Interviewing: Get Your Job

By: Andrew

Back in October I wrote about the on-campus interviews that Career Services has to offer for qualified students and employers. If you found yourself at one of those interviews or any other one for that matter, congratulations! For those who have not had an interview yet, are still looking for post-graduation work, or a summer internship I would like to give my input on interviewing.

There are two styles of interviews for the most part. The interesting thing is that both of them can fall into the same interview. The first one is your traditional interview, which will not probe extremely deep into your decision-making skills, but will help the interviewer get a better understanding of why you want to work for that company. This interview may be used as a preliminary screening of candidates, but may well be the beginning to the other style of interview, the behavioral interview.

The behavioral interview sounds quite intimidating. I can attest to this feeling because I had my first behavioral interview back in September. Though they can be challenging, they are actually a great way to get interviewed. Behavioral interview questions tend to fall into this type of format, “Tell me about a time when…” Through this style of interview, the employer is able to gather a lot of information about you in a limited amount of time. Enough hyping them up, here’s how they work:

  1. You will most likely be notified that this is going to be your interview format (hint-hint, go Google “Behavioral Interviews at XYZ Corporation”).
  2. The interview will start as normal, possibly some basic questions to get familiarized with the interviewer and for them to get familiarized with you, but that’ll be about it.
  3. They will begin the questions. Breathe, do not rush an answer, and look them in the eyes. They want your response to have the following:
  • Situation, describe to them the situation that is related to the question. They will not be able to understand your answer if you do not give them any background.
  • Action, tell them what you did. Whatever you do, give them plenty of detail that relates to YOU! Interviewers DO NOT care about what the team did on your group project. Great, tell them you got an A-, but not what Billy and John’s roles were.
  • Result, tell them the outcome of your actions. If it did not go well, tell them why and how you have worked on improving that mistake moving forward from that time. If it went well, tell them what strengths/skills you used to make it a successful experience.

4.  Step number 3 will happen 4 or 5 times most likely, so relax and take your time.
5.  The questions will be over and you will ask for their business card so you can follow-up with them after the interview. This would be a good time to ask when you can expect to hear from them regarding the selection process.

Interviews can be stressful, but getting the interview is half of the battle. So, take these pointers into your next interview and get your job!

Read Andrew’s other posts

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About ellenhatfield

New professional in the field of Student Affairs in Higher Education. I am a Career Counselor at the University of MN Duluth.

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