Interviewing Skills

The purpose of a good resume is to get the employer to contact you for the interview. The purpose of the interview is to get a job offer. If you have a good resume, you may be invited to interview for a position. Interviewing is usually the second stage of the job search process. Remember that you are not only trying to get a job offer but you also need to assess if this employer/position is the right position for you. You need to evaluate the employer and the position. Interviews are a great opportunity to determine if you will fit within a particular organization. An interview is a two-way communication where both parties are examining the positives and negatives of entering into a contractual relationship.

Learn as much as you can about the company and position you are applying for. You need to have a basic understanding of the company, services and/or products they provide, business practices, industry trends, recent news or company changes and company culture. Much of this information can be found by researching the company’s web site, networking with contacts within the company and researching employer databases such as Hoovers.com. If possible, try to obtain a complete job description prior to the interview. If this is not possible, search for similar positions using the Occupational Outlook Handbook or O*Net. Both of these are web-based systems and you can look up information by job title and/or industry.

Practice Interviewing with the Career Services Office staff, friends, family members or with yourself. A well-prepared interviewee spends time practicing responses to questions. There is a standard set of questions that most interviewers will ask. Reviewing and rehearsing your responses will make you feel more comfortable during the interview. A style of interviewing that employers currently use is behavioral-based interviewing. The interviewer will ask questions that require the respondent to use actual examples of past behaviors. For example: "Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty to complete a task or project." Think about past experiences, both job and internship and have ready examples about leadership , conflict management, interpersonal skills, initiative and motivation.

Be prepared to answer questions by employers and be prepared to ask questions as well. Evaluating and having a thorough understanding of you interests, skills and abilities as they related to the position will help you in answering questions. Although you want to be prepared with answers to questions employers may have, you also want to sound genuine and sincere in your answers. It's best to have a general idea of the types of questions they will ask and be able to communicate your answers in a concise way, while allowing yourself freedom to change gears if asked a questions outside of what you are prepared to answer. Below is a list of possible questions employers may ask and questions you may want to ask employers.