INTERVIEWING SKILLS. The interview is the most significant step in cultivating a job offer. Interviewing for most people may not seem to come naturally. There is however, much that can be done in advance to increase your chances of success. WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES:.
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The interview is the most significant step in cultivating a job offer. • Interviewing for most people may not seem to come naturally. There is however, much that can be done in advance to increase your chances of success.
WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this workshop, the learner will be able to: • Effectively prepare for interviews. • Utilize non- verbal communication skills. • Understand the four main concerns of the interviewer and be able to formulate answers to traditional interview questions while appropriately addressing these four concerns. • Understand and answer behavioral based interview questions. • End an interview productively. • Successfully negotiate a job offer.
Preparation • Re-assess past accomplishments and achievements that are relevant to a prospective employer’s needs. • Review the job description and read information about the company/organization. • Contact youralumni network to see if any alumni work for the company interviewing you. Try to set up an informational meeting to learn about corporate culture, history, and career paths. • Select appropriate attire. • Get directions to the interview site. • Bring 3 or more copies of your resume, a reference list and a pad of paper to take notes.
Utilizing non-verbal communication skills to ensure a good first impression: • Smile, offer a firm handshake, and make eye contact. • Establish rapport. • Show interest and enthusiasm. • Utilize active listening. • Show confidence.
FOUR MAIN CONCERNS OF THE INTERVIEWER • There are four prospective employer concerns that are behind all interviewing questions. • Having an understanding of these concerns beforehand will enable you to formulate your answers in a manner that will impress the employer and result in a job offer.
Concerns #1 • Can this candidate do the job? • Does this candidate possess the skills required to be productive and contribute to the company as expected? • Is this a proven candidate? How successful was the candidate in similar positions?
CONCERN #2: • Will the candidate do the job? • Is there evidence to suggest the candidate is motivated and confident enough to do the job? • Will the candidate be dedicated and hard working? • Will the candidate stay with the company?
CONCERN #3: • How will the candidate get along in our organization? • Will the candidate be easy to manage and follow policies and procedures? • Will the candidate be a team player and a positive influence on others?
CONCERN #4: • Can the company afford the candidate? • Is what the candidate expects and/or needs to earn compatible with what the job pays?
TRADITIONAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS • Tell me about yourself. The “90 Second Capsule” - Concern: Can this candidate do the job? Will this candidate do the job? How will the candidate get along with others on the job? • Answer: • Be brief and focus on work-related skills and personal qualities related to your professional life. The best way to answer this question is to tailor your answer to the needs of the organization. • Example: "I am an Operations Manager with over twenty years experience with a strong background in security processing and system administration. My achievements are a direct result of my strong analytical skills. In my most current position as well as my prior positions, I have been instrumental in instituting changes that streamlined operations, reduced costs and increased customer satisfaction.
What were your primary responsibilities?Concern: Can this candidate do the job • Solution: Focus on your related responsibilities. Employers are looking for a candidate that can contribute quickly. They are looking for the degree to which the candidate's past experience differs from that of the new position. • Why did you leave/are you considering leaving? Concern: Will this candidate do the job? • Acceptable reasons for voluntarily leaving a position; more income, professional growth or challenge. • Solution: Avoid negative statements and convey a positive working relationship with prior and current positions. • What was the most important part of your job? Concern: Can this candidate do the job? • Solution: This question mainly focuses on your ability to recognize priorities of the job. For example, a website online professional counselor who felt the most important part of his/her job was consulting on web design did not have a grasp of the job’s priorities. It would be appropriate to say that consulting on web design was a favorite part of the job; however, providing online counseling was the most important task.
What was the most difficult part of your job? How did you deal with it? Concern: Can this candidate do the job? Will this candidate do the job? How will the candidate get along with others on the job? • Solution: Focus on how you handled difficult issues and what you accomplished, keep responses positive. “The most difficult aspect of my job was counseling clients who did not want to attend. Although at times this was difficult the end result of being able to help and assist a client to succeed was extremely rewarding.” • What are you weaknesses? Concern: Can this candidate do the job? • Solution: Don't ever reveal a damaging weakness. Use a scenario early in your career that you successfully corrected and learned from. “. My greatest weakness is neglecting to delegate work due to the fear of the work not being completed as to my standard. I have corrected this weakness by delegating responsibilities and following up on tasks to make sure they have been completed properly. • What were the most challenging aspects of your job? Concern: Will this candidate do the job? • Solution: It is important to remember that your interests and preferences affect your motivation. The more knowledgeable you are about the position, the easier it will be to focus your answers on how your interests and motivation fit into the requirements of the position.
What have you done to improve your skills? Concern: Will this candidate do the job? • Solution: Cite examples that show improving skills to become more effective at the job at hand without emphasizing improvement to potentially leave the job at hand. • Give me an example when it was necessary to reach a goal in a short period of time? Concern: Will this candidate do the job? • Solution: Demonstrate your effective use of time management in handling multiple projects or meeting deadlines. • Do you prefer to work in a group or alone? Concern: How will the candidate get along with others on the job? • Solution: State your true preference, but state that you work well independently as well as within groups. • Why should I hire you over another candidate? Concern: Can this candidate do the job? Will this candidate do the job? How will the candidate get along with others on the job? Can the company afford the candidate? • Solution: This is a perfect opportunity to sell your self. Recap your accomplishments.
What do you find hard to do? Why is that? Concern: Can this candidate do the job? • Solution: Do not mention a damaging weakness: rather cite a minor and common issue that will not hurt you. Examples may include something unpleasant for anyone, such as firing someone. • Exercise: Prepare your answer to the above listed interview question. • Do you feel you were sufficiently recognized for your work by your managers? Concern: How will the candidate get along with others on the job? • Solution: State that you felt recognized, but that your primary rewards came from the job itself. • Exercise: Prepare your answer to the above listed interview question. • How do you handle criticism? Concern: How will the candidate get along with others on the job? • Solution: This question is concerned with potential manageability problems. You might want to respond by indicating that you welcome constructive criticism and that it helps you to learn and grow.
Why do you want to work for this organization? Concern: Will the candidate do • the job? • Solution: All aspects of the company should pop into mind. • Have you ever found yourself really burned out from a job and what did you do about it? Concern: Will the candidate do the job; can the candidate do the job? • Solution: The interviewer is trying to figure out if you are disciplined enough to avoid burnout and how you cope with stress. Interviewers want to be sure you will not over stress yourself and run from the job in one year. “I avoid burnout by understanding my limits and by asking for new assignments so that I can keep myself motivated and challenged” • Your previous earnings were too high: Concern: Can the employer afford you? • Solution: Down play your previous title and independence, while emphasizing your ability as a team player. (If you are changing for a high paid corporate job to a lower paying non-profit) Emphasize the need to devote energy to a new and worth while cause.
BEHAVIORAL BASED INTERVIEWING • Behavioral / Competency Based Interviewing: Behavioral / Competency based interviewing is built on the assumption that past experience (behavior) is the best predictor of future performance. It focuses on accomplishments that are most relevant to the job for which you are interviewing.
Behavioral / competency based questions seek demonstrated examples of behavior from your past experience and concentrate on job related functions. They may include: Open-ended questions and they often begin with "Tell me...", "Describe...", "When...” • Why questions are commonly used to reveal rationale for decisions you have made. • Answering Behavioral/ Competency -Based Questions? • Answer questions using the "CAR” story method. (Refer to resume writing workshop to learn how to develop “CAR” Stories.)
Sample Behavior Based Questions • Tell me about a time when your work or an idea of yours was criticized. • Describe a difficult problem that you've had to deal with and how you resolved it. • Describe a situation in which you were required to work under pressure and how you reacted? • Describe a time that you showed initiative. • Tell me about a time when you put your foot in your mouth. • Describe a situation when you found yourself challenged. How did it work out?
ENDING AN INTERVIEW • Ending an interview properly is vital to securing an offer. The end of an interview is typically indicated by the employer stating that they have completed their questions, and by asking if you have any questions. Occasionally, the employer may indicate something about the next step. At this point you want to ask a few questions.
Ask appropriate job-related questions. Some examples include: • What is the biggest impact a new employee can make within the first 30-90 days? • What are the measures of success for the position? • Could you tell me the characteristics of those who have performed well in this position? • Ask if now would be a good time to set another appointment. • Ask what you can do in the meantime to answer any further questions. • Ask for a business card: You need the correct name and spelling, title, and address to follow up after the interview. • Express your interest in the opportunity, and that you are looking forward to working for the company. Ask about the next step. • Always send a thank you letter.