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Successful Interviewing

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Joshua Bench

on 8 September 2016

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Transcript of Successful Interviewing

Successful Interviewing

Will You Be Prepared?
Very often the difference between the person hired and the person rejected is not who is the better candidate but who is better prepared for the interview.
What will interviewers ask?
Spend some time constructing and practicing answers to more common questions, but avoid trying to anticipate the "oddballs"
Behavior Based Questions *
"Your past behavior is the best predictor of your future performance." Use the STAR acronym to answer these sometimes tricky questions.

The Basics
- Being nervous is normal, but practice does help!
- Use "Interview Stream" on Eagle Opportunities
- Make an appointment with me to do a mock interview
- Get specific directions in advance; know how to get there, where to park
- Be on time. If circumstances cause you to run late, call and tell interviewer
- How should you dress?

What Should You Say?
And HOW should you say it?
Examples of Behavioral Questions
Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.

What Are Your Questions?
- Prepare questions in advance and take them with you on note cards or in your folder
Understand the Position
Research the Organization
- Internet
-organization’s own site
-commercial job search sites
-professional organizations
- Campus Faculty/Staff
- UW-L Alumni
- Current Trends - Periodicals

Know Yourself and Your Résumé
Match parts of your résumé to the "desired candidate" in the job description. Make sure you can talk about anything you have listed on your résumé.
Using Interview Stream, practice positive communication prior to the interview:
-Figure out your content - are you being specific enough in your responses
-Head nods (avoid "headbanging")
-Verbal encouragers (do not overuse phrases like "uh huh, uh huh")
Watch for “like” "you know" and “um”
First Impression
Make a positive first impression
-Maintaining appropriate eye contact
-Smile; look like you want to be there
-Give a firm handshake
-Treat everyone with equal respect
-Thank them for having you
Have a notebook/pen, but do not busily take notes throughout the entire interview

Your Reactions
- Listen carefully and allow yourself a pause before answering
- If you are caught off-guard, it is okay to say "that's an interesting question" or admit that you are unsure
- You can also ask for clarification, or ask the interviewer to restate the question
Stay Positive
- Acknowledge weaknesses but don’t dwell on them
- Some questions make it easy to be negative - do not take the bait
Ex. What did you like least about your last boss?
- How could you answer this?

Avoid Cliches
"I'm a people person"
"I'm a hard-worker"
"I just like to help people"
"I'm a team player"

If these things are true of you, give the interviewers evidence
Use Examples
- Fieldwork, volunteer work, research, employment, school, campus or community involvement and personal life to make your point clearer
- Vary your examples
- Remember, they are asking the same questions of everyone, so examples are how they will remember you

- Tell me a little about yourself.
- What are your career goals?
- Why did you choose to attend UW-L?
- Why do you want this job?
- Why do you want to work for this organization?

- What are your strengths?
- What are some areas in which you need improvement?
- Tell me what you have learned about yourself from your experience in [research, classes, etc.]

T - Task
What were you trying to achieve? Don't generalize!
A - Action
What action did you take? Focus on your own efforts!
Some general questions you might ask...
Pitfalls to avoid...
What distinguishes this organization or program from others?

What qualities do they look for in candidates?

What are the goals for the organization over the next 3-5 years?

Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
Know what an employer is actually looking for when seeking a:
-"lab assistant"
-"junior scientist"
-"lab instrumentation specialist"
S - Situation
R - Results and Reflection
* Questions that try to access what you have done - and, they hope, what you would do - in a given situation.
What was the situation you were in?
What were the results? What did you take from the experience?
Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.

Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

Salary questions
Specific questions which could be answered using their website
"No, I don't have any questions"
- Always send a thank you letter or email as soon as possible following your interview
- See Career Services web page for sample letters

Contact: jbench@uwlax.edu
- If they do not tell you, ask when they expect to notify candidates of their decision
- For employment interview, ask about training, supervision, evaluation
- Ask the interviewer about their own background and perceptions of the organization
- Try to tailor a few of your questions to the organization and position, and how you might fit
- If they answered your questions, ask a follow up or clarification question

Teamwork / Cooperation
Customer Orientation
Creativity / Innovation
Flexibility / Adaptability to Change / Continuous Learning
Leadership / Initiative
Supports Diversity and Understands Diversity Issues
Honesty / Fairness / Integrity / Trust
Planning / Organization / Goal Setting
Problem Solving / Judgment / Stress Management
Making Effective Decisions
Communicate Effectively
Behavioral Questions: Common Topics
When have you dealt with these topics, or seen professionals in your field deal with them?
During which experiences have you developed these skills/characteristics (school, work, athletics, etc.)?
Body Language
When asked to share interview behaviors that they disliked, hiring managers named the following (via SHRM):

Failing to make eye contact (cited by 67 percent of respondents)
Failing to smile (39 percent)
Playing with something on the table (33 percent)
Having bad posture (30 percent)
Fidgeting too much in their seats (30 percent)
Crossing their arms over their chests (29 percent)
Playing with their hair or touching their faces (27 percent)
Having a weak handshake (21 percent)
Using too many hand gestures (11 percent)
Having a handshake that was too strong (7 percent)
Full transcript