are right and others disagree with you? How do you build consensus? Define teamwork.

Problem Solving/Decision Making Questions
Describe the most difficult problem you had to solve. What was the situation and what did you do? Would you do anything different next time? In general, how do you handle conflict? Describe a creative solution that you have developed to solve a problem. What solution are you the proudest of? Describe a time when you had to use fact-finding skills. What has been your most important work-related idea? Who or what caused you the most trouble in implementing your ideas? What kinds of problems do you normally experience in a day? Tell me about a situation that got out of control. How did you handle it? Describe the best/worst co-worker you’ve ever had. Tell me about something you achieved as a group member. How would you define a good working atmosphere? Tell me about a time you came up with a new idea. Were you able to get it approved? If so, how did you go about it? Can you think of a time an idea of yours was rejected? Tell me about it. Tell me about a time an idea or task of yours was criticized. Tell me about a time you had to work according to a policy you disagreed with. How do you go about making important decisions? Tell me about the last time you made a good decision and describe what it was and what the results were. Tell me about an important decision or judgment call you’ve had to make on the job. Describe the worst decision you ever made and how you corrected it.

New Graduate Questions
What extracurricular activities were you involved in? What activities did you enjoy the most? What classes did you enjoy the most? The least? Why did you choose your major? Why did you change majors?


If you could start again, what major would you choose? Why are you applying for a job in a field other than your major? What did you learn from your summer jobs? In what courses did you get the worst grades? Why? Are your grades a good measure of your ability? Give me an example of a problem you've had at school and how you solved it. How does your degree prepare you (a) for a career in [industry] or (b) to excel as a [job title]? What qualifications do you have beyond academics that qualify you to make a successful transition into business?

Questions for you to Ask
Asking questions indicates to the employer that your job search has been well thought out. Your interest in the organization resulted in thorough research and preparation. The following are samples of questions prepared to start you thinking about questions you can ask in an interview. Do not memorize these samples but do sit down, study them and figure out how they translate into suitable questions for the organization you are interviewing. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer, such as:

What do you think are the three key skills/strengths vital to this position? What characteristics do the achievers in this company seem to share? Is there a lot of team project work? What would I be expected to accomplish in the first six months on the job? in the first year? What are some of the department’s ongoing and anticipated special projects? Identify a typical career path in your organization for someone with my qualifications. How is an employee evaluated and promoted? What is the retention rate of individuals in the position for which I am interviewing? Tell me about your initial, as well as future training programs. What are the challenging facets of this job? What industry trends will occur in this company? Describe the work environment. What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses? Who are your clients? May I talk with one? Who are your competitors? What kinds of computers and programs do you use? Will I have my own computer? How would you describe your company’s personality and management style? Is it company policy to promote within? Tell me the work history of your top management. What are your expectations for new hires? What is the overall structure of the department where this position is located? What qualities are you looking for in your new hires? Is this a new position or a replacement? What happened to the person who held it previously? Is there someone already


employed by the firm who thinks they should have this position? What is the next step in the hiring process for this position? Do not ask about salary and benefits. Will I work independently or with others? Who directly supervises this position? What is his or her background? What's he or she like? May I talk to other people who report to this person? Are there any recent or anticipated changes in the structure of the organization (mergers, cutbacks)? If I want to further my education, does the organization offer tuition benefits? Can I provide you with any other information to help you in the decision making process? Will I have a written employment agreement? Does your company require that I sign a non-compete agreement? How many women and minorities hold management positions in your company? Where do the other employees live? How far away are these communities? Can you describe them? What is the commute like? How many other candidates are you considering for this position? What can you tell me about them? How soon can I expect to hear from you?

General Past Job Performance / Experience Questions
Tell me about your last position and what you did. Tell me about the last time you made a mistake and how you corrected it. If you don't leave your current job, what will happen there? How far can you advance? Of all the work you have done, where have you been most successful? I see you were unemployed for a period of time. Tell me about it. Give me an example of when you've demonstrated your customer service skills. How do you define continuous improvement? What is the last new procedure you integrated into your job? What makes you stand out among your peers? What have you done to reduce your department’s operational costs or to save time? What would your current supervisors say makes you most valuable to them? If I asked your boss to evaluate your performance, what would he or she say? Have you held positions similar to this one? If so, tell me about them. What is the most important thing you learned at a previous job? What did/do you enjoy most/least about your last/present job? If there were two things you could have changed about that job, what would they be? How did your job change while you held it? Describe your supervisor’s management style. What kinds of people do you deal with on the job? What qualifications do you have that make you successful in this field? What have you learned from previous jobs? Describe a typical day at work. How have your previous positions prepared you for this one? What parts of your job do you consider most important? What job tasks do you feel most successful doing?


What special skills or knowledge have you gained to help in this job? Describe an important project you worked on. What sort of person do you enjoy working for? Define excellent customer service. You have a lot of experience. Why would you want this job? What do you consider your greatest strength? What is your most significant professional accomplishment? What was the last job related book you read? What was your favorite job? Why? You've stayed with the same organization for years. Why have you decided to leave?

Supervisory Interview Questions
You have supervised people in the past. What were their titles and what type of supervision did you give them? How do you motivate people? Have you ever fired anyone? What were the circumstances? Have you ever hired anyone? Why did you choose them? What do you do when you're having trouble with an employee? What type of supervisory training have you completed in the last two years? How did you communicate bad news to your staff? What makes someone a good supervisor? Who reports to you? What are their job functions? What is the employee turnover rate in your area? What do you think is the reason for this rate? What programs have you put in place to build morale? How do you plan your day? Describe your management style. How do you measure success as a supervisor? How do you decide who needs what training? How do you measure success in training? If you are hired, what will you do in your first 30 days? Describe one change you made in your last job that was very beneficial. Describe a time when you and your supervisor disagreed on how to accomplish a goal. Describe a change you made in your job that you feel is innovative or that you are very proud of. How do you handle unpopular manage,emt decisions? How do you proceed when you need to make a decision and no policy exists? How would you define “leadership”? Describe a time when you were able to influence an outcome in a positive way. What have you done to become more effective in your job? How do you orient new employees to your department? How do you plan an interview? What do you look for on resumes and applications? What criteria do you use for making decisions on hiring?


Software/Technical Questions
What types of office equipment have you used? Tell me about the types of word processing you did on your last job. What would you say are the major technical skills needed for this position? How do you merge a file in Microsoft Word? What certifications/classes have you completed this last year? Were any of them required by your supervisor? Describe the types of documents you deal with on a daily basis. What software programs do you use most often in your current position? Describe in detail your experience with computer software programs. Tell me about the spreadsheets you have created. Give me an example of a technical problem you had to solve. How did you implement the solution? Tell me about the PowerPoint presentations you have developed. What software do you have experience with? How would you describe your experience level for that software?

Common Questions Asked by Students
1. When should I discuss salary and benefits at an interview? It is recommended that you allow the employer to bring it up. Otherwise, wait until you have been offered the position. 2. Are thank you notes really important? YES, YES, YES. Thank you notes are a major factor in securing any position. They should be sent within 24 hours after an interview and should emphasize what you can contribute to the organization. 3. Is it really important to get a job offer in writing? It is absolutely essential to have a written agreement. Written agreements protect both you and the employer. 4. Do I need to have an answering machine? An answering machine with a professional sounding message is essential. Employers may not call back to arrange interviews but they will leave a message. 5. How should I inform my current employer that I am leaving? In person (if possible) and in writing. Write a letter of resignation thanking the employer for the opportunities that you were given to: Contribute to the growth and success of the company (be specific) Learn and grow Develop your skills and experience Be honest but do not be critical. Do not burn any bridges. Give 2 weeks notice whenever possible. Some employers will not want you to remain for the 2-week period. Do not take it personally. Just move on. 6. If you get bad vibes during the interview, how do you politely decline?


Be honest. The employer will appreciate you not wasting their time. Let them know you do not think it is a good fit and you appreciated their time.

25 things to avoid in an Interview
1. Poor personal appearance 2. Lack of interest and enthusiasm; passive and indifferent 3. Over-emphasis on money 4. Criticism of past employer 5. Poor eye contact with interviewer 6. Late to interview 7. Failure to express appreciation for interviewer’s time 8. Asks no questions about the job 9. Unwillingness to relocate 10. Indefinite answer to question 11. Overbearing, aggressive, conceited with ‘know-it-all’ complex 12. Inability to express self clearly; poor voice, poor diction, poor grammar 13. Lack of planning for career, no purpose or goals 14. Lack of confidence and poise, nervous, ill at ease 15. Failure to participate in activities 16. Expects too much too soon 17. Makes excuses, evasive, hedges on unfavourable factors on record 18. Lack of tact 19. Lack of courtesy, ill-mannered 20. Lack of vitality 21. Lack of maturity 22. Sloppy application form 23. No interest in company or industry 24. Cynical 25. Intolerant, strong prejudices

Even though the interview is over, your work is far from complete... After each interview mentally review the questions asked by the interviewer and your responses to them. Were you caught


“off-guard” by any questions? Could you have answered a question better, in more detail, or in a more focused manner? Quiz yourself after each interview and take notes. This will enhance future interview efforts.

It is advisable to send a thank you letter to the person(s) who interviewed you within twenty-four hours after the interview. It reinforces your interest in the position and can serve as an additional opportunity to separate you from the other candidates by recalling a notable topic or attribute discussed in your interview.

Most employers will tell you when you can expect to hear from them. If you do not hear by that date, it is appropriate for you to call them. If the employer requests additional materials, such as an application, transcript, or references, send them as soon as possible. If an employer indicated an interest in pursuing things further with you, but you are no longer interested in the opportunity, inform him/her of that fact as soon as possible.

Here are some things you can do: Type or handwrite the letter. E-mail is not as personal, therefore it should be used in conjunction with a personal letter. If you absolutely cannot write a letter, an e-mail is better than not following up at all. The letter should be brief and include the following:

1. Thank the interviewer for his/her time. 2. State the position for which you are applying. 3. Mention something from your interview to remind the interviewer who you are. 4. Describe in one or two sentences why you are the best applicant.

Address it to the recruiter, by name and title Mention the names of the people you met at the interview.

Send a letter to appropriate individuals you interviewed with (always send to the main interviewer). Keep the letter short, less than one page.

Mail the letter within 24 hours of the interview. Thank the interviewer for his/her time.

Send a thank you letter for every interview you go on. Demonstrate employer knowledge in 2-3 sentences.


Restate employment objective. Answer the question – “What can you do for them?” based on something specifically discussed during your contact. Use accomplishment/ results statements that demonstrate your ability to meet those needs.

Sample Thank you Letter
September 8, 2006 Mr. Dominic Philips Vice President Human Resources Universal Tire Corporation 2000 Park Drive Grand Rapids, MI 49525 Dear Mr. Maxx:

As I was leaving your office on September 8, 2006 I was reflecting upon how much I enjoyed meeting with you and learning more about Universal Tire Corporation. I appreciate the time you spent with me discussing your opening for an Outside Sales Representative.

I believe my internship with Shemax, Inc. and my educational background in Marketing and Business Administration make me an excellent candidate for the position. You mentioned the importance of having an outgoing person with a lot of initiative. I feel that my experience in using my marketing, communication and customer service skills would exceed your expectations if given the chance. I was also very impressed with Universal Tire’s commitment to investing in your employee’s future though the Tuition Reimbursement Program you mentioned. I look forward to hearing from soon. In the meantime, please call me at 271-3162 if there is any additional information I can provide to help you in your decision. Sincerely, Mary Johnson


Gender Neutral Job Evaluation
What is meant by “gender neutral job evaluation”? Gender neutral evaluation means that the factors that are considered and the way in which those factors are applied must be free of any gender bias (favouring neither male nor female-dominated jobs).

Does gender neutral job evaluation favour women’s jobs?


No. The emphasis is on not favouring either male or female dominated jobs, but to deal with all jobs in an unbiased way. In the past, job evaluation plans have tended to overlook some aspects of work traditionally done by women. The new plan removes those biases.

How can different jobs be compared? The gender neutral job evaluation plan employs a factor point rating method of job evaluation. Factor point rating is an analytical and quantitative method of evaluation and was chosen because it is particularly suited to the consistent evaluation of work that is dissimilar and diverse in nature. The plan assesses the skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions that are inherent in each job. Points are assigned for each of 10 subfactors and then totalled to provide a “score” for the job.

How does the Job Evaluation Committee determine a rating?

Each committee member, carefully studies the questionnaire (often spending an hour individually), and assigns tentative ratings for each subfactor. He/she makes note of any areas where clarification or additional information is needed, and then asks about these areas in the interview. After the interview, the committee members discuss their individual ratings and come to a consensus. By having four individuals consider each position independently, and then discuss their rating, each job benefits from the perspective brought by each rater. The consensus approach ensures a thorough analysis and agreement on each factor for each job. The ratings and the rationale and/or the relevant references in the factor/degree descriptions or the committee rating notes are recorded.

How can you evaluate positions fairly when the language in the evaluation plan seems so general? The degree levels for each subfactor are defined in such a way that there is sufficient detail to differentiate amongst jobs, but still allow flexibility to accommodate the diverse range of jobs in the bargaining unit. The factor and degree definitions given in the plan provide the basic framework for evaluation, but there is much more to guide the raters. Raters refer to a variety of information and guidelines including the subfactor definition, degree level descriptions, and reference to benchmark jobs. In addition, “Notes to Raters” guidelines have been developed to provide interpretation guidance and direction for committee members.

Is the interview really necessary when the committee has the questionnaire? The pilot project in 1992 confirmed our belief that the extra time required for the personal interview is well worthwhile. Although most organizations rely solely on a written questionnaire for job evaluation purposes, we found that the interview provides the committee with an extremely valuable opportunity to clarify the questionnaire information as well as to answer participant questions about the process.

How is my rate of pay effected if my position is reclassified upward or downward? Once the Committee has completed the review and if the job is rated at a higher pay grade, the incumbent’s salary will be paid retroactive to the date the duly signed Position Questionnaire was received by the Human Resources Office. The incumbent’s new salary shall be determined by application of Article 28.05 of the Collective Agreement. “When an employee is promoted or reclassified to a higher paying position, the employee will receive the rate of pay which is the


next highest rate in the new scale.” If a position is evaluated lower than the current rate, the incumbent shall maintain the current rate as a red-circled rate for as long as the incumbent holds the position. Employees will be eligible for salary increments within the assigned pay grade. The reevaluated rate shall become effective as soon as the incumbent leaves the position.

Hypothetical and Stress Interviews Hypothetical Interviews

Employers will sometimes “put” you in a work situation to test your problem solving skills. You must be able to think on your feet and analyze the situation while keeping in mind the company's culture and values.

Don’t concentrate so much on what your final answer is but that you show a logical thought process in developing your answer. There is sometimes no “one” right answer but there are definitely wrong ones. Steps to problem solving:

1. Gather relative information 2. Evaluate your information 3. Prioritize the information 4. Propose and weigh possible solutions 5. Choose and propose your solution 6. Discuss how you would evaluate the effectiveness of your solution Examples: How would you handle it if a co-worker confided in you that they have seen another employee stealing from the company? What would you do if 2 out of 3 people did not show up for their shift? What would you do if your supervisor asked you to do something that you felt was unethical? Do you feel it is unethical to charge two different prices for the same service?

Stress Interviews If you feel that you are being interrogated rather than interviewed you might be in a “stress or direct interview.” The employer may be interested to see how you handle pressure. They will ask direct questions that will put you on the spot. The trick is to stay calm and composed while addressing their concern or answering the question. Examples:

The recruiter makes you wait 10 minutes. Why is your GPA not higher? I don’t know if you have what it takes for this position. (Then silence)

Wish You All the Best *******************************************************************************

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