Top Tips for Interviewing

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Top Tips for Interviewing

  • Make it other-centered: you are interviewing them as well as them interviewing you.

  • Handshake – no sweaty palms and firm, confident.

  • “Tell me about yourself” – have a strategy! Highlight 3 strengths and give example for each.

  • Speak in terms of benefits, not features: ie, a feature is the CD player in the car. A benefit is getting to listen to music on long trips.

  • “Weaknesses” – something they can’t hold against you (“youthful looks so having to establish credibility” or challenges you used to have but have overcome (public speaking!)

  • Don’t ever badmouth former employers – it’s a small world!

  • “Why do you want to work/study here?” – do your research! Have informed reasons. Google the person interviewing you and relate your reasons to their interests.

  • Know how you appear when googled, and if you don’t like it, attempt to change it. (You can “bury” any unflattering references by doing things like blogging, book reviews on Amazon, etc. which will come up first in search engines.)

  • Bring extra copies of your resumé.

  • Start with the “me” and move to how you benefit them – it is not bragging to talk about your strengths!

  • If asked, “Do you have any questions for me?” don’t ask things you can find out on the website, about salary or benefits, or “when will I know?” You can ask, “What are the next steps?” or things like “why do you enjoy working here?” or “where do you see this company/institution headed in the next 5 years?”

  • If you really want this, ask for the job! For example, “I want you to know how much I want this job and how hard I am willing to work for you. If you choose to hire me, you will not regret it.”

  • Clothes: “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Also, the more “conservative/neutral” you look the more “out there” you can be in what you say.

  • Sit forward in chair with feet on the floor

  • Make good eye contact with everyone in the room

  • Meal interviews: observe good etiquette (avoid a messy meal) and stay sharp (ie, not too much alcohol and only if others are drinking). Don’t take a doggy bag home and be respectful to the servers!

  • Dealing with “illegal” questions (things for which they cannot discriminate against you when hiring), ie – sexual orientation, marital status, family questions. Ideas: give a vague answer (“I’m still making family plans”), turn it into a joke (respectful!) or be direct and say “I’m not comfortable addressing that.”

Common Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.

  • Why do you want to work here?

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

  • How do you deal with stress?

  • Who are your role models and why?

  • Tell me about a job/ career related challenge and how you dealt with it.

  • Why should we pick you over other qualified candidates?

  • Question about something on your resume: What did you learn from that?

  • What do you think would be the biggest challenge in this field for you?

  • What is your position on ______? (Something related to field)

  • Let’s do a quick role play – convince me to buy something or an idea.

  • Is there anything else you would like me to know about you?

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