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What are some of the goals of a job interview?. to get a job to figure out if a position is right for you to provide potential employers with a stronger sense of why they should hire you, your skills, how you stand out

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What are some of the goals of a job interview?

  • to get a job

  • to figure out if a position is right for you

  • to provide potential employers with a stronger sense of why they should hire you, your skills, how you stand out

  • to provide further articulation and illustration of the skills listed and experiences provided in your resume


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Some Goals of a Job Interview

  • Employer evaluates candidate

    • skills applicable to the job

    • competence to do the job

    • potential to contribute to the team/organization

    • ability to mesh with team’s/organization’s mission, philosophy, and environment

  • Candidate evaluates employer

    • match between interests and job tasks/work

    • degree of responsibility and challenge

    • potential for growth and further education

    • ability to mesh with team’s/organization’s mission, philosophy, and environment


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How can you best prepare for a job interview?

  • dress appropriately  depends upon business; “dress for the job you want”; better to overdress

  • back up documents; e.g., writing samples, copy of resume, transcripts, other docs, references; letters of recommendation (dossier or portfolio)

  • research the company google the company, talk to people about what they know, BBB, Chamber of Commerce

  • make sure you know how to get there


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Four Keys to Success

  • understanding what to expect

  • preparing and researching

  • anticipating questions

  • following up


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Understanding What to Expect

Types of Interviews

  • conversational

  • behavioral

  • case or situational

  • stress situation

all four of these interview types can be one-on-one or might be a panel conversation


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Types of Interviews: Conversational (Traditional)

  • typically a question-and-answer discussion

  • usually a relatively short interview (e.g., 1 hour)

  • interviewer’s main goals are to:

    • assess whether or not the job-seeker has the skills and abilities to perform the job

    • evaluate whether or not the job-seeker possesses the enthusiasm and work ethic that the employer expects

    • analyze whether or not the job-seeker is a team player and will fit into the organization


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Types of Interviews: Behavioral

  • typically an assessment of past performance

  • interviewers will expect to hear about specific situations and/or scenarios

  • initial questions are typically followed by follow-up questions

  • specific, key details related to situations/scenarios are expected

  • interviewer’s main goals are to:

    • assess candidate’s behaviors and approaches by exploring specific situations

    • analyze past behavior to try to predict future performance


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Types of Interviews: Case or Situational

  • primarily used by management and consulting firms to determine how well a candidate fits in a field or job

  • typically interviewee is provided a problem or a scenario and asked to work through it

  • interviewer’s main goals are to:

    • analyze how well interviewee can identify and work through a problem

    • assess problem-solving skills

    • evaluate tolerance for ambiguity and ability to start on tasks

    • analyze communication skills


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Types of Interviews: Stress Situation

  • typically used for jobs where high degrees of stress will be encountered regularly

  • interviewers sometimes rely upon rudeness, sarcasm, or outright hostility to provoke a response

  • interviewer’s main goals are to:

    • assess how well interviewee deals with unexpected and/or stressful situations

    • evaluate how well interviewee can work and communicate under pressure


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Preparing and Researching

  • research the field

  • research the employer

  • research the job, team, and context


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Preparing and Researching

Research the Field

  • explore different branches

  • review trade journals/magazines

  • assess various career paths

  • know the major players

  • be familiar with current trends

  • goals are to:

    • be informed about who you are professionally (and what professional community you are entering)

    • be able to talk widely and wisely about trends, techniques, and tasks performed by professionals within different facets of your field


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Preparing and Researching

Research the Employer

  • review annual reports

  • read the organization’s mission statement and philosophy documents

  • research the organization history

  • familiarize yourself with the organizational scheme

  • look for recent performance markers or success indicators

  • goals are to:

    • familiarize yourself with what the organization does

    • familiarize yourself with what workers in the organization do, write, produce, create, etc.

    • assess how the particular job for which you’re interviewing fits into the bigger organizational picture

    • get a sense of the key players in and key outcomes of the organization

    • develop a strong sense of what they might seek in an employee


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Preparing and Researching

Research the Job, Team, and Context

  • review the original job post/call

  • research the “jobs” or “employment” area of the organization’s web site

  • make contact and try to get a stronger sense of the specific job responsibilities

  • analyze your possible role in relation to the team, unit, or division you would work in

  • find out who you would report to

  • analyze how success is evaluated and rewarded


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  • goals are to:

    • answer the questions you should be asking yourself (e.g., is this really a job I want? what will I gain by getting this job? what do I bring that this organization needs?

    • become knowledgeable so that you can speak specifically as to how you fit in the job, team, and context

    • have a strong sense of what you will be expected to perform, and how that performance will be measured and evaluated

    • address questions like:

      • what might I be asked to answer?

      • how will they expect me to answer?

      • how might I be expected to demonstrate what I know and what I can do?


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Before the Interview

  • sleep

  • eat

  • choose your clothes the night before

  • prepare the materials you want to bring with you—ideally, this is done long before the interview


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What types of materials would you want to bring to a job interview?

  • Letter of Introduction

  • Resume

  • Work Samples

  • References

  • Letter of Recommendations


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Getting Introduced interview?

  • prepare and practice a two-minute introduction: “I am… I am interested in…”

  • prepare to

    • demonstrate knowledge about the employer

    • express enthusiasm and interest

    • relate your background to the company’s needs


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Anticipating Questions interview?

  • “Tell me about yourself.”

    Hint: They’re not asking for your life story, and it’s not a trick question…

  • interviewer is looking for:

    • a brief statement of your professional status and career objective

    • some detail about your progression to this point


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A Heuristic for Answering Questions interview?

  • identify the skill sought by the question so that you can best focus your answer

  • give a STAR answer:

    • Situation—what was the context?

    • Task—what was the specific problem or need?

    • Action—what did you do? (produce, write, create, etc.)

    • Results/resolution—what did you learn? what skills did you develop?


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STAR Example interview?

Can you tell me about a time from your work experience when your manager or supervisor was unavailable and a problem arose?

  • Situation

    • quickly explain the situation—what happened? who was involved (e.g., clients, coworkers, customers)?

  • Task

    • what was the particular problem that needed to be resolved?

  • Action

    • what specific action did you take to resolve the problem? what did you do or produce?

  • Results/resolution

    • what were the results of your action? what did you take from this experience?


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At the End of the Interview interview?

  • review what you’ve heard and state why you’re interested in the position

  • consider asking:

    • is there anything else I can provide—specific references or example materials?

    • what’s the next step in the process? when is your decision date?

    • how can I contact you to check my status?


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After the Interview interview?

  • send a thank you email or letter after being interviewed

  • tailor the letter to the organization and to the interview itself

  • individualize a letter slightly if you’re sending it to more than one person in the organization

  • send it within 24–48 hours of the interview

  • goals:

    • shows you’re courteous

    • differentiates you from other candidates and keeps your name in front of the potential employer

    • proves that you’re interested in the job


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10 Interview Bloopers interview?

  • poor handshake (limp hand, tips of fingers, arm pump)

  • talking too much (talking too long, but not answering direct questions; nervous talking)

  • talking negatively about current or past teams, coworkers, employers/managers

  • showing up late or way too early

  • treating the receptionist rudely


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HINTS: initial interview

  • be yourself (not who you think they want you to be)

  • be ready to talk about why you want the job (and think about how they might respond to your answer)

  • ask ahead of time the format of the interview (e.g., panel/one-on one? expected to perform a task?)

  • ask about the function of your job in the larger organization

  • ask about how the specific position you are interviewing for fits in the larger unit/team/department and within the larger organization.company

  • be prepared to actually do/perform/write a task during the interview process (e.g., writing documentation, marking up a document for editing)

  • ask the interview what their favorite aspect of the job is (and, perhaps, what their least favorite is)

  • find out how writing is perceived and how people negotiate textual ownership issues


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  • carefully consider who you ask which questions initial interview

  • take notes with you (with your ideas, goals, questions); take notes during the interview

  • learning opportunities and experiences not, never “problems”

  • ask if the organization has a policy toward funding/supporting employee professional development opportunities (e.g., STC membership and conferences, further education)

  • stay focused (even if it’s a long interview); take notes to help stay focused

  • get comfortable with pauses and strategies for giving yourself a bit of time to prepare an answer

  • stay upbeat! (there will be painful moments—learn from them and move on)

  • don’t get flustered (if you can at all avoid it—and practicing really, really helps)

  • recognize the gatekeepers! (e.g., initial phone interview with seemingly unrelated person)

  • draw upon good sources of info: Business Library resources (e.g., looking up companies, looking up company news, requesting annual reports); www.net-temps.com (info section on latest resume advice/ideas/formats, info on job positions and requirements)


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  • know that there are things initial interviewbeyond your control that will affect the interview, interview situation, and what happens afterwards… (e.g., funding cut for a position; in-group dynamics; turf battles; already have a person chosen for the position but, legally, have to openly search and interview)


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Job Interviewing Power Point Credits initial interview

this presentation originally written by Kelly Bishop

modified 9/19/2007 by Bob Reedy


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