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Interviewing. By Ron Hittle, Career Planning & Placement Center, Sinclair Community College. What Separates the Winners From the Rest of the Crowd. Job openings are not filled with the most qualified personnel. Credentials. Credentials. Credentials. Credentials. Credentials. Credentials.

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By Ron Hittle, Career Planning & Placement Center, Sinclair Community College

What Separates the Winners From the Rest of the Crowd

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Job openings are not filled with the most qualified personnel.







Jobs are offered to the people who best know how to market themselves.

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A great resume and effective interviewing skills are the best preparation to assure getting the most desirable job.

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Personalize and Clear Job Focus

Know thyself

Research, Research, Research...

I prepared just for you.

Dress for Success


Practice makes perfect


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Three Parts to the Interview Process

  • Preparation before the interview

  • The interview

  • Follow-up




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Preparation Before the Interview

  • Know yourself.

    • Strengths and weaknesses

    • Skills and abilities

  • Research the occupation.

  • Research the target company.

    • Internet, CPPC, library, personal visit

  • Select proper attire.

    • Dress for success

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Preparation Before the Interview

  • Know where the interview is located.

  • Practice answers to interview questions.

  • Prepare questions to ask interviewer.

  • Carry a portfolio binder.

    • Write out key skills and questions to ask.

  • Bring along your professional portfolio.

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The Interview

Companies are spending more time, effort, and money to select the right person.

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Interview Formats

  • Phone interviews – Pre-screening

  • Multiple interviews

  • Committee interviews

  • Tour of work setting

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The Interview Game

  • Begin with a firm hand shake and “Thanks for seeing me.”

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The Interview Game

  • Interviewers can use 5 different type of questions.

    • Directive

    • Non-directive

    • Hypothetical

    • Behavioral

    • Stress

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Directive Interview Questions

  • Interviewer determines the focus of your answer.

  • Information the interviewer wants is very clear.

  • Example:

    • What skills do you have that relate to this position?

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Non-Directive Questions

  • You determine the focus of your answer.

  • Interviewer does not ask specifics.

  • Examples:

    • Tell me about yourself.

    • Describe your weaknesses.

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Non-Directive Questions

  • Interviewer wants to know how your background and personality qualify you for this job.

  • The focus is on your education, related experience, skills and abilities, and personal attributes.

    • How do they relate to the job you are seeking?

    • Decide your response before starting to speak.

      • Keep response concise – never over 2 minutes.

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Hypothetical or Scenario Questions

  • Interviewer describes a situation which you may encounter in the position and asks you how you would act in a similar situation.

  • They’re a good test of your problem solving abilities.

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Problem Solving Model to Answer Hypothetical or Scenario Questions

  • Gather information.

  • Evaluate the information.

  • Prioritize the information.

  • Seek advice.

  • Weigh the alternatives.

  • Make a decision.

  • Communicate the decision.

  • Monitor the results and modify if necessary.

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Behavioral Questions

The Best Predictor of Future Performance is Based

on Past Success.

  • They have become increasingly popular in interviews.

  • They involve weaving a story.

  • Examples:

    • Give me an example of a work situation in which you were proud of your performance.

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Behavioral Questions

  • Examples:

    • Give me an example where you faced some challenge in your life and how you’ve overcome it.

    • Give me an example where you’ve used creativity.

    • Give me an example where you were a member of a team and how it solved problems.

  • Interviewer will continue to probe until they get a satisfactory, complete answer.

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S–T–A–R Method of Answering Behavioral Questions

  • Situation – describe beginning as bleak

  • Task – what it involved

  • Action – you took to solve

  • Results – glorious

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Effective Ways to Answer Behavioral Questions

  • Think of your life experience – both personal and work-related.

  • Review the skills and qualities that the position would require.

  • Link past experiences with a current experience.

  • Link a personal experience with a work-related experience.

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Effective Ways to Answer Behavioral Questions

  • Relate your experiences from the past that best demonstrate the traits desired in the position that you are interviewing for.

  • They’re a great way to answer your weaknesses.

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Stress Questions

  • These may surprise you and make you feel uncomfortable.

  • Examples:

    • If you were an animal, which would you be?

    • Name 5 people, who are deceased, that you would invite to dinner.

  • The desire is to see how you react to difficult situations.

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Stress Questions

  • They test your sense of humor.

  • There is no right answer.

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Common Interview Questions

  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

  • Why did you choose your major?

  • What are your career goals?

  • Where do you see yourself five or ten years from now?

  • How has your college experience prepared you for this job?

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Common Interview Questions

  • Why are you interested in working for our company?

  • If I talked to your previous employer, what would he / she say about you?

  • How would your co-workers describe you?

  • What two or three things are most important to you in your job?

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Common Interview Questions

  • What salary do you expect to be paid?

  • Why should I hire you?

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Formulate Questions for the Interviewer

Never ask about salary or benefits in the first interview.

  • What is the philosophy of your company?

  • What do you consider to be your company’s greatest strengths? Weaknesses?

  • What are your company’s goals?

  • What attracted you to this company?

  • What opportunities exist for training and professional development?

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Formulate Questions for the Interviewer

  • Could you describe a typical first-year assignment?

  • Do you mind if I ask how my qualifications match what you are looking for?

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Interview Non-Verbals (Body Language)

Non-verbals must agree with the verbals or the interviewer will always believe the non-verbals.

  • Sit up straight, but not too rigid.

  • Lean forward slightly.

  • Maintain eye contact.

  • Listen actively – nodding.

  • Elevate chin slightly – it shows confidence.

  • Show energy / enthusiasm in a way that is natural for you.

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Value of the Interview Process

  • The employer learns about you.

    • Use your communication skills to describe why you are the best person for the job.

  • You evaluate the employer.

    • Inquire about the atmosphere, philosophy, technology, and protocol of the company.

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Value of the Interview Process

  • Obtain valuable information.

    • Interest or no interest in the job opening

    • Discovering new places / niches to use your skills

    • Perfect your interview skills

    • Obtain referrals for other job openings – internally or externally

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Predictors of Success

  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely

  • Demonstrated teamwork skills

  • Demonstrated leadership skills

  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills

  • Career-related work experience

  • Involvement in campus or community activities

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Predictors of Success

  • Ability to identify and give good examples of transferable skills

  • Knowledge of the company / organization

  • Asking good questions

  • Flexibility

  • Enthusiasm

  • Ambition and motivation

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Predictors of Success

  • People skills

  • Good grades

  • Professional appearance


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Always get their business card.

  • Thank you letter / card

    • Mailed within 24 hours

    • Formal vs. informal

    • Send to all who could be an influence.

    • Personalize / express appreciation for the opportunities to interview, tour the facilities, meet other employees, etc.

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  • Mention the day of the interview and the position for which you interviewed.

  • Express continued interest in the position and the company.

  • Reemphasize your most important skills and qualifications and how you expect to contribute to the organization.

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  • Include any information you forgot to mention in the interview, if necessary.

    • Be brief , though.

  • Close your letter / note with a comment about future contact with the employer.

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Sample Thank You Letter

100 Livable Way

Dayton, Ohio 45429

March 4, 2000

Ms. Ima Stickler

Human Resource Manager

Stuckney Memorial Hospital

1234 S. 23rd Avenue

Los Angeles, California 90210

I appreciated the opportunity to interview at your hospital on Monday, March 3rd. The tour of the medical facilities and conversations with Stuckney’s laboratory staff gave me a clear overview of the role of technologists at your facility. In particular, I was impressed with the state-of-the-art equipment in Stuckney’s laboratories and the exciting medical research that is being conducted there.

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Sample Thank You Letter

The entire experience has confirmed my desire for employment as a medical technologist with Stuckney Memorial Hospital. My internship as a lab assistant, along with my microbiology and chemistry course work, has prepared me well for this position. Based on my interview, I am confident I would fit in well with the Stuckney laboratory staff.

Thank you again for the experience of getting to know your organization better. I welcome the opportunity to work for Stuckney Memorial Hospital and look forward to hearing from you. I can be reached by phone at (937) 428-7639 or e-mail at


Shirley U. Needme

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What Separates the Winners from the Rest of the Crowd?

Preparation + Communication

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The Universal Hiring Rule

Any employer will hire an applicant so long as he or she is convinced that hiring the individual will bring more value than it cost the company.

Tom Jackson

  • Did you prove that value in the interview?

  • Take time to evaluate your performance and build on it.

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