What is An Interview?
It is a dialogue allowing you to expand on the information described in your resume and an opportunity for the interviewer to provide more details about the job, ascertaining how you fit the job requirements.
The interviewer will ask you questions designed to gain information about your personality, background and qualifications. You will ask questions concerning the job and the organization. During this conversation you have the opportunity to present yourself in a positive and confident manner.
Before the Interview
Attend An Interview Workshop
See our workshop schedule.
Take A Personality Inventory
Analyze how your strengths, personal and academic experiences, as well as your interests can be transferred to the position for which you are applying.
Investigate the basic facts about the job responsibilities and the services/products of the organization. Obtain the interviewer's name and title.
Review Potential Questions
Decide what points you will use to answer commonly asked interview questions. Practice out loud to be able to communicate your qualifications concisely. Also think about questions you may want to ask the employer (see sample questions below).
Find Out Time And Place
Be sure you have the correct time and clear directions to the interview.
Your attire should be neat, professional and appropriate for your intended field.
During the Interview
1) Greet your interviewer by name, with a firm handshake and a smile.
2) Be self-confident, alert and interested.
3) Do not smoke or chew gum.
4) Sit comfortably, maintain good body posture.
5) Maintain good eye contact.
6) Listen closely to what the interviewer is saying.
7) Be articulate; do not use slang.
8) Avoid rambling; think before answering.
9) Ask well-thought-out questions.
10) Concentrate on your positive attributes.
11) Ascertain needed follow-up action.
12) Express thanks to the interviewer.
After the Interview
Evaluate The Interview
Consider where you did well and with which questions you had difficulty. Practice those areas in which you need improvement.
Be sure to use the correct name and title of the person who interviewed you. Emphasize your interest in the position. Mention any facts you may have omitted in the interview.
If you do not get a response soon after the date which the interviewer indicated, it is a good idea to telephone and inquire about the position.
Continue Job Search
Job hunting is an ongoing process. Begin working on preparing for your next interview.
Questions Posed by Interviewers
- Tell me about yourself (in two minutes).
- Why do you feel that you will be successful in ...?
- Why did you decide to interview with our organization?
- Are you willing to relocate?
- Why did you choose your major?
- Tell me about your scholastic record.
- What courses did you like best? least? Why?
- Tell me about your extra-curricular activities and interests.
- What have been your most satisfying and most disappointing school or work experiences?
- What did you learn from your part-time or summer job experiences?
- What supervisory or leadership roles have you held?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Do you have plans for graduate study?
- How do you spend your spare time?
- Why should we hire you?
- Describe briefly your philosophy of education or nursing (etc.).
- Tell me about your practice teaching or clinical experiences (etc.).
- Why did you choose to become a teacher, nurse,...?
- How would your last supervisor describe you?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
- Do you think your grades are a good indication of your academic achievements?
- How do you work under pressure?
- Why do you want to leave your current job? (If employed full-time.)
- Describe one or two achievements which have given you the most satisfaction.
- In what ways would you contribute to our organization?
Reply Hints for Some "Tough Questions"
"Tell Me About Yourself"
A common opener, this broad question can "throw" many interviewees. It is in fact a "sell-me" invitation. Develop a brief summation of your background leading into your interest and desire to work for the organization as well as your qualifications for the position.
"Why Should We Hire You?"
From your research, you should have gathered information on entry-level opportunities within the organization and the necessary qualifications for those positions. From your own self-analysis you will have gained insight into your strengths and accomplishments. Mention key functions of the job and discuss your skills in relation to these functions. Use experiences from previous jobs, internships, and activities as examples to support your answer.
"What Are Your Long-Range Goals?"
This question is popular because it gathers useful information: maturity, foresight, realistic outlook, degree of preparation in career planning, and commitment to the organization and profession. From your research determine what position you could reasonably reach in five years. Speak to others who have successfully advanced themselves in the organization or profession. Express your desire and capability to grow within the organization. While you may be unsure of your future plans, demonstrate your knowledge of potential career paths.
"What Is Your Greatest Weakness?"
Everyone has a weakness but remember not to answer in a negative way. Turn your weakness into a positive (for example) "Because I tend to procrastinate, I have learned to work well under pressure and to always get work done on time."
"Tell Me About Your Schooling"
The key to this question is to keep your reply positive. Speak well of your alma mater. You are a product of your school's educational programs. Be prepared to address questions about low grades, major changes, etc.
Sample Questions to Ask Employers
- How and when will my performance be evaluated on this job? How is success measured in this department/organization?
- What are the career paths in this department/organization?
- What are the day-to-day responsibilities in this job? Is a written job description available?
- Does the management encourage the policy of promotion from within the organization?
- Describe typical first-year assignments on the job.
- Tell me about your training or orientation programs.
- What are the challenging facets of the job?
- What are the organization's plans for future growth or change?
- What makes your firm, hospital, school system, ad agency, etc., different?
- What are the organization's strengths, and what challenges does it face?
- What are your expectations for new hires within their first three to six months on the job?
- Describe the work environment.
- What is the overall structure of the department where the position is located?
- What qualities are you looking for in your new hires?
- What characteristics does a successful person have in your organization?