Job Interview Preparation


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Develop answers to difficult interview questions.

While all interviews are different, it's important that you be able to answer questions interviewers often ask. Follow these job interviewing preparation tips to apply your specific background, interests and aptitudes.

  • Tell me about yourself.
    Sum up your resumé in 15 seconds. You graduated with a degree in ___ and earned a graduate degree in ___. You’re career-oriented and passionate about the ___ field. You have ___ hours of applications-based experience in the areas of ___ and ___. When asked to tell about yourself, present your portfolio (if you have one), explaining how it demonstrates the positive combination of education and skills needed for the position. Also, sell your soft skills - leadership, communication, organization and time management - and prove these skills through examples; don't merely offer an opinion of yourself. Why is the position open?
  • Why should I hire you?
    Approach this question as you would if asked to tell about yourself. It's basically the same question, just asked in a slightly different way. Reiterate your strengths, your interest in the job and the company, and why you'd fit well into the organization. To whom do I directly report?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
    During your job interview preparation, review your job-related work experience and soft skills. Prioritize, as best you can, the skills most applicable to the job for which you're interviewing. When discussing strengths, talk about your top two or three (i.e., you learn new procedures quickly, are eager to help implement new ideas, are passionate about the field). Be honest about your strengths. Spin a weakness into a positive. Offer an example of a skill you know is marketable to the job and explain steps you're taking to enhance your performance in this area. For example, in sales it's important to be both adept at listening and aggressive in closing the deal. Thus, mention your strength in closing deals and steps you're taking to improve your listening skills. Showing that you know listening skills are important and are taking action to improve will be viewed as positive.
  • In what ways can you contribute to this company?
    This question provides an excellent opportunity to sell yourself (i.e., reiterate your strengths) and for the company research you did to pay off. Relate your strengths to the company's mission, which you should have found during your job interview preparation. You might also discuss how you'd instantly become a team player dedicated to making positive contributions from day one.

"Day Of" Interview Tips

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Be prepared to sell yourself

When you meet the interviewer, smile, introduce yourself, use a firm handshake and maintain good eye contact. Follow these job interviewing tips during the interview:

  • Be prepared to discuss your three or four most marketable skills applicable to the position for which you're interviewing. These skills can come from your work history or your educational background. Prove all soft skills through examples; don't merely offer an opinion of yourself.
  • If you're still earning your degree, market your education. "Currently pursuing a degree" is often viewed as a bonus, as the timeliness of information you're learning can be very valuable to the company.
  • Talk about Keller's unique practitioner approach.
  • Make sure you're comfortable speaking to every point on your resumé.
  • Anticipate questions. A question you think you'll be asked will probably come your way.
  • Use proper grammar and diction. Avoid saying "yeah," "um," "like," "see," "uh," or "ah."
  • Speak clearly. Be aware of your body language and project confidence. Be positive about yourself and what you've accomplished.
  • Ask questions throughout the interview. If at some point you're not sure what the interviewer is asking, ask for clarification. This demonstrates you're interested and have good listening skills.
  • If asked to describe a failure, weakness or negative experience, finish your response on a positive note by mentioning a lesson learned, growth achieved or how you're currently working to improve.
  • When interviewing with more than one person at once, address your answer to the person who asks the question. However, be sure to maintain good eye contact with everyone during the interview.
  • Never ask about compensation in the first interview. However, if the interviewer addresses salary, answer the question directly.
  • Always go for the job offer. If negatives of the job surface, such as too much travel, make a mental note for evaluation purposes, but continue one hundred percent in the interview. There may be positive aspects of the job that balance or outweigh the negatives. It's better to be in a position of rejecting the offer than not receive it at all.

After the Interview

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  • Thank You Note
    Very soon after the interview, it's critical that you send a brief note to everyone with whom you spoke, thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the job and the company. The thank you note is not a vehicle by which to remarket yourself, but rather an opportunity to further your relationship with a potential hiring manager by reinforcing your understanding of the position and your ability to excel in the role. This letter also allows you to demonstrate your communication and relationship-building skills. Snail mail or email: which medium is best for sending thank you letters? Either is fine. Use your best judgment as to which method your interviewers might prefer and which method best fits the corporate culture.
  • References
    Be sure to call your references and inform them of a possible contact from the company. Tell your references the attributes the company is seeking, and ask that they try and reinforce your strengths in those areas.
  • Executive Recruiters
    If you've used an executive recruiter, call him or her to obtain feedback on the company's reaction to you. However, never tell a headhunter if you've sought employment at a company without using his or her services. Independent recruiters work for themselves, not for you, and are compensated based on placements made. By letting recruiters know of an open position in the marketplace, you've encouraged them to refer other candidates to the position, thus increasing your competition.
  • The Job Offer
    If a company extends a job offer, accept or reject it within 48 hours. Asking for more than this reasonable period of time may encourage the company to continue interviewing other candidates, which could possibly lead the company to withdraw its offer to you. Nothing is official until you formally accept the job. Therefore, begin evaluating the job and the company the minute you begin the interview process. Don't wait until an offer is presented.